Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Small Business Dr Steve Thomas says that whilst he welcomes the Premier’s announcement today of yet another small business support package, it represents yet another acknowledgement of the inadequacy of the small ad-hoc packages rolled out to date.
“The latest thought bubble announcement today of $72 million adds to the $67 million announced a week ago (February 24th) and the $77 million announced two weeks before that (February 10th),” Dr Thomas said.
“Once again, the Premier is demonstrating that he doesn’t understand the needs of business because once again he is drip feeding the business community instead of announcing a proper and adequate overall compensation system.
“And once again, the business community will have to wait for weeks or months after the restrictions hit to even find out if they qualify and what level of compensation will apply.
“For most of the existing packages, we are still waiting for the details so businesses can apply.
“I fear some businesses will be gone before they can access the Government’s token and piecemeal support packages.
“Business needs advance notice of the rules, especially when they keep changing those rules every week, and business needs to know in advance how they will be supported (or not).”
Dr Thomas said that all businesses need certainty and consistency, because they usually plan their operations weeks in advance, but that Mark McGowan has failed to deliver either.
“Constantly changing the rules makes it harder for business to manage or survive, and the lack of notice or warning is damaging, especially to small businesses who have limited capacity to adapt.
“The business community has been crying out for both certainty and consistency, but the Government’s drip feeding of minor announcements at their own whim is the opposite of that.”
Dr Thomas also ridiculed that Premier’s boast of a total of $1.6 billion in total business compensation over the entire pandemic.
“A Government with more than $15 billion in surpluses can afford to adequately support its business community; no jurisdiction in the country has more capacity to assist!
“The McGowan Government is set for a $4 billion surplus this financial year, which is $1.2 billion above its budget forecast. Added to the $5.8 billion surplus last year and another couple of billion from the year before – the Premier should be embarrassed by the paucity of his business response to COVID, not crowing about it.
“Business, and the entire Western Australian community, deserve better.”