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Jim Wilson on 2GB

“If this policy has been agreed between the federal government, the state government, make sure it’s nationally available and make sure that money is distributed as quickly as possible, and that this is an ongoing stance throughout the pandemic.”

Bill Lang joined Jim Wilson from 2GB radio to discuss the business support package announced by the government.

For more information regarding the fund visit the Service NSW business funding page.

Jim Wilson 

Let’s bring in Bill Lang, the executive director of Small Business Australia, gday Bill.

Bill Lang 

Hello Jim.

Jim Wilson 

Thank you for joining me, you’ve just heard this announcement from the Prime Minister like the rest of us, what’s your reaction from a business perspective?

Bill Lang 

Look, I think it’s, it’s a positive start. It’s a shame we’ve had to wait for three weeks and potentially we’ll have to wait two more weeks to get the money. Now, one of the disappointing things about all, Jim is that, you know, we’re 16 months into the pandemic now and we’d much prefer to see these things announced immediately upon there being in the announcement of things like lockdowns, because for every small business family, in many cases, it’s the pain of uncertainty that’s far greater than the certainty of pain. So at least now, there’s some certainty around what assistance will be available. Although I heard the Prime Minister start off by saying here a set of principles and one was around simplicity, it’s going to take quite a while for people to navigate their way through this stuff to work out what they can do and who they deal with and when they can get it.

Jim Wilson 

Okay, so some of the key numbers and let’s just go through a couple of them from basically for small and medium business support payments, from week four of the lockdown the Commonwealth will fund 50% of the cost of a new small and medium business support payment to be implemented and administered by Service New South Wales, eligible entities will see 40% of their New South Wales payroll payments at a minimum of $1,500 and a maximum of $10,000 per week. Entities will be eligible if their turnover is 30%, lower than an equivalent two week period in 2019. And we should also make the point the new small to medium business support payment, Bill, will be available to non employing and employing entities in New South Wales, including not for profits, with an annual turnover between $75,000 and $50 million. So general snap snapshot overview. Do you think it goes far enough or we need to do more?

Bill Lang 

There’s no question that it will be too little and too late and for too few. So let’s just say your business hasn’t had a turnover reduction of over 30%. But you know, the income you take home as a small business family is 50% of your total revenue. And your revenues gone down by 20%. I heard the New South Wales Treasurer talk about you got to still be employing a number of people you’re employing three or four weeks ago, some small businesses have already had to make an adjustment and let some people go in those first two or three weeks. And now they won’t be eligible, but they’re still hurting. So look, it’s it’s actually a much better package and one of the things we’ve been asking for for more than a year is can we have a 50/50 approach, rather than the finger pointing between federal government and state government. So at least in this case, this 50/50 you know, federal and state government getting together because at the end of the day, it’s the policies and decisions of both levels of government and the quality of their implementation that ultimately lead them to make decisions around lockdowns and actually have this economic impact, Jim.

Jim Wilson 

But how about for the individuals and for the workers, I mean, $325 per week, right now, for those who have lost 8 to 20 hours, that’s gonna be increased a week four the lockdown to $375 for 8 to 20 hours. And for those who have lost more than 20 hours, that’s gonna be increased to $600 per week. What’s your reaction to that?

Bill Lang 

Well, look, it’s again, it’s better than nothing, it probably needs to be more, but just listen to what you’ve said in English to many of your listeners that can understand English well. And yet we have challenges where people do not have English as their first language. How will this be communicated into those communities with respect to how it works? So again, it’s talking about being targeted, but they’re making things much more complicated, Jim than what they need to be but look better late than never. And it’s certainly better than what the small businesses in any other state that have faced with respect to the various lockdown to them happened in particularly places like Melbourne.

Jim Wilson 

Okay, so what what’s your overriding message from, from a business perspective this afternoon to the to both the federal and state government of New South Wales?

Bill Lang 

If this is now, if this policy has been agreed between the federal government, the state government, make sure it’s nationally available and make sure that money is distributed as quickly as possible, and that this is an ongoing stance throughout the pandemic, as opposed to look, yeah, they’re pleased to announce that they will work so hard working their way through it wasn’t this stuff sort of worked out when the federal budget was done? Wasn’t this stuff, yeah, they’re going to be more lockdowns given they cannot control the spread of the virus. So given that’s the standing policy, and we’ve got fortress, Australia, albeit a bit leaky, albeit with people doing work with it, not vaccinated and not wearing masks, these things are going to continue to happen. So let’s take a stand. This is the way it’s going to work. It’s always going to be available. So when additional lockdowns come no matter where they are in the country, small business families will know where they stand built.

Jim Wilson 

Bill, thank you for your time this afternoon.

Bill Lang 

Thank you Jim.

Jim Wilson 

That’s Bill Lang, the executive director of Small Business Australia.

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