Rescue package little comfort for struggling venue...

Rescue package little comfort for struggling venues

The new rescue package announced by the New South Wales Government will provide little comfort to many struggling hospitality businesses, according to a peak industry body.

The $1.4 billion small business relief package includes grants between $5000 and $10,000 for small businesses and payroll tax deferral for all employers in the wake of the extended COVID-19 lockdown for Greater Sydney.

There will also be an extension of the Dine and Discover program to August 31 and the ability for people to use Dine and Discover vouchers for takeaway delivered directly to their home by the venue itself.

It follows early estimates from NSW Treasury that the lockdown will cost the state’s economy $850 million a week, but Restaurant & Catering Australia CEO Wes Lambert said the support may come too late for many already-struggling small businesses.

“For thousands of hospitality businesses July rent is already past due, but they now have to wait weeks before they can even apply for any government grants,” he said.

On Wednesday, R&CA made a plea to the state government to boost its $10,000 support package, waive payroll tax and provide rent relief for business owners devastated by the lockdown.

Mr Lambert said rents made up about nine per cent of business costs, meaning the average business would need up to $15,000 a month to cover rent for July.

However, NSW Premier Gladys Berjiklian maintains the extension of the lockdown is the state’s best bet for avoiding future lockdowns.

“We know what businesses need is certainty and what they don’t want is a prospect or a future where we are constantly moving in and out of lockdown,” she said.

“The Commonwealth is supporting individuals during lockdowns and the states will be supporting business during lockdown.”

Applications for support from the package will open later this month, once losses can be assessed between the lockdown period and an equivalent period in 2019.

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