As businesses across the country struggle to cope with the current wave of Omicron cases, the NSW government has announced a $1 billion support package to help the state fast track its economic recovery from the latest outbreak.
The support packages aim is to target businesses that currently have a turnover that’s less than $50 million and a 40 percent decline in turnover during the month of January 2022. The package will also provide support to assist businesses with purchasing rapid antigen tests.
The NSW Government will also provide $80 million to support the performing arts sector which has suffered significantly during the course of the pandemic.
Applications for the support package will open in mid-February and business that are eligible for the funding will be given a payment of 20 percent of their weekly payroll, up to $5,000 each week.
NSW Treasurer Matt Kean outlined that the past few months had been difficult for small businesses across the state but said the “comprehensive business package” would help them get “through to the other side”.
Mr. Kean also spoke about his disappointment in the lack of financial assistance provided by the federal government to help businesses during the current covid-19 omicron wave.
“I was hoping to make this announcement standing beside the Prime Minister today and the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, but they’re not to be found. These are not just New South Wales businesses, they’re Australian businesses, Australians that pay their taxes to the Commonwealth government. So, what we want to see is rather than the Commonwealth government stepping aside we want to see the Commonwealth government stepping in,” says NSW Treasurer Matt Kean.
Mr. Kean continued to outline that the money from the support package would be directed to “those parts of the economy that are really struggling”.
“Those businesses that ply their trade through face-to-face trading, things like hairdressers, nail salons, the tourist industry and also hospitality and bricks and mortar retail, “says Matt Kean.
Dom Perrottet the NSW Premier expressed the opinion that businesses across NSW are currently doing better than he expected them to be doing during the current Omicron wave and that confidence is finally starting to return to the market.
“And as we did with earlier recoveries, we will come through this recent challenge stronger than ever. We’ve got the backs of businesses, as we have throughout this entire pandemic,” says NSW Premier Dom Perrottet.
The support package will include a topping up of the Small Business Fees and Charges Rebate from the current $2,000 limit to a new limit of $3,000.
The rebate will be expanded so it can also be used to subsidise the cost of rapid antigen tests by 50 per cent, but it will not be retrospective.
Wes Lambert, the chief executive of Restaurant and Catering Australia, has expressed praise for the newly announced grants but shared the Treasurer’s concern over the Federal Governments lack of involvement.
“It’s very important that we continue to advocate for additional funding from the federal government. We would have liked them to have supported the New South Wales government in this support package but we certainly thank the Treasurer and the Premier’s office for releasing this package today,” says Wes Lambert, the chief executive of Restaurant and Catering Australia.