Sarah Courtney,Minister for Small Business, Hospitality and Events
We know that our over 38,000 small businesses are the powerhouse of the Tasmanian economy, employing over 100,000 Tasmanians. The sector is also one of the hardest hit by the public health restrictions put in place to protect the community from COVID-19.
As part of the recently announced $20 million COVID-19 Small Business Sustainability and Recovery Assistance Package, $1 million will go towards Mental Health Support for Tasmanian Small Businesses in recognition of the financial and mental health impact on Tasmanian small businesses and their employees.
The need for mental health training and support was strongly acknowledged by participants in the small business forums I held around the State earlier this year.
In response, this Mental Health Support Package has been developed in three parts;
Part 1 – Mental Health Training and support through the Minding your Business Program delivered by a Tasmanian Lifeline.
Part 2 – Support for industry peak body programs; and
Part 3 – Mental Health Council of Tasmania activities to raise awareness of the supports and resources available for small business owners/employers.
This is on top of the Small Business Advice for Recovery grants of $750 which are available to support eligible small businesses in engaging services of a qualified specialist or consultant to assist with business recovery.
The Government is committed to supporting small business, and never before has that been more important as we rally together to adjust to a new COVID-safe way of operating as we work towards recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
We will continue to support small business to remain resilient and ensure jobs and livelihoods are protected.
Lifeline CEO, Debbie Evans said up to 1,000 mental health training and support placements will be offered to owners and employees of Tasmanian Small Businesses of various industries and locations who identify a need for mental health training or assistance.
“This mental health training and support is urgently needed. At times, we’ve seen an increase in demand of our services as high as 75 per cent compared to the same time last year. We applaud the Tasmanian Government for continuing to make the mental health of Tasmanians a priority,” Ms Evans said.
As Minister for Small Business, Hospitality and Events I have been actively engaged with the small business community over the past weeks and months, with feedback informing the Government’s targeted support.