Local pub left languishing for Labor’s small business support

The Willow Grove Hotel has been left languishing six months after applying for an Andrews Labor Government COVID business support grant.

Criteria for the Licenced hospitality support fund states applications will be processed in under 10 business days.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath called for immediate action on Willow Grove Hotel’s application in State Parliament outlining the desperation and financial pain experienced by the licensee, Scott Bradley.

“Mr Bradley has experienced undue economic stress due to Labor’s lockdowns, forced to sell his personal assets to keep the pub operational and eight locals in jobs,” said Ms Bath.

“Willow Grove has a population of less than 600 people and is the only hospitality venue in town, the pub meets all grant criteria and is eligible for a full $25,000 grant.

“Labor is kicking the can down the road with its shoddy small business support.

“Taking six months to assess and administer a desperately needed grant is appalling.

“Daniel Andrews is swift to impose restrictions, but slow to compensate the financial devastation caused by his hotel quarantine and contact tracing failures.”

Ms Bath said the Andrews Labor Government is more interested in delivering spin than delivering timely support to struggling small business like The Willow Grove Hotel.

“Months after first lodging a COVID business support application and weekly phone calls seeking a response, Mr Bradley finds himself stonewalled,” said Ms Bath.

“This pubs’ ability to generate income has been unfairly and disproportionately impacted by the Premiers’ draconian lockdowns on regional Victorians.

“There are people employed to ensure these grants are issued in a timely manner, stringing along desperate business owners with no response is cruel.

“Labor’s COVID business support grants are slow, unnecessarily complex and has more exclusions than a cheap insurance policy.

“The licensee of The Willow Grove Hotel, Mr Bradley deserves an apology from the Andrews Labor Government and grant funds transferred so the pub can not only survive, but thrive post pandemic,” said Ms Bath.