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Victoria to offer support to businesses hit by snap lockdown

Industry groups have criticised the slow reopening.
Industry groups have criticised the slow reopening.

Victoria’s minister for industry support and recovery Martin Pakula has said the state government is working on a targeted package to assist businesses following yesterday’s announcement of a snap seven-day lockdown.

According to the ABC, Pakula said the package will be announced next week, with the intention for businesses impacted by the lockdown to receive support “generally within a week or two”.

“I understand business is disappointed and frustrated and I can assure them so am I,” said Pakula.

“But we will work really hard over the next day or two… to try and get a good package pulled together.”

The call comes as retail and business groups called for more support from the Government, with Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott stating this new lockdown is an opportunity to “get the basics right” and “learn from our experience dealing with the virus”.

“This lockdown must not be as long and destructive as the last,” Westacott said.

“Once again the systems for managing this virus through tracking and tracing and quarantine have failed, they must be fixed as a matter of priority.

“Behind these lockdowns are families and communities being expected to bear the brunt yet again, [placing] a burden on the community’s mental health.”

National Retail Association chief executive Dominique Lamb yesterday warned that a lockdown without fiscal support for businesses would inevitably lead to layoffs, should this lockdown be extended beyond the initial seven-day period.

“The pandemic has wreaked havoc across the entire country over the last 12 months, but none more so than Victoria,” Lamb said.

“Government support will be needed otherwise businesses and jobs across Australia’s second largest state will be in jeopardy. Not only are retailers hurt during the actual lockdown period, but even when restrictions are eased we don’t see economic activity return to normal like flicking a switch.”

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