Last week Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Victorian businesses had borne the brunt and high cost of lockdowns that kept the state and Australia safe.
However, there has been a mixed reaction from business owners in the Indian community, many of whom believe the grants may be too few and too late.
- The governments of Victoria and the federal government jointly offer a $ 400 million support program for small and medium-sized businesses in the state
- Indian business owners say grants are insufficient and ask for more support
- “Government must analyze nature of business before granting subsidies”: Indian businessman
Indian state-owned enterprises, like others, have been impacted by social lockdowns and restrictions. While they welcome the announcement, they also feel that the amount of the grant was not sufficient to run their operations.
Aloke Kumar, a Melbourne-based Indian-born businessman who runs a hospitality and live entertainment business, told SBS Hindi his losses were greater than the financial grants he received.
“These grants are like a drop in the ocean. Many small and medium business owners that I know survive because they have savings. The majority of them find themselves without income, ”he told SBS Hindi.
Mr Kumar added that it is necessary for the government to analyze this situation before allocating funds according to the nature of the business and the losses incurred.
“A take-out business is not as affected as an on-site restaurant. Our operational costs are much higher while these subsidies can be more or less the same for small and medium-sized businesses, ”he explained.
For Ruchi Gupta, who owns a beauty and hair salon, this support program will help pay his staff but his company’s operational costs exceed the amount. The reduction in attendance only added to its problems.
“I still have to pay rent, telephone, electricity and water bills, consulting fees and inventory expenses. I still find it difficult to manage and pay for them due to low attendance, ”she told SBS Hindi.
Ms Gupta added that although commercial tenants were left to mediate directly with landlords to apply for rent assistance, not all landlords were willing to provide such rent assistance.
“The package includes a new $ 85 million small business COVID hardship fund and $ 156 million business continuity fund, as well as support for commercial tenants and landlords,” Morrison said. in a press release.
“It will also build on Victorian government support for licensed hospitality and Alpine sites, with $ 70 million for the 2021 Licensed Hotel Sites Fund and $ 9.8 million for Alpine Business Support.” , adds the press release.
Under the Business Continuity Fund, 24 eligible sectors, including gymnasiums, cafes, restaurants, food services and hairdressers, will be able to receive $ 5,000 to be affected by the capacity limits imposed on businesses by necessary public health restrictions.
Meanwhile, CBD companies have been offered an additional grant of up to $ 2,000 in recognition of the reduction in foot traffic due to office density limits.
Kamaldip Kahma, gym owner and instructor in Melbourne, echoes similar sentiments. He told SBS Hindi that these grants can only cover a tiny fraction of his operational costs.
“I pay about $ 25,000 in rent and there are other expenses on top of that. These grants only cover 10% of our total expenses, ”said Mr. Kahma, who used his savings and survived on income from online courses.
He added that he was hoping to bounce back when Victoria’s fifth lockdown hit.
Supporting the Indian business community, Kaushalya Vaghela, MP for the Western Metropolitan Region, stressed that now is the time to come to the aid of those businesses that need extra help to get back on their feet.
She told SBS Hindi that she works closely with the Indian community, including Indian businesses in her electorate.
“I regularly receive feedback and share it with my fellow parliamentarians to ensure that we are developing the policies necessary to meet the needs of the community. I am delighted to see the positive impacts of the support programs provided by the Victorian government on our local businesses, ”said Ms. Vaghela.
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