Gippsland Nationals MP’s are calling on Daniel Andrews to extend small business support to include sole traders.
Sole traders have been denied access to the Victorian Business Support Fund by the Andrews Government because they don’t employ staff other than themselves.
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath said it was inequitable and unjust that Victorian sole traders had been abandoned and denied COVID-19 business support by the Andrews Government.
“Sole traders have outgoings and are no different to any other business, it defies belief that Daniel Andrews has deemed them ineligible to receive support,” said Ms Bath.
Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said Labor had stranded sole traders by denying them access to emergency cash flow during the pandemic.
“Daniel Andrews’ monumental hotel quarantine failure has denied hardworking people the ability to generate income and meet their financial commitments,” said Mr O’Brien.
“The Premier must change the criteria to reduce some of the stress and financial pressure faced by sole traders.”
Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull said it inconceivable that sole traders had been left out in the cold by the Andrews Government.
“When sole traders contact the Business Victoria Hotline, they are dismayed to discover no help is available,” said Mr Bull.
“Small business is the backbone of our Victorian economy, Labor must step up and support sole traders.”
A parliamentary e-petition sponsored by Ms Bath has been launched calling on Daniel Andrews to overturn the decision to exclude sole traders from the Victorian Business Support fund.
Ms Bath said she had been contacted by sole traders from all over the State since raising the issue in State Parliament this week and launching the petition.
“What has become apparent is Daniel Andrews’ decision to deny Victorian sole traders’ access to COVID-19 business support is disproportionately disadvantaging women and families,” said Ms Bath.
“Troublingly, the stories are all similar; each is juggling family, work and business financial commitments and their ability to generate income has been taken away due to no fault of their own.
“During the first COVID-19 upsurge ABS workforce data detailed the significant impact the pandemic is having on women and jobs and now we have the Andrews Government further disadvantaging working women during the second wave.
“Daniel Andrews must immediately extend the Victoria’s Business Support Program and provide COVID-19 support to include sole traders,” Ms Bath said.