Mr MORRIS (Mornington) (09:45): There have been repeated claims about the support that the government has provided to assist small businesses to weather the COVID storm. Yet despite these claims we know many Victorian businesses are in trouble, and this morning we learned that the number of business collapses had doubled in February in Victoria.
Because the government has totally failed to deliver on their promises.
Angela, the proprietor of a Mornington retail outlet, applied for business support in September. The website clearly indicated that $10 000 was available for businesses in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire and $5000 for regional businesses. On 1 October the business received $5000.
Upon making inquiries, Angela was told that Mornington was not in the metropolitan area. The department claimed the ‘program’ had told her that was the case and she was only eligible for the smaller payment.
It is a pity the program was not managing the lockdown!
Eventually in mid-October the department conceded that Mornington was part of metropolitan Melbourne and indicated they would hear back in a few days.
Needless to say, that did not happen. After the involvement of my office, the Mornington Peninsula Shire, the Mornington Chamber of Commerce and even the Victorian Ombudsman, and thanks to Angela’s tenacity, things started to move, but it was only during the last sitting week in February, more than 4½ months after the application, that the final $5000 was received.
Clearly the government has no conception of the financial pressures faced by small business. This delay could have been terminal for that business.
No thanks to the government it was not, but how many more businesses face closure because the government just does not get it?