Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Small Business Dr Steve Thomas says that the need for the Government to rush a new Bill through the Parliament to change the way business COVID compensation is delivered is yet another admission of the inadequacy and poor delivery of such programs to date.
“The Opposition is happy to support the change that will see the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) deliver COVID business compensation because it represents a chance to address the multiple failures to date” Dr Thomas said.
“The SBDC has some understanding of the needs of small businesses in Western Australia, so I am hopeful that their performance will exceed the dismal outcomes so far.
“To date the SBDC has had an advisory role, but I hope that in beefing up its function to include the distribution of grants the Government will also be more open to that advice.”
Dr Thomas said the first job of the SBDC would be to advise the Government to provide clear, consistent and adequate compensation to small businesses impacted by Government enforced lockdowns.
“I am sure the SBDC is telling the Government that business in WA needs certainty and consistency, neither of which the Government has been interested in providing so far.
“The only constant we have seen in recent months has been the Premier changing the rules on a weekly basis.
“The Government is looking at yet another massive budget surplus in a couple of months, and it has the capacity to provide adequate and timely support to businesses but seems to lack the will.
“The McGowan Government is set for a $4 to $5 billion surplus this financial year, on top of $5.8 billion surplus last year,” said Dr Thomas.
The Small Business Development Commission Amendment Bill (COVID 19 Response) Bill 2022 was rushed through the Lower House last night, and with the help of Opposition should pass the Upper House today.
“The Government’s businesses compensation packages to date have been poorly designed, with many industries and individual businesses excluded by onerous restrictions.
“This is yet another change, but hopefully it’s a change for the better.
“Let’s hope the SBDC is able to provide the clarity and consistency that has not been delivered to date, and let’s hope it can argue for an adequate compensation program at last,” said Dr Thomas.