Small businesses that experienced hardship as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions on the Northern Beaches will soon have access to a grants program designed to help them cover unavoidable expenses.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the NSW Government was committed to supporting businesses while keeping people and communities safe.
“The Northern Beaches community and businesses did an outstanding job in helping control the spread of the virus at a critical time and unfortunately that had a material impact on many businesses,” Mr Perrottet said.
“After almost 12 months we continue to battle the impacts of COVID, both in a health sense but also from an economic perspective and that is why we are providing targeted and temporary financial assistance to those impacted by the recent lockdown.”
Minister for Finance and Small Business Damien Tudehope said a new funding program would provide for the roll out of $3,000 and $5,000 hardship grants to eligible Northern Beaches businesses.
“We know some businesses have been hit harder than others, which is why we are taking a tiered approach to these grants,” Mr Tudehope said.
“The first tier of $3,000 is for small businesses that have suffered at least a 30 per cent decline in turnover due to the Northern Beaches lockdown.
“The second tier of $5,000 is for small businesses that have suffered at least a 50 per cent decline in turnover.”
“The grants are designed to cover unavoidable costs for which no other government backing is available such as utilities, rent, financial or legal advice and other activities to support the operation of a business.”
Mr Tudehope thanked local businesses for their resilience and patience and for working with the Small Business Commissioner who undertook a report on the impacts of the restrictions on the Northern Beaches.
In considering the Commissioner’s report, the Government will be implementing the following measures in addition to the $3,000 and $5,000 grants:
- Promotion for the Northern Beaches: to promote local attractions and welcome visitors to the community.
- Industry-specific information on public health restrictions: to assist small businesses impacted by Public Health Orders to better understand their obligations.
- Improved access to existing support: including mental health resources for small business owners on the SafeWork website, Business Connect, and the Small Business Commission’s mediation services team.
- Dine & Discover: Pilot of the program on the Northern Beaches
Minister for Health and Member for Wakehurst Brad Hazzard said while the restrictions had stopped the spread of COVID-19, they had also come at a time when many people would normally celebrate with friends and family.
“As Health Minister and a local I well understand the need for the restrictions but also the impacts on local businesses and residents,” Mr Hazzard said.
“I welcome the financial package which will assist local businesses who have had a tough time while they did what was necessary to help shut down local transmission on the beaches.”
Minister for Planning and Public Spaces and Member for Pittwater Rob Stokes said many businesses in the Northern Beaches were now starting the year behind the rest of the state.
“A lot of businesses on the Northern Beaches had their revenue poleaxed at a time they could least afford it – it was a tough time for those in in the northern part of the peninsula who had to endure a three week lock down,” Mr Stokes said.
“This package will definitely help ease the financial strain on those businesses most affected, particularly in the hospitality, lifestyle and retail sectors.”
Member for Manly James Griffin said the package would help cushion the impacts of the lockdown.
“Businesses in Manly would normally have welcomed tens of thousands of people from right across NSW over the Christmas and New Year period. The restrictions placed our local businesses under enormous pressure following what was a very difficult 2020,” Mr Griffin said.
“The NSW Government stands with our small businesses and it is hoped this package will help them cover unavoidable expenses and reduce the financial burden so many are facing right now.”
More information on the grants and how to apply will be made available on the Service NSW website in the coming weeks.