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Russel Northe MLA:
Regional Roadmap Goes in Wrong Direction

Concerns for many local businesses with Regional Roadmap.

By Portal Admin - 15th September 2020 - Back to News

Member for Morwell, Russell Northe said he remains extremely concerned for the future of many local businesses following the Premiers announcement of a Regional Roadmap in response to the COVID-19 on Sunday.

Mr Northe said he had spent much time considering all elements of the Roadmap and had subsequently been contacted by a number of local business owners over the past 24 hours who had expressed their real and valid concern about the Governments Roadmap and the uncertainty that exists within.

The stepped process of the Roadmap requires a number of COVID-19 thresholds to be met before restrictions can be eased further which in itself is creating much angst and insecurity, and for a number of businesses the fear of permanent closure is real.

For specific businesses and sectors there is still considerable uncertainty about how they can reopen their business and when.

"For example, many personal service businesses strongly feel they can open their doors safely, yet under the Governments Roadmap regional businesses in this space will have to remain closed until at least 23rd November, 2020" Mr Northe continued.

"Likewise, the fitness, entertainment and hospitality sectors have taken significant hits in recent months and I really worry for the future of many" Mr Northe said.

"It makes no sense in many respects that a person can go shopping in busy supermarkets or hardware stores, yet one on one personal services like beautician services are not acceptable" Mr Northe said.

Business owners know how important workplace COVID safe plans are, and I believe the Government must start to have faith in our small business community.

For many businesses, overheads and ongoing costs are adding up which is no surprise given little or no revenue has been coming through their doors due to the restrictions imposed and the question of how many will survive is real.

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has today raised these same concerns across various media platforms.

"Whilst the Business Support Fund and JobKeeper program have been beneficial in some cases; for many businesses the costs they have incurred far outweighs Government support provided over previous months and this is a terrible worry" Mr Northe said.

"And of course, so many employees are subsequently impacted by businesses having to close or limit their operations, and you just really feel for people and families who are going through such a difficult time at present" Mr Northe said.

"From a COVID-19 perspective, its imperative as I said in Parliament last week that the Government has adequate coronavirus testing, quarantine and surveillance and contact tracing processes in place in addition to ensuring the vulnerable are being protected including residents and workers in health and aged care settings" Mr Northe said.

"Whilst I understand the State Government needs to find a balance between supressing the virus or now it seems in eliminating the virus and imposing restrictions; businesses have relayed to me very strongly they just dont understand the rationale being applied in a number of circumstances emanating from the Regional Roadmap" said Mr Northe

"And as I also said in Parliament last week if we are to live with the virus into the foreseeable future, then we cant continue to lock businesses and communities down to the extent to what has occurred over these past months, as the impact will be profound in so many parts of our community" Mr Northe concluded.


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