Advocacy in Action

NSW Covid lockdown

As a member-based business organisation we are aware of the devastating impact lockdowns are having on business owners and their employees.

Led by our CEO Daniel Hunter, we are in constant dialogue with media and with government to ensure our members’ experiences shape the official response to the pandemic.

As a former NSW Health senior executive, Daniel has unique insight into helping achieve a balance between health and economic outcomes. This page showcases a few highlights of these activities.



 Advocacy updates on this page

Govt. answers call to improve JobSaver
Business needs more support as lockdown continue
Factsheet: Latest COVID support from NSW Govt
There is a faster way out of lockdown by Daniel Hunter, CEO 
Mental Health Support - business-specific services (NSW)

 Covid-19 resources

Latest restrictions impacting businesses
Latest vaccination resources and information for business
Available COVID-19 vaccinations for at risk LGAs - 4 August
Business guide to latest federal financial support
Business guide to latest COVID relief and Government response
29 July, 2021

Govt answers call to improve JobSaver

“The program has now been extended with a maximum weekly payment of $100,000, up from $10,000 to businesses with a turnover of up to $250 million,” Mr Hunter said.

“That’s going to provide significant support for businesses with a large workforce that has suffered a 30% reduction in turnover.

“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 8 identified LGA’s won’t be able to participate and worksites in those LGA’s won’t be able to restart.

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

“In simple terms, construction work can proceed outdoors under strict COVID safe conditions, while indoor work can proceed so long as the homeowner is not in the premises at the time.

“Unfortunately, there’s no re-opening when it comes to industries with a high concentration of employees like retail and hospitality, meaning many business owners and their employees will continue to suffer.

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

28 July, 2021


“Businesses are suffering from COVID-fatigue and struggling to keep up as the lockdown lengthens and the restrictions are expanded,” said Business NSW Chief Executive Daniel Hunter. “With changing restrictions and new support measures, it’s difficult for business owners to stay abreast of what’s happening while keeping their staff employed and their businesses afloat,” Mr Hunter said.

“As this lockdown continues with no apparent end in sight, it’s becoming increasingly clear existing support measures are insufficient. We need something that is scalable, supports people-intensive and capital-intensive businesses, and allows greater IR flexibility.

“JobSaver is a good package that needs to be broadened and expanded as it only has a maximum of $10,000 in weekly support. This is too small for heavily impacted businesses, particularly medium and larger enterprises that employ more staff.

“What we need is this package to be scalable for businesses of all sizes, so it maintains employment and keeps businesses afloat.

“While JobSaver is targeted towards retaining the employment relationship, capital intensive businesses are still at significant risk, particularly those that have large repayments on property, plant and equipment. There are a number of additional levers that can be looked at to support businesses immediately, including:

  • Loan deferrals – not just big banks, but smaller providers, particularly those involved in equipment finance
  • Deferrals of tolls, utilities, and clearer information around ATO payments
  • Discussions between local councils and businesses about rates and other fees and charges

“Business needs a level of certainty moving forward, otherwise many businesses across Greater Sydney will never re-open and jobs will be lost for good,” Mr Hunter said.

29 July 2021

Latest COVID support from NSW Government

Click image to see full PDF


19 July, 2021

There is a faster way out of NSW COVID lockdown

Last year when the Australian government announced a local manufacturing deal with CSL to produce 50 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, there was a sense that we had a real way out of this COVID mess. In March 2021, the TGA approved CSL to produce this vaccine and they were quickly producing more than 1 million doses per week, right here in Australia.

A promising start

We had a well-managed COVID response (relative to the rest of the world) and plenty of vaccines on the way. However, there is now a sense we have blown this head-start.

When I was working for NSW Health earlier this year, (I finished six years there in April) there was a sense of excitement that we could rely on this locally manufactured vaccine, get it into the arms of our citizens quickly and achieve that magic herd immunity - early.

Fast forward to today and we are in the perplexing position of having an oversupply of the AstraZeneca vaccine. So much so that we are looking to donate and potentially export it.

We should be having a conversation about the health risks of mass vaccination using AstraZeneca versus the health impact of locking down 6 million people..

balancing priorities

We are now in a situation where we are reliant on the overseas supply of alternate vaccines which will substantially delay our achievement of herd immunity and the end to this and other lockdowns.

Why does this delay matter? Because people are losing their livelihoods and there are huge mental health impacts associated with this.

There is also the issue that we will miss out on the opportunities associated with having our borders open earlier. Effectively, other countries will get their borders open and capitalise on the economic opportunities available before we are able to do the same.

I’m not a medical doctor and I’m not here to tell people what vaccine they should or shouldn’t have. However, we should be having a conversation about the health risks of a mass vaccination program using the AstraZeneca vaccine, versus the health impact of locking down 6 million people.

These health impacts are very real. To use a blunt example – how many people will suffer serious life-threatening mental health consequences during this lockdown because they have lost their livelihoods, versus how many people will suffer serious health consequences from blood clots associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Why does this delay matter? Because people are losing their livelihoods and there are huge mental health impacts associated with this.

Remember that millions of doses of AstraZeneca have been used successfully worldwide. The UK alone has given over 30 million doses with the country now moving towards normality and open borders.

For multiple reasons, the public messaging around the AstraZeneca vaccine has been so poor that it is now akin to getting a rusty needle in a back alley. It has been reported that the risk of dying from the AstraZeneca vaccine is about the same as dying from a lightning strike and you are 50 times more likely to die from a car accident.

We have the vaccines, and we have people and delivery systems in place to get people vaccinated quickly via the public health systems and GP networks. The option is there now, via a concerted effort, for the broader population to get vaccinated using the AstraZeneca vaccine with a shorter timeframe between jabs one and two. We could have herd immunity in months.

14 July, 2021

MENTAL HEALTH Services for business 

Business-specific one-on-one coaching: Free and confidential

SafeWork NSW
For small businesses and not for profits to create a mentally healthy workplace

This one-on-one coaching service to complement the new Code of Practice for managing psychosocial hazards at workAnother way of describing work-related factors that potentially pose a risk of psychological injury in the workplace.

To access the coaching service the employer or manager will need to fill in a web form and choose a timeslot. The earliest appointment is generally 24 hours later.

The service has a process depending on the level of support required and also acts as a triage into other levels of support (for example, financial distress services.

Beyond Blue’s NewAccess for Small Business Owners is for any small business owner feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

Over six sessions, coaches with a small business background will work with you to overcome difficult issues, providing you with practical skills to manage stress and get you back to feeling like yourself.

At your first appointment, your coach will complete an initial assessment with you, and develop a program tailored to your individual needs.

NewAccess for Small Business Owners is available nationally by phone or video call.

Other business-specific tools and resources

Ahead for Business - small business-specific tools and resources

Ahead for Business was created to fill a gap for small business owners.  Its digital hub provides free, mental health and wellbeing support, tools and resources designed especially for small business owners.

After having used the mental health check-up tool and/or its business stressor screen, the website will recommend specific resources. 


Beyond Blue has partnered up with the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance to create Heads Up, Better mental health in the workplace, which has a range of resources to help business owners create an action plan and navigate stressful events.

In addition, there are some free coaching services and related tools for small businesses.

Information current as at 14 July 2021

Beyond Blue (1300 224 636) has collated a list of national help lines and support sites that can help with a range of different needs, including one for Coronavirus mental Wellbeing Support Service (1800 512 348).