Business lockdown support is nowhere to be found


The Lee family has owned and operated the Brighton Savoy Hotel since 1967.

Des Lee bought it a decade after arriving penniless in Australia as a refugee after surviving the Holocaust and the Hungarian Revolution.

He died heartbroken in the middle of Victoria’s second lockdown last August, the hotel empty and losing money, a renovation that was halfway done.

His children, Michael and Jennifer, now run the hotel together with their mother Maya.

In fact, they have paid $ 423,675 property tax to the state government in the past 12 months, despite being closed to nine of them based on state government decisions.

They told me last week that the psychological effects on their family were devastating, even though JobKeeper initially kept them going.

This time, with JobKeeper cut off, the state government grants have nowhere near made up for the losses, so they’re falling.

Lockdown support for companies is MIA

The Raponi family has run a football shop in Pascoe Vale for 33 years but was forced to close it last week.

Football fields across Victoria were abandoned for most of 2020 and also in 2021. Stocks bought early last year are still on the shelves, and there were no orders for the end-of-season trophies in December.

Eli Censor Hazell owns seven KX Pilates studios across Melbourne. She had to lay off 50 employees without pay and pay $ 20,000 in rent.

“My employees live on check for check and we can’t help them.” she said Smart company.

Thousands of business owners have been forced to shut down permanently due to restrictions. Photo: Getty

Emma Leckenby has an occupational therapy shop called Little Rockets in Eltham, which also has no support from the state government because it is too small.

She told the ABC The final lockdown will cost her $ 3,000, which puts “significant financial pressure” on her family.

Bill Morton owns the paperback bookshop on Bourke Street, which had to go completely online. The conversion is 20 percent of the previous one.

Johnny Vakalis runs the Journal Cafe on Flinders Lane. He’s losing $ 20,000 to $ 30,000 a week.

And so on. There are thousands of stories of family businesses in Victoria being forced to close or eat up their savings to stay open and there will be thousands more in Sydney as a lockdown begins there.

These families are not victims of nameless misfortune, incompetence or even an economic crisis, but of government decisions designed to protect the health of the community.

In other words, they are being forced by our representatives to sacrifice the wealth and happiness of their own families and, in many cases, their health so that the rest of us will not get sick.

Different rules apply

66 large ASX-listed companies received JobKeeper payments from the government of $ 1.38 billion, approximately half of which went to companies that actually reported an increase in profits.

Harvey Norman received $ 22 million in JobKeeper payments even though his profits doubled.

Gerry Harvey has famously stated that he will not return any money and the government will allow him to keep it.

Of course, many family businesses were also kept running with JobKeeper and some of them would have gotten money they didn’t need.

But that’s over now, and the lockdowns aren’t.

And that’s because the vaccination rate in Australia is pathetic.

Other countries are opening up and allowing businesses to run because more than half of the population has received at least one dose; The Australian government has fully vaccinated 4.3 percent of the population, less than half the world average and a tenth of the British and American populations.

However, no provision is being made to look after the families who are still devastated by the lockdowns that are a direct result of the government’s vaccination failure.

Based on budgetary goals and the apparent economic recovery, sweeping decisions have been made to end “financial aid,” but governments are still making decisions to discourage us from visiting certain businesses to protect the health of the community, which is nothing have to do with the health of the economy.

And they shouldn’t be viewed as a company – they’re families, and they’re run over and left on the side of the road, victims of a bureaucratic attack.

If even one family were ruined to protect the rest of us, when the federal government could easily find the money to help them, it would be unacceptable, but there are thousands of them.

It’s embarrassing.

Alan Kohler writes for twice a week The new daily newspaper. He is also the editor-in-chief of Eureka report and finance presenter at ABC News


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