The Small Business Commissioner, John Chapman, has called on the State Government to urgently review its policies to get South Australian businesses up and running.
“As we are emerging from the shut downs caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, I am finding there are many businesses which are struggling to get back on their feet financially,’ Mr Chapman said.
The Commissioner said an important first step was for a review of the policies around the State Government’s $10,000 Emergency Cash Grants for Small Businesses.
Applications for the grant which was part of the Government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic closed on 1st June 2020.
However, according to the Small Business Commissioner there have been a number of applications which have been rejected because they were not completed by the closing date.
“The State Government needs to show some compassion and flexibility in this area given I have a number of cases where accountants and business owners were overwhelmed with issues and were unable to complete the application and provide the supporting paperwork within time,” Mr Chapman said.
“It is grossly unfair that those businesses which would have qualified for these desperately needed funds are now having the door slammed in their face by the Treasurer.”
The Small Business Commissioner has made written representations on behalf of 15 businesses to the Treasurer.
Mr Chapman said the State Government also needed to reconsider its decision not to provide financial support to sole traders and those businesses who do not have employees.
“These businesses and their owners have and are facing enormous difficulties, yet we have a Government which does not seem to understand the pressures they are under.”
Mr Chapman said he was concerned that some businesses, particularly those in the tourism sector, were denied the grants because they did not employ staff.
“We have genuine businesses, many small family operations, which meet all the criteria except for that of being an employer,” Mr Chapman said.
“These businesses are often the next generation of small business employers and many need to be assisted through this dreadful time.”
“The Government cannot ignore these small business people who put their hearts and souls into their enterprise and Government at the time of great need.”