Master Builders Victoria ‘disappointed but not surprised’
Master Builders Victoria (MBV) says it was disappointed but not surprised that the Victorian Government had not included building sector ‘Mum and Dad’ businesses in its $250 million business support package announced recently.
Acting Premier James Merlino announced the Victorian Government support package for small to medium-sized businesses and sole traders, as a significant support to help those hardest hit by Victoria’s statewide circuit breaker lockdown.
He said the $250.7m Circuit Breaker Business Support Package would aim to help up to 90,000 Victorian businesses affected by the lockdown.
It is the first financial support offered to businesses since the national JobKeeper program was wound back.
MBV CEO Rebecca Casson said while both the state and federal governments should be applauded for their continued support of the building and construction industry, it was disappointing that small businesses in the building and construction sector would not qualify for help, again.
“Unfortunately, when the last round of support was offered to Victorian businesses through the Business Support Fund during the extended Stage 4 lockdown last year, and the February circuit breaker lockdown, small building and construction businesses were not included.
“These businesses are being subjected to as much financial pain and distress as many other small businesses and it is disappointing that they are being excluded,” she said.
“It should also be remembered that, since the last lockdown, our industry has also been heavily impacted by major supply chain issues and significant price increases that have also taken their toll on our small businesses.”
The package announced by Mr Merlino features three initiatives for small to medium-sized businesses and sole traders.
The $190.01m second round of the Business Costs Assistance Program will offer grants of $2500 for eligible businesses, including restaurants and cafes, event suppliers, accommodation providers and non-essential retailers.
A $40.7m new round of the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund will provide businesses holding an eligible liquor licence and food certificate with a $3500 grant per venue.
An allocation of $20m will be also be dedicated to supporting operators in the events industry who have incurred losses as a result of the lockdown.
“We appreciate the hospitality and events sectors are hurting, but so are mum and dad builders and tradespeople who are doing everything they can to keep Victorians employed – including apprentices,”
Ms Casson said. “We will continue to advocate for support for ‘mum and dad’ builders and tradespeople.
“These businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and right now – just like cafe and event suppliers – they are not permitted to work.
“Therefore, some equity in state and federal government financial support only seems reasonable.
“We look forward to continuing to work with both state and federal government on the criteria for financial support in the hope that this program can offer more equitable access to the help that so many small building and construction businesses need.”