Western Australia’s big budget surplus should outrage small business

The Shadow Minister for Small Business Dr Steve Thomas said the WA State Budget released on Thursday is a slap in the face to small businesses who were denied compensation for Government imposed COVID shutdowns.
“Every industry sector and small business that was denied support will be rightfully angry when they remember the statements by the Premier and Minister for Small Business that the Government couldn’t afford to compensate all impacted business” Dr Thomas said.
“Now they are told that the budget surpluses will reach $15 billion over five years and the Government is so flush with cash it is having to store it away because it can’t find ways to spend it immediately.”
“Small business and we the Opposition have been calling for a standardised and equal compensation scheme for months; a scheme that treats all small businesses from all areas of the state equally,” Dr Thomas said.
“Instead, the Government has provided a piecemeal scheme that rewards some industries and specific regions but excludes others.”
Allied health providers are one group that was excluded from the last round of COVID support, but many others have also missed out.
“Those people who missed out and were told by the Minister for Small Business that the reason they did so was the need for budget control must now be livid,” Dr Thomas said.
“The Government has known the state of budget for months, despite their refusal to share that information with the Opposition or the public, and to deny businesses who could prove they were impacted equal and just support is appalling.”
On the 20th of July when asked why lots of businesses were missing out on COVID compensation Minister Whitby told Perth radio “we are dealing with taxpayer’s money, we need to be prudent” and that the Government needed to “make sure we’re not just simply dolling out cash”.
“With a $5.6 billion surplus in one year, Small Business Minister Reece Whitby and the Premier can no longer suggest that keeping a lid on spending in the budget is a valid reason for the Government limiting support grants to any business who needs it,” Dr Thomas said.
“The Government may not be dolling out cash to businesses who need it, but they sure are rolling in it.”