COVID-19 impacting regional Queensland businesses beyond lockdown borders
Regional Queensland businesses impacted during the latest COVID-19 lockdown are calling for a support commitment to ensure recovery across the diverse business sectors.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) is calling for payments of up to $25,000 for affected businesses to recover costs to reinstate their business after lockdown.
The COVID-19 Hotspot Recovery Package is aimed at ensuring businesses impacted during the lockdowns across Queensland are able to get back to business as soon as possible and cover associated costs.
Townsville Chamber of Commerce CEO Ross McLennan said regional Queensland businesses faced a unique set of challenges in addition to those in the south east.
He said regional businesses outside local government areas that had been locked down faced significant flow-on impacts similar to those forced to close and there was a need to consider the impacts on these businesses as part of recovery support eligibility.
“Regional Queensland businesses rely and depend on the markets in their surrounding regions not just those in the local government areas that might be declared as a hotspot. There is an opportunity for government to consider eligibility for businesses impacted outside hotspot declared area,” Mr McLennan said.
“Instead, eligibility needs to have an effect-based approach rather than a line in the sand.
“Townsville and Palm Island are the first regional-specific lockdowns, more than 1200 kilometers from Brisbane, since the state-wide lockdown last year. This time, without JobKeeper in place, it is vital businesses have confidence there will be support in place to make sure they will be able to continue trading into the future.
“Business are also calling for the return of payroll tax relief during lockdowns to alleviate the financial impacts.”
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland Policy and Advocacy General Manager Amanda Rohan said unpredicted lockdowns and restricted business activity would inevitably create challenges for businesses including significant long-term recovery issues and staff retention.
“The COVID-19 Hotspot Recovery Package is aimed at providing a safety net for businesses as well as certainty and support to continue,” Ms Rohan said.
“The COVID-19 Hotspot Recovery package will also create an opportunity to keep businesses open where able and maintain jobs, plus to support them to return to business as usual operations after a period of restricted business activity.
“There also needs to be a focus on cushioning the potential economic impact of a hotspot from affecting broader regional and state wide supply chains, which the proposed recovery package can achieve.”
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