Practical action to keep the economy working

21 March 2020

The Victorian Government’s economic survival and jobs package represents practical action to support businesses to stay open and keep people employed as we pull together to deal with the impacts of coronavirus, Business Council Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said.

“This is welcome targeted action, removing taxes on jobs and delivering relief to sectors which are bearing the brunt of shut-downs and social distancing measures. We also congratulate the Victorian Government for working closely with business to get targeted support where it needs to go quickly.

“Providing full payroll tax refunds for this full financial year and deferring the first quarter of the next year is exactly the type of help businesses need right now to help with immediate cash flow.

“We know this extraordinary health event will eventually end and the measures announced today will keep people in jobs, money in people’s pockets and our essential services and major industries going. These are the cogs that keep the economy turning and we need to be in a strong position to drive the economic recovery when these unprecedented events pass.’’

“Job-matching schemes can help businesses with surging demand and they will give displaced workers a chance to stay in the workforce, this is crucial. Some large employers are already working together to see staff re-deployed.

“It is great to see the government commit to paying all outstanding supplier invoices within five business days and providing a $500 million to establish a Business Support Fund. The fund will support the hardest hit sectors, including hospitality, tourism, accommodation, arts and entertainment, and retail.’’

“Businesses, big and small, are the glue that keeps their communities together. When this crisis passes we will need the right policies in place to ensure they can ramp back up quickly. 

“Support for small and medium sized businesses is crucial but the longer the pandemic continues, the more vulnerable Australia’s biggest companies will become. Businesses need as much room to move as possible to keep employees working.

“We will need to lift the regulatory burdens and blockages that put a handbrake on new projects and investments.  And, we’ll need to make every part of the economy as productive as possible.

“To get through this challenge all Australians must step up and our largest companies are doing just that.

“Companies are being as flexible possible to ensure the safety of staff by introducing working from home arrangements where possible and split shifts. They are paying staff, including casual workers by creating special types of epidemic and pandemic leave.

“Businesses are restocking shelves as quickly as possible, they are keeping their shops open and supporting communities by paying their suppliers as quickly as possible. And, our banks are continuing to lend, they are extending payment terms and deferring repayments.

“Today’s announcement from the Victorian government is emblematic of our shared national imperative to keep people working and to keep things going so that once this crisis passes we can rebound stronger than ever.


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