Labor will launch a grants program to assist businesses upgrade their trade waste infrastructure and prevent them closing down.
Labor Leader Rebecca White said the $5 million grants program would prevent businesses and jobs throughout Tasmanian going down the drain.
“Small businesses employ tens of thousands of Tasmanians but many of them are facing up-front costs of up to $30,000 to comply with new trade waste requirements,” Ms White said.
“At the same time community groups and sports clubs, most of which are staffed by volunteers, have no idea where they will source money for the compulsory installation of grease traps.
“This is simply unaffordable for too many of them.
“A number of small business owners are so concerned they say they are considering walking away rather than taking out loans to pay for new equipment.
“The effect on mum and dad businesses is so serious the Chair of TasWater recently wrote to Labor asking for our help to find an urgent solution.”
“It is important to note that the expense of complying with environmental regulations also jeopardises the viability of many smaller commercial operations like local bakeries, cafes or hairdressers who, though small, collectively employ just as many people in Tasmania, especially in our regions.”
Letter from TasWater Chair Dr Stephen Gumley
“It’s been two years since the Treasurer Peter Gutwein promised to fix the issue when the State Government took over TasWater but nothing has been done,” Ms White said.
“Two years ago the Treasurer said the trade waste issue was having a ‘devastating impact’ and forcing small businesses to close but since then there has been no action.”
Ms White said any registered business in Tasmania, including those connected to community groups and sports clubs, would be eligible for grants.
The grants will be competitive and the funding provided based on greatest need and will cover up to half the cost of meeting a business’s trade waste requirements.
|Rebecca White MP