Today will be the last day that many Victorian businesses are able to operate for six weeks.
Sadly, a number of these businesses – especially small businesses – may never reopen.
This will mean the loss of not only jobs but, in some cases, a lifetime’s work.
Victorians know that it is due to the Andrews Labor Government’s own mistakes in hotel quarantine and contact tracing that Stage 4 restrictions have become necessary.
Having created these circumstances, the Andrews Labor Government has an obligation to support Victorian businesses and their employees through this shutdown.
However, Daniel Andrews and his Ministers are failing to provide this support at the time at which it is most urgently required.
The smallest businesses which most require support are falling through the cracks of the State Government’s programs.
There are over 400,000 sole trader businesses in Victoria and each of them is being left behind and ignored by the Andrews Labor Government at their time of greatest need.
Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula yesterday confirmed that the Government will not be providing any financial support to sole trader Victorian business:
Minister Pakula: So it is a question of capacity and we decided that we, in terms of State Government support, that we would focus on businesses which employ people.
Now I understand that is difficult for sole traders but we have to cut our cloth accordingly.
Neil Mitchell: So what you are saying is you can’t afford it?
Minister Pakula: That is in a nutshell what I’m saying.
The financial pressure on many Victorian sole traders will see many of them and their families placed under extreme pressure over coming weeks.
This will push many to the brink financially and emotionally.
There is no smaller business than a business of one. Daniel Andrews claims “we are all in this together” but he has cruelly abandoned sole traders in their time of greatest need.
The Victorian Liberal Nationals call on the Andrews Labor Government to urgently step up and provide support to all Victorian businesses hit by these restrictions, including sole traders, before even more lives and livelihoods are ruined.