Small Business Minister, Jaala Pulford has confirmed that only $15.2 million of the $100 million allocated by the Andrews Labor Government for COVID-19 impacted Victorian sole traders – the Sole Traders Support Fund – has actually been spent to date.
Minister Pulford was characterised in Question Time as a dragon jealously guarding a mountain of gold while the majority of Victoria’s more than 400,000 smallest small businesses, desperate for support, are denied due to the Andrews Labor Government’s restrictive eligibility criteria and complex administrative and application processes.
Comments attributable to the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council, David Davis:
“Smug Smaug, as Minister Pulford ought to be called, has put such high hurdles in front of Victorian sole traders seeking access to State Government COVID support that, incredibly, 84.8 per cent of the allocated support funds remain unspent today.
“The Minister is clearly shockingly out of touch with the vast majority of sole traders having apparently declared them by definition as unworthy of State Government support despite the ravages of COVID on their activities.
“This is in stark contrast to the generous income support provided by the Federal Coalition Government which has underwritten the continuation of so many Victorian jobs and businesses throughout COVID.”