12/02/2021 - 14:49

Liberals demand business support as lockdown cost revealed

12/02/2021 - 14:49


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The Liberal Party WA has reiterated calls for better support for businesses, following new figures by Treasury indicating that the five-day lockdown cost the state $100 million.

Liberals demand business support as lockdown cost revealed
Zak Kirkup says businesses need support following the lockdown. Photo: Jesinta Burton

The Liberal Party WA has reiterated calls for the state government to better support businesses affected by the five-day lockdown following the release of new figures by the state’s Department of Treasury indicating it may have cost the state more than $100 million.

More than 85,000 businesses were forced to close their doors late last month with just four hours' notice, after a locally acquired COVID-19 case prompted a five-day lockdown of the Perth, Peel and South West regions.

Those businesses have also had to uphold a suite of costly restrictions this week as part of the state's transition out of lockdown, including capacity limits on venues.

While supportive of the lockdown, the Liberals had demanded the state government provide relief grants of up to $10,000 for business that had borne the brunt of the lockdown.

Opposition leader Zak Kirkup also criticising the state government's decision to hand out a $500 electricity credit while sitting on a $2.1 billion surplus.

During a press conference this morning, Premier Mark McGowan said while the loss was regrettable, the best thing the state government could have done to support small business was to get the economy up and running again.

“That [$100 million loss] is bad, obviously, and highly regrettable,” he said.

"The lockdown of the [Sydney's] northern beaches cost its economy nearly $3.5 billion.

“We have put some measures in place to support small businesses, but the best thing we can do is get our economy back up, get people operating, get businesses functioning again, and get people back out spending.

“That’s what I would encourage everyone to do and I suspect they will.”

This afternoon, Mr Kirkup reiterated the party’s calls for the government to provide emergency financial support to ensure businesses remained viable.

“We want to see the government provide immediate small business support,” Mr Kirkup said.

“I’ve spoken to people whose businesses have lost tens of thousands of dollars a day because they were locked down.

“Now they will hopefully survive, but there will be some that won’t and that’s the reality we face.

“If we have a Labor Party that goes to this election believing it has won, thinking that they don’t need to provide a plan for the future and thinking that they don’t need to support small business, then there’s a real uncertain situation for Western Australia if they’re reelected.

“We need to make sure we back those businesses now and give them the support they need now so that they are viable coming out of this.”


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