Change to Emergency Support and Hardship grants inequitable
- Initial scheme oversubscribed; businesses forced to compete for funds
- Scheme was expanded at Labor’s urging, but demand remains strong
- All businesses in hardship due to COVID-19 must be treated equally
Changes to the government’s Small Business Emergency Support and Hardship grant programs will leave some businesses with access to smaller grants than they may have applied for.
Shadow Minister for Small Business Anita Dow said the redirection of an additional $20 million in funding for the program is an inequitable allocation of funds.
“At Labor’s urging, the Liberals announced the extension of the program and additional $20 million in funding three weeks ago, Ms Dow said.
“Initially, $10 million was to be included in the small business grants program with a further $10 million in hardship grants to enable more access to financial support.
“Now, we find the government is already changing the rules, with these additional funds now earmarked for smaller grants.
“It’s clear that the initial scheme was oversubscribed, with businesses forced to compete for funds.
“But even though demand remains strong, the government is shifting the goalposts and leaving some businesses with access to less support rather than more.
Some that are awaiting the results of their applications may find they’re only eligible for $4,000 instead of the $15,000 they originally applied for.
Not only that, but those businesses only receiving $4,000 after the rule change may have competitors who have received the full $15,000 before the rule change. That is unfair and creates an uneven playing field.
“These businesses are not looking for a handout. They need help to survive and smaller grants will not provide them with the support they need.
“The Liberals must reconsider this inequitable allocation of funds and provide consistent support for Tasmania’s small businesses. Having suffered so much hardship already, they deserve no less.”
Anita Dow MP
Shadow Minister for Small Business