Labor’s sole traders support misses the mark

Gippsland’s sole traders who run their business from home continue to be overlooked for financial support to help them stay afloat as harsh coronavirus restrictions smash incomes of Victoria’s smallest businesses.

The Andrews Labor Government’s latest business support package again fails to provide any funds for Victorians running their own business from home as a sole trader, like personal trainers, beauticians, hairdressers and gardeners.

Strict eligibility criteria on Labor’s token $3000 sole trader grant will stop many accessing desperately needed support. Only sole traders working from a permanent commercial location and in an industry that will be restricted or closed under the Second Step of the Roadmap can apply.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath said without adequate support, more Victorian businesses will close.

“Sole traders on the verge of shutting their doors are getting the cold shoulder from the Andrews Labor Government,” Ms Bath said.

“Many have been forced to shut down for months and need assistance to recover.

“The Andrews Labor Government’s failures in hotel quarantine led to the second wave, putting hundreds of thousands of more Victorians unnecessarily out of work.

“Daniel Andrews didn’t do his job and without adequate support thousands more Victorians will never return to theirs.”

During August, Ms Bath bought sole traders to the attention of State Parliament, seeking business support on behalf of her Gippsland constituents.

Ms Bath said Nationals MP have been consistently seeking sole trader support to be included in business support, and sadly Labor’s package falls way short of the mark.

“Having raised the issue of inadequate sole trader financial support with the Treasurer, Tim Pallis, only yesterday I was provided with his woefully inadequate response,” said Ms Bath.

“Rather than answering the question or referring it to another Minister, the Victorian Treasurer shockingly chose only to respond with – ‘The matters raised in your question should be directed to the Minister for Industry Support and Recovery.’

“The Treasurers’ response is dismissive and arrogant, demonstrating Labor’s lack of care or understanding of our hardworking sole traders.”

The Council of Small Business Organisations Australia says the Andrews Government’s roadmap out of lockdown is “economically and socially reckless” and will only cause more hardship for businesses.

Ms Bath urged eastern Victoria sole traders to get in touch with her electorate office to tell their story.

“The Nationals will keep standing up for our sole traders. By collecting your stories, we can take these to the state government to fight for much needed change,” Ms Bath said.

“Small businesses owners are incredibly hardworking, they form the backbone of our regional communities and are the heart of our regional economy.

“If the Andrews Labor Government genuinely wants to reverse the damage its second round of harsh lockdowns it would remove the funding caveat and immediately extend support to all sole traders.”

Sole traders can contact Melina Bath on 03 5174 7066 or to share their story or at