More Victorian businesses set to close, worst of all states

More than 1-in-8 Melbourne small and medium businesses (SMBs) will not reopen due to the harsh lockdowns put on Victorians caused by the bungled hotel quarantine debacle.

That’s the damning finding out of today’s Sensis Business Index looking into small and medium business outlook and confidence.

The survey, conducted as Melbourne businesses prepared to enter Stage 4 restrictions, also found:

• 56 per cent of Melbourne SMBs have seen a significant reduction in sales (compared to 39 per cent in Sydney)

• 54 per cent of Melbourne SMBs think their profitability will decrease over the next three months (compared to 27 per cent in Sydney)

• 38 per cent of Melbourne SMBs are worried about their prospects for the next year (compared to 28 per cent in Sydney)

The survey found that Victorian small and medium businesses were the least optimistic about the outlook of their business of all states. Victorian small businesses are also the most pessimistic about their local economy of all states, with 66.5 per cent believing the Victorian state economy will be worse in 12 months’ time.

Unsurprisingly, the survey demonstrated that a growing number of businesses think that the Victorian Government is working against small and medium businesses.

24 per cent of Victorian small and medium businesses stated that the Victorian Government works against small business, up from just 12.7 per cent in March 2020.

By comparison, only 14 per cent of New South Wales and 3 per cent of Tasmanian small and medium businesses believe their respective state governments are working against their interests.

Victoria is the only state in the country that is experiencing the second wave of COVID-19 due to the Andrews Labor Government’s bungled hotel quarantine program. Other states used the ADF to assist with hotel quarantine however Daniel Andrews refused to allow ADF assistance in Victorian hotels.

Following the first wave in Victoria, the Liberal Nationals released a plan to get Victoria back to work and back in business. It included waiving payroll tax for businesses up to $10 million until June 30, 2021. But the Andrews Labor Government cruelly hiked payroll tax for many small and medium businesses on 1 July.

The Liberal Nationals have also been calling for state government support for sole traders, neglected by the state government in any financial assistance.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Small Business, Michael O’Brien:

“Victoria is in this position not due to bad luck, but due to the incompetence of the Andrews Labor Government and its failures in hotel quarantine.

“Tens-of-thousands of Victorian small businesses have been closed, through no fault of their own. These Victorians are now paying the price for Labor’s failures.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the Victorian economy and when small businesses are thriving, our economy thrives, but unfortunately they’ve been the ones hardest hit in our state.

“The Andrews Labor Government has no plan for the economic recovery for Victorian businesses and have left sole traders with no state-funded financial assistance.”

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