Monday, 28th June 2021
The Hon. Dominic Perrottet MP
GPO Box 5341
SYDNEY NSW 2001
I write to request a COVID rescue package for small businesses in Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama and the Shoalhaven Local Government Areas.
As you would be aware, small businesses on the South Coast have faced bushfires, floods and the first wave of COVID-19. The second wave of COVID has impacted not just businesses in Wollongong and Shellharbour but this second iteration of COVID will have a significant and sustained impact on businesses in Kiama and the Shoalhaven.
So many businesses were starting to recover from the litany of devastating impacts of 2020; with so many cancellations and a significant reduction in tourism, many businesses have suffered monumental loss and financial hardship that will lead to reduction of activity and possible business closures.
I note that the NSW Government received higher than expected revenues from State Duty during the last financial year. I implore you to consider a strong package of supports for COVID-impacted businesses so that they can sustain themselves through this current lockdown and re-establish themselves in the aftermath.
Small business is the backbone of regional economies. As you know, so many of our local small businesses are owner-operator and family-run concerns. These businesses drive employment and job opportunities in regions like the South Coast.
If we don’t support these businesses at this time, they simply won’t survive this challenging period. Loss of business and jobs will also add to the impact on the region’s mental health which is been felt particularly harshly by local young people.
I ask that you consider a direct payment to businesses with a demonstrable COVID-related impact in the abovementioned Local Government Areas and a doubling in the value of the ‘Dine and Discover’ vouchers in regional NSW when stay-at-home orders are lifted.
I would also ask that Payroll Tax waivers be considered for impacted businesses. Thresholds and rates would be a matter for you and Treasury to consider.
I would also encourage you to join with me in asking commercial landlords to be sympathetic, supportive and generous towards small business operators that are impacted as a result the second wave of COVID.
Thank you for your consideration of this proposal. I look forward to your response.
GARETH WARD MP
Member for Kiama