Additional support for businesses welcomed as lockdown extends

An extension of the support package being offered to NSW businesses has been welcomed by the state’s peak business body, Business NSW, even as it warned the impacts of a lockdown extension could be grim.

With NSW continuing to report well over a hundred new cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant daily, and a significant number of those infectious within the community, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian officially extended the lockdown impacting Greater Sydney for a further four weeks during a press conference on Wednesday.

Responding to the news, Business NSW made it clear that businesses across the state would take a hit, though it welcomed the additional financial support announced by Ms Berejiklian and NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet.

Under the new measures, the state and federal business support program will now offer a weekly maximum payment of $100,000, up from $10,000, to businesses with a turnover of up to $250 million. 

State and commonwealth JobSaver payments are also being expanded, and will now be available to businesses with an annual turnover of between $75,000 and $250 million, up from $50 million. 

As with the earlier grants, businesses must demonstrate a 30 per cent reduction in turnover to be eligible. 

“In some good news for business, both the federal and state governments have answered our call to extend the JobSaver program to make it more scalable and to assist larger businesses,” Business NSW CEO Daniel Hunter said.

During the press conference on Wednesday, Ms Berejiklian also outlined new rules allowing some construction to resume, after being out of action since 19 July.

Having called on the government to lift the ban and implement COVID-safe measures to allow workers back on sites, Mr Hunter welcomed the news.

“Construction can resume on Saturday in areas not impacted by the Delta strain, which will provide some boost to the economy. However, construction workers in the eight identified LGAs won’t be able to participate and work sites in those LGAs won’t be able to restart,” Mr Hunter said.

“It will mean some businesses can get going again under strict conditions, giving some  certainty to business owners and their employees.” 

Construction work will be allowed to proceed outdoors with safety measures in place, while indoor construction can take place so long as the home owner is not in the premises while the work occurs. However, neither are permitted across the eight identified LGAs including Parramatta, Campbelltown, Georges River, Fairfield, Cumberland, Canterbury-Bankstown, Liverpool and Blacktown.

While today’s announcements contained some good news for struggling businesses, Mr Hunter noted that even with the increased support and easing of construction restrictions, businesses would still suffer with lockdowns in place.

“The only way out of this is to continue to comply with government restrictions and get vaccinated as soon as possible,” Mr Hunter said.

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