Successful lobbying for Barwon Small Businesses
The NSW Government offered Small Business Grants of up to $10,000 to eligible businesses to ease the financial pressures that resulted from the effects of COVID -19.
Many of my constituents, who are small business owners contacted my offices for assistance to access this grant opportunity. The guidelines and eligibility requirements were detailed and many businesses in my electorate, who were highly impacted, didn’t qualify, although the effect of COVID -19 on their trade and return on their investment was very significant.
The reasons were varied but there was a strong theme around the effects of communities being in drought for many years prior to COVID-19 and this made it almost impossible to demonstrate a 75% decline in comparison to the same period in the previous years.
I lobbied the Minister for Customer Service and the Treasurer to extend the grant application period beyond the 1 June 2020 to the end of the financial year, as there was a perception from small business owners that their application would be denied. At my insistence, the Government also added the impact of drought into the criteria and I continued to encourage small businesses to pursue the funding.
In Broken Hill, Greg Lively, owner of Macs Oven Foods was having doubts about applying, as he thought the process was onerous and eligibility difficult to meet. Greg, had closed his food business for a month while he put in place some community safety measures. After encouragement from my office, he persevered with the application process and was able to secure some much-needed funds, to offset his business expenses that continue, even during times of business closure.