Sunday Sep 19, 2021
Sunday Sep 19, 2021
Small business and sole traders have done it the toughest during COVID.
Big business is better equipped to pivot during the lockdowns and restrictions while small businesses in shopping strips and in shopping centres continue to suffer the most.
The state and federal governments announced a jointly-funded support package of $600m for the week-long in early August. 25,000 Queensland businesses have applied for the funding life-line, yet only 6,353 businesses have actually received money. That lock down was a month ago, yet only a quarter of businesses have received financial support.
Government can hand out money, yet what business really needs is the confidence to open doors to customers without the worry of when doors will again be closed. Small business need’s assurance that liquidators are not on their doorstep ready to wind them up. Small business needs time to recover.
And it is never as simple as just opening the doors. COVID restrictions have been global and global supply chains have been affected. Small Australian businesses are being faced with shortages of product, including electronics, balloons, books, bikes, hair products, toys, game consoles and textiles. With Christmas on the horizon, and the best chance of significant spending to lift the retail sector, we’re now faced with a significant global supply chain crunch.
Before COVID much of the air freight arrived with passenger flights, which are no longer an option for retailers who are now waiting months for stock to arrive on boat, because air freight is either too expensive or non-existent. Some larger retailers are ordering excess stock to just get it here, then warehousing it, yet this is not an option for small business who cannot afford that work around.
Many small businesses have pivoted to online shopping, which has been a saviour. In spite of admirable small business resilience, tenacity and determination, the QLD Chief Health Officer in August decided to wade into the retail sector with reckless advice against online shopping. Hers is an ill-conceived attempt to limit the movement of delivery workers to limit the spread of COVID.
Australia needs to get back to work. Our communities need their social cohesion restored and families need certainty. I encourage all Australians to support local small businesses and help them to recover.