The Palaszczuk Government continues to back thousands of small businesses in regional Queensland to stay afloat and keep their staff employed during COVID-19.
Minister for Employment and Small Business Shannon Fentiman visited the Townsville Brewing Company today to signal the start of two new initiatives with a focus on regional small business.
“We know our small businesses have been doing it tough during the global coronavirus pandemic which has impacted economies across Australia and across the world,” Ms Fentiman said.
“Because of we are continuing to deliver the health response to COVID-19, we can now start delivering Queensland’s plan for economic recovery, Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs.
“Part of that plan is supporting Queensland businesses and Queensland jobs.
“That’s why we have committed $1.2 million in funding to establish a regional network of business support officers in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland.
“The eight officers will help local business communities become aware of and access available government support and other assistance, information, grants and programs.”
“And today, applications are open for the second round of Small Business COVID-19 Adaption grants – there is a further $100 million available for businesses to apply for grants of up to $10,000,” she said.
“These grants are already providing the much-needed shot in the arm to businesses like the Townsville Brewing Company who were successful in receiving a grant under round one.”
The top three business sectors receiving Small Business COVID-19 Adaption grants in round one so far are food and beverage, tourism and retail operations.
Member for Townsville Scott Stewart welcomed the news of more support for businesses in Townsville.
“Our local businesses were still recovering from the floods when COVID-19 hit,” Mr Stewart said.
“Providing support such as further grants and the new business support officers will ensure they can stay afloat and keep their staff employed.
“It’s great to see that more than 400 business in Townsville submitted grant applications in round one, and I would encourage more local businesses to apply from today.”
The Townsville Brewing Company chief financial officer Sean Hunter said they will use the COVID-19 Adaption grant to help with operating costs at the brewery during the trading restrictions.
“During the trading restrictions we turned to takeaway meals and introduced a successful beer delivery service to produce some income,” Mr Hunter said.
“The grant will help us return to full operation, re-engage casual staff that were stood down, and most importantly, employ more staff.”
CCIQ general manager of advocacy and policy Amanda Rohan said business support officers in regional areas will help Chambers support their local businesses so business can get back to business and creating and maintaining jobs in the region.
“Local small businesses are the backbone of the community; this support will give businesses the opportunity to focus on running their business while having access to tangible support to help them recover and rebuild,” Ms Rohan said,
“We also welcome the increased funding of the small business grants and would encourage businesses to apply and tap into the extra assistance on offer.”
Assistance available for Queensland small businesses include:
- Almost $200 million for Small Business COVID-19 Adaption grants
- $1 billion in interest free business loans
- Procurement target of 25% for all government spend to go to small and medium sized businesses – approximately $4 billion per year
- Small Business Skills Hub – 400 free online courses for businesses and their employees
- Up to $950 million in payroll tax relief including refunds, payment holidays and deferrals for eligible businesses as well as a tax exemption for JobKeeper payments
- $100 million in electricity bill rebates for eligible small and medium sized businesses.
- $400 million in land tax relief
The business support officers will be based in Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton, Wide Bay, Toowoomba, the Redlands and on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, where they will work with councils, industry bodies, business associations, education and training providers, as well as government agencies to identify local employment opportunities and training needs for local small businesses.
The second round of Small Business COVID-19 Adaption grants have been prioritised to provide $50 million for small businesses in regional Queensland. Grants can be used for professional advice, marketing, specialised equipment or towards utilities for businesses impacted by COVID-19.
The Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grants are funded through the up to $500 million Worker Assistance Package under the Queensland Economic Recovery Strategy: Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs