BRISBANE, Australia — Queensland businesses are urging the state government to offer grants to those hit by its Covid-19 lockdown, in line with other Australian states.
Thousands of non-essential businesses across the state’s southeast and Townsville have been ordered to close until 6 pm on July 2.
The government hasn’t unveiled any support for companies affected by lockdowns, unlike New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland says the government should offer grants of up to AU$25,000 ($18,759.50) to cover the loss of stock and trade.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry tweeted “From 6 pm tonight, many areas across Queensland will go into a 3-day lockdown ​ ​We’re calling for a Covid-19 Hotspot Recovery package to support small business in lockdown.”
“The New South Wales government yesterday committed support payments for businesses, but to date, the Queensland government has not committed any support,” the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland’s Amanda Rohan said.
New South Wales small businesses will be able to apply for AU$10,000 ($7,504.80) grants from the state government from July 19 if their revenue is down 70 percent on 2019 levels.
The Victorian government offers small businesses grants of up to AU$5,000 ($3,752.40) for eligible businesses directly affected by lockdowns.
Western Australia small businesses impacted by the recent Perth and Peel lockdown can also apply for AU$2000 ($1,500.96) grants from the state government.
Rohan said it was the third lockdown in Queensland and the second in which no assistance had been extended to businesses.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the restrictions will be short, indicating that grants won’t be offered.
“Can I please urge people to support their local takeaway, businesses,” she told reporters on June 29. “And hopefully we can get through these three days, fingers crossed, and things will be able to return to normal.”
Palaszczuk tweeted “Parts of Queensland will go into a three-day lockdown from 6 pm today. Local Government Areas: Townsville, Palm Island, Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan City, Moreton Bay, Redlands, Sunshine Coast, Noosa, Somerset, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and Gold Coast.”
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said there was already enough assistance available for small businesses in hotspots through existing programs.
She said businesses should check what assistance was available on the Queensland and the Commonwealth government websites.
Liberal National Party leader David Crisafulli said the premier had let down small businesses.
“At the premier’s press conference today, where for the first time she mentioned small business, she mentioned it in terms of going there to takeaway from,” Crisafulli said. “That’s not the leadership that people in small family business wanted today, they wanted to know there was a support package, and they didn’t get it.”
Crisafulli tweeted “Let’s give small and family business owners the confidence they need and get moving on a Covid Business Lockdown Support Package.”
Meanwhile, the state has temporarily relaxed curfews on supermarket loading dock and distribution center operating hours.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles said that would allow declared businesses, such as supermarkets and chemists, to restock 24 hours per day.
“This will ensure drivers and retailers can work around the clock to deliver essentials to Queenslanders,” he said.
“We are not running out of products, but need to get products to supermarket shelves as quickly as possible.
“I want to thank our retailers and delivery drivers ensuring we can all get our hands on essentials.
“I also want to urge Queenslanders not to panic buy.”
(Edited by Vaibhav Pawar and Praveen Pramod Tewari. Map by Urvashi Makwana)
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