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What Victoria’s small businesses need to get through the coronavirus crisis

Melbourne’s international reputation as a dining and entertainment hub is under threat if drastic action isn’t taken to keep small businesses open, the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has warned.

Small businesses have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and CEO of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Paul Guerra, urged the state and federal governments to intervene to make sure businesses make it through the downturn.

“This is the time for governments to really stand up,” he told Neil Mitchell.

“We all know where this ends if governments don’t intervene and I’d encourage them to throw everything at it to help us all get through.

“One simple idea is the GST payments are due for this quarter in a couple of weeks. Waive those GST payments, push them out for 18 months if we have to.

“That enables, then, the small to medium businesses to say ‘well, actually, I can hold staff for a bit longer now’.

“There are organisations out there that are ready and willing to manufacture, so let’s bring some of that manufacturing forward.”

Mr Guerra said Victoria is heading into the unprecedented period in a “really strong” position, but there’s a lot at stake.

“Our global reputation of events, restaurants and bars is at risk. We need to bounce back quickly from that, otherwise we just become another city,” he warned.

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Image: Asanka Ratnayake