As the Coast ends its fourth week in lockdown, Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch, has called for the Federal Government to reintroduce JobKeeper and Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Adam Crouch, urged business owners to seek crisis funding.
With four down, and at least another week to go, restrictions have been tightened following the lack of a significant reduction in COVID-19 cases during the Greater Sydney lockdown.
From Monday, July 19, all construction work and non-urgent maintenance was paused, including cleaning services and repair work on residential premises.
According to 2016 Census data, over 15 per cent of the Peninsula’s workforce is employed in the construction and manufacturing industries.
Tesch said this freezing of work has caused financial stress not just locally, but Coast-wide.
“I have received so many calls today, and since the restrictions began, from people struggling to pay their rent, their mortgage, provide food for their family and keep up with other day to day expenses.
“NSW is reeling from one of the toughest restrictions we have been given to date.
“We need Government support, and we need it now, especially here on the Coast where so many workers, whether they be construction or maintenance workers or in the beauty industry, [are] now out of work.
“We have a high representation of people in these sectors and without JobKeeper our community is suffering.”
It comes on the back of repeated calls from the Opposition and some unions to introduce further financial measures to help support workers and owners of small businesses who have been asked to close during the lockdown.
Unions NSW Secretary, Mark Morey, said the JobKeeper program allowed workers to maintain the connection to their employer, whilst also receiving a liveable income of $1500 per fortnight.
“It’s time to resuscitate the program unions fought so hard to establish, and that is JobKeeper,” Morey said.
“This program maintains the link between employer and employee and allows businesses and their workforce to re-emerge on the other side of a lockdown.
“We also need proper pandemic and vaccine leave for people who have to isolate or get vaccinated.”
Currently, the Federal Government offers the COVID-19 Disaster Payment which is available for workers unable to earn income due to a lockdown, hotspot or period of restricted movement.
The scheme provides those eligible with up to $375 if they’ve lost less than 20 hours of work per week, and $600 if they’ve lost more 20 hours or more per week.
For small businesses, sole traders and not-for-profit groups, one-off grants have now been made available from the NSW Government, ranging between $7,500 and $15,000.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Adam Crouch, said the grants would help local businesses that have been forced to shut their doors or change their normal operations.
“I urge any local business with a turnover between $75,000 and $50 million, and with a wages bill below $10 million, to apply now,” Crouch said.
“Businesses that have suffered a 30 per cent decline in turnover can receive $7,500, businesses with a 50 per cent decline can receive $10,500, and those with a 70 per cent decline can receive $15,000 ”
Micro businesses with a turnover between $30,000 and $75,000 which experience a 30 per cent decline in turnover will receive a fortnightly grant of $1,500.
More information about the COVID-19 Disaster Payment and its eligibility requirements can be found on the Services Australia website.
Information about the financial support available for businesses can be found on the Service NSW website.