COVID: Small business grant turnover set too high, businesses say

TOUGH TIMES: Northern beaches business chamber heads say many local operators won't qualify for the latest NSW Government grants. Picture: Geoff Jones
TOUGH TIMES: Northern beaches business chamber heads say many local operators won't qualify for the latest NSW Government grants. Picture: Geoff Jones

SMALL businesses might have been offered COVID support grants from the NSW Government but many won't qualify, Mona Vale Chamber of Business president Chris Kavanagh says.

The grants of $5000-$10,000 are only available to businesses with a turnover of more than $75,000 and business chambers across the northern beaches are so worried about the turnover requirement that they met with council on Monday to plead their case.

"There's a number of small businesses who work from home, they don't have a large turnover and they don't have staff and they fall through the cracks," Mr Kavanagh said.

"It's businesses like B&Bs, web designers, creatives and entertainers, I don't know any entertainers who earn over $75,000. Last year there was help via JobKeeper, but now there's nothing."

Manly, Warringah, Mona Vale and Newport business chamber heads were at the meeting and Mr Kavanagh praised council for passing their concerns "up the chain". "They're sharing the pain with the decision makers," he said.

Manly Business Chamber said the grants must be amended to support more local operators.

"These operators do not turnover $75,000 so after meetings last week with the deputy premier and today [Monday] with council we will continue putting pressure to ensure options are available," the chamber posted to social media.

Meanwhile, mayor Michael Regan has called for council to extend its waiver on collecting outdoor dining fees from businesses across the LGA.

Businesses usually pay by square metre to have outdoor seating for their customers and while council had waived this fee for a while, it resumed on July 1.

"At our council meeting earlier this month [in June], council resolved to provide partial outdoor dining fee waivers to impacted businesses that request assistance for the remainder of 2021," he said.

"I will be tabling a mayoral minute at the July council meeting to waive all outdoor dining fees for the duration of the current restrictions and through to at least September, to provide some additional security for those businesses struggling to keep up with the all the changes and to stay afloat."

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