Gippsland small business pain

Victorian small businesses are paying the price of the Andrews Government’s coronavirus restrictions, with some forced to walk away from their once thriving business.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath said many regional small businesses, particularly those in the hospitality and events sectors face an uphill battle to survive.

“The fourth lockdown triggered by Melbourne’s northern suburbs outbreak is the last straw for many small business owners who have reluctantly made the decision to wind up at the end of the 2020/2021 financial year.

“It’s been a long struggle to survive and a number have sadly told me that they simply can’t go on.

“For months some businesses have been working for nothing, others going backwards – I’ve witnessed tears shed by hardworking locals, mourning the loss of their business and suffering the pain of putting off employees.

“These people have tried everything to stay open, pivoting operations in an attempt to trade through harsh restrictions, but now they’re walking away, cutting their losses.”

Ms Bath said one of the hardest hit sectors is our Gippsland cafés that due to reduced patronage have simply become unprofitable.

“These businesses are social hubs, a meeting place for locals to stay connected – their customers become their friends who drop in for a chat and social interaction,” said Ms Bath.

“Gippsland small businesses are incredibly vulnerable right now having traded at a reduced capacity for 18 months.”

The latest report from ACA Research highlights the number of small to medium Australian businesses that have now become ‘very concerned’ about their future survival has increased from 33% to 41%. Small business with less than 20 employees are reporting they’re particularly concerned for their future.

Ms Bath said Labor’s state-wide lockdowns for Melbourne outbreaks, unfairly impact on Gippsland small businesses.

“Collectively small business owners are the greatest employing body in the country – they employ our children and sponsor our sporting clubs – they need a break from Victoria’s yo-yo restrictions,” said Ms Bath

“Small businesses owners deserve fairer policies and coronavirus restrictions from the Andrews Government, so our mum and dad small businesses not only survive but thrive into the future.”