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Business leader pleads for certainty for small business owners ‘crushed’ by lockdown

Article image for Business leader pleads for certainty for small business owners ‘crushed’ by lockdown

Victoria is on day four of a five-day circuit-breaker lockdown, which a business leader says has had a ‘crushing’ effect on small business owners.

CEO of the Australian Industry Group, Innes Willox, says business owners are fearful the lockdown will be extended.

He wants the Andrews government to promise lockdowns won’t be “the first response to any case” of COVID-19 in the future.

“The first thing the state government could do is to put their hand up and say that the lockdown has been an overreaction, judging by the daily figures that we’re having, and then making a pledge that they wouldn’t do it again,” he told Neil Mitchell.

“This five-day lockdown has been crushing psychologically for a lot of businesses.”

Mr Willox says small business owners need a business support package immediately.

“We can’t afford to wait longer,” he said.

“The estimate is that this will cost us more than a billion dollars.

“They need to give payroll tax relief as the first step, so that businesses don’t have to pay that this year, then they have to look at grants, they have to look at loans, they have to look at a broad range of support packages for specific industries and specific geographic areas like the CBD.”

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