News, media releases

Government continues to fail small business

  • Government’s flawed support schemes leave businesses in stress
  • No follow through on commitment to review schemes
  • No excuse for callous non-response to calls for help

Small businesses in Tasmania continue to be ignored by the state government at a time when many are facing the bleakest time of their lives.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said Labor has been inundated by complaints from businesses that have failed to receive support despite suffering the impact of COVID-19 restrictions.

“Numerous businesses have contacted Labor describing a shambolic process, which has added stress at a time when they were already facing pain and uncertainty.

“Some businesses have missed out on crucial support, without which they may not survive, despite meeting all the eligibility criteria. We cannot have businesses going to the wall and the loss of more jobs.

“Tourism and hospitality have been among the industries hardest hit, with thousands of jobs on the line. Puddleduck Vineyard – a business in the Coal River Valley that relies heavily on tourism – applied for the small business hardship grant but received no support.

“Labor has called for the government to review this scheme, and Peter Gutwein promised that he would. But we are yet to see any follow through from the Premier and no demonstration that this government is comprehensively and equitably backing business.”

Shadow Minister for Energy David O’Byrne said other support schemes intended to help businesses have left many out in the cold.

“Power bill relief offered by the government does not cover many small businesses that operate in multi-tenanted premises. The Premier promised to review the scheme but these businesses are still hearing they are not eligible for relief.

“Clipaway Hairdressing wrote to Guy Barnett two months ago seeking help and got no response. After a belated commitment from the government to review the situation, the minister wrote to this business turning them down.

“We need to do all we can to support businesses in stress, and people who have lost their jobs or had their hours cut. They are suffering ongoing hardship due to the pandemic, and we need to make sure no region and no sector is left behind as we plan recovery.

Labor’s COVID-19 Recovery Package is designed to get Tasmanians back into jobs, help those hardest hit by the pandemic and create a better, fairer and more resilient economy and society.”

“I urge the Premier to urgently consider the many ideas contained in Labor’s recovery package to support business and create jobs right across Tasmania.”

Rebecca White MP
Tasmanian Labor Leader

David O’Byrne MP
Shadow Treasurer