Bath bats for small businesses support

Gippsland small business groups remain bitterly disappointed that no business support has been announced by the Andrew Government after last week’s snap lockdown.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victorian Region, Melina Bath has called for urgent support for small businesses during question time in State Parliament this week.

“The timing of the lockdown was disastrous for our hospitality and accommodation industry, our florists, retailers, beauticians and hairdressers who had all geared up for Valentine’s Day.

“Millions of dollars of stock went to waste and employee shifts were cancelled placing further financial stress on family businesses.

“Our small businesses must be compensated, they cannot keep being made to pay the price of Labor’s systematic failures and poor decision making.”

When asked in State Parliament if Labor would provide support for small business following the latest lockdown by Ms Bath, the Minister for Small Business, Jalaa Pulford responded with ‘The community was operating at a sustainable level for the overwhelming majority and in a way that was a COVID normal that would satisfy the trading needs of so many businesses, of most businesses

In challenging the Minister, Ms Bath cited the financial and mental challenges being faced by an East Gippsland lawn and Latrobe Valley gift and clothing store.

Ms Bath said this statement shows Labor’s Small Business Minister is completely out of touch with the needs of small business and regional communities.

“Looking locally, Gippsland businesses have struggled through drought, fire and now COVID, many have shut, others are on the brink of closing.

“Our retailers and hospitality providers cannot keep being punished by Daniel Andrews hotel quarantine and contract tracing systems bungling.

“Small business is the backbone of our regional economy and many are hurting.

“Labor cannot keep expecting small business to continue absorbing the costs of its pandemic failures.

“The Premier must stump up a comprehensive support package to compensate small business instead of window dressing for a media opportunity”.