Questions to Small Business Minister Jaala Pulford in State Parliament on Tuesday showed the Andrews Labor Government has no plans in place to assist Victorian businesses forced to close during the government’s third and financially devastating 5-day state-wide lockdown.
In answering questions from Liberal Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell, Small Business Minister Jaala Pulford was unable to provide any details of government compensation planned to assist businesses financially crippled by the lockdown.
Ms Lovell said that industry leaders estimate the current lockdown will deliver a $1 billion hit to the Victorian economy, with the hospitality sector losing around $100 million and florists around $36 million in wasted stock and trade over the five-day period.
Ms Lovell also highlighted the cases of Shepparton businesses Cellar 47 that suffered a 70% downturn in trade and Renato’s Florist who were down 75% over the Valentines weekend. Both local businesses were also forced to throw away thousands of dollars of fresh produce due to the last-minute announcement of the lockdown.
Ms Lovell said Ms Pulford’s responses showed Labor are now hastily cobbling together some form of support, but Ms Pulford refused to say if financial compensation would be part of the package.
Ms Pulford’s response also confirmed that despite having been the Minister responsible for Victorian small businesses for more than nine months Ms Pulford has no strategy on how to support small businesses during any future lockdowns.
Comments attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell:
“Daniel Andrews’ latest cruel lockdown is financially devastating businesses and dramatically impacting the mental health of many Victorians.
“The Premier is making all Victorians suffer for his government’s failures in contact tracing and hotel quarantine.
“Ms Pulford’s performance in Parliament proves she has no contingency plan on how to compensate Victorian business owners affected by this week’s lockdown or any future lockdowns. Victorian businesses, many of whom are at the point of financial ruin deserve better.”
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