The health and wellbeing of Tasmanians is our number one priority as we face the challenges presented to us by the coronavirus pandemic. However we do know that thousands of small businesses across Tasmania are struggling with the challenges associated with the COVID-19 restrictions.
I am actively engaging with the business community, including talking with many of the small chambers of commerce around Tasmania. They’re playing a vital role, particularly in our regional and rural areas, in getting information to small businesses about what support is available as well as providing feedback to Government about areas that are being severely impacted.
This is why I am thankful that the Premier recently announced $100,000 to go towards supporting these regional chambers, so that we can continue to work with and support them in their important role in supporting their local communities.
This support is just part of the Tasmanian Government’s $985 million Social and Economic Support Package, the most significant business support package in the history of our state.
Some of the other measures available include the $2,500 Small Business Emergency Support Grants, which commenced 26 March and has resulted in 4,912 Tasmanian small business applications approved with 4,765 of these having already receiving the funding.
The Small Business Continuity Program has also been rolled out with over 290 applications now approved, providing small businesses the ability to access continuity planning assistance provided by suitably qualified consultants. The $750 grants allow small businesses of any sector to get the advice they need to have their business respond appropriately and help plan so that they are in a better position through the recovery phases.
Importantly, we will soon be opening the Small Business Hardship Grant, where $20 million has been allocated to provide one-off grants to those businesses that can demonstrate severe hardship or are in positions to continue to support local jobs and economic growth into the recovery phase.
I’d like to thank all the small business community, who have worked hard and constructively when facing the challenges posed by COVID-19, with many of them being incredibly innovative in their business models to ensure that they can keep serving their community.
I would also urge all Tasmanians while we are asking you to stay at home, to explore if there are ways you can continue to support your local businesses. These small businesses are the lifeblood of Tasmania, particularly in regional areas, and there are ways we can continue to support and access our local hospitality and retails stores still serving the community, such as finding them online or giving them a phone call.