One size fits all

leaves Coasties empty-handed

The Berejiklian Government has left regional businesses out of the COVID-19 business grant, despite the fact the Central Coast is now recognised as a region.

10 September 2021


EVEN before the recent changes many Central Coast small businesses endured lengthy delays before any money hit their bank accounts and some are still waiting.


Karl Herman, owner of Bombora Ettalong Beach SUP and Jim’s Cleaning, Umina Beach says he is yet to feel a cent in his bank account.


“I run two small businesses and I have lost a lot of income over the last nine weeks of lockdown,” said Karl Herman.


“Despite this I have been unable to access the small business grants as of yet.


“My accountant calculated my loss to be just outside of the threshold as three of my clients who had fees owing for the last six months paid me all at once.


“This coupled with the fact that I was already running at a loss in both the 2020 and 2019 financial years has only added to my difficulty.


“My income was down in 2019 because of the bushfires. The bushfire situation and the smoke really impacted my paddle boarding business in our busiest season.”


“My turnover was just under $75,000, which meant I’d again just fallen short of the criteria.


“I had called Service NSW to see if there was another way to access the funding, I received a call back a month later only to be told it would need to be sent off for another division and I will have to wait weeks for them to respond to me.


“I am yet to receive a response and in the mean time I am only operating at limited capacity through my cleaning business, while my paddle boarding income is dry, and my savings are drifting away.”


This is an all too familiar story on the Central Coast.


At a Central Coast Small Business Roundtable with Shadow Minister for Small Business Steve Kamper, many local businesses spoke of their individual circumstances not fitting the government's criteria, as well as their concerns about a lack of road map out of lockdown.


The one size fits all approach for small businesses is clearly not working and people like Karl are suffering because of it.


The Central Coast has been in lockdown for eleven weeks and Karl is yet to receive a cent, like many other businesses here on the Coast.


“The scheme has failed to recognise that during 2019 many businesses throughout the Central Coast would have had a downturn as tourists stayed away from the smoke and kept inside to protect their health.


Not only would the Central Coast have felt those impacts but also many other regional communities, many of whom are yet to even receive the opportunity to apply for the small business grants.


The mismanagement and slow response time is unacceptable. The Berejiklian Government is hurting families across the Coast who just want a fair go.”


Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that many small retail businesses in North Sydney and Hornsby area is up 34% and the Eastern Suburbs, where the latest outbreak began is up 23%.


So, what more evidence does the Berejiklian Government need to see that the one umbrella to cover every small business is not fair.


“Many businesses on the Central Coast, out in the regions and in Western Sydney are experiencing horrible downturns and are barely receiving a cent from the incentives, while other Sydney businesses appear to be flourishing.


The Berejiklian must do more to address the gap instead of using the tick of the box approach, and must give very careful consideration to continuing regional business support as lockdowns end unevenly across NSW.

Grapevine News Online

Central Coast NSW

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