Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan): My adjournment matter is directed to the Minister for Small Business and Minister for Local Government, the Honourable Adem Somyurek. The Western Metropolitan area thrives due to the enterprising spirit of the excellent small businesses in our region. More than 1000 businesses were helped to develop and grow through the Andrews Labor government’s Small Business Bus in 2019.
Small businesses are vital to the Victorian economy. Small businesses now make up 98 per cent of all businesses in Victoria, with 26 per cent of businesses located in regional Victoria. Wyndham’s business community is the fastest growing in Victoria, with a 17.7 per cent increase in 2018–19 compared with 2017–18, according to the ABS. There are more than 17 500 businesses in the municipality, operating out of a range of dedicated precincts in areas including retail, industrial and tourism. Wyndham is also one of the fastest-growing regions in Victoria, with a population of more than 255 000 in 2018, up 65 000 since 2013. Wyndham represents some of Victoria’s fastest-growing suburbs, with Tarneit and Point Cook. A thriving network of small businesses is important to areas like Wyndham, generating new employment opportunities, supporting a growing economy and adding to the unique culture of the Western Metropolitan Region.
By supporting business-led innovation in Wyndham the government is backing the growth of opportunity and reinforcing that there is no better place than Victoria to build a small business. The Victorian government is working to provide the most progressive small business policies in Australia. The action I seek is that the minister visits a small business in Wyndham city with me and showcases to the business how the Andrews Labor government is supporting the small business community.
Mr SOMYUREK (South Eastern Metropolitan—Minister for Local Government, Minister for Small Business) (23 April 2020):
Thank you for you for the adjournment matter which you raised in the House on 19 March 2020 regarding Western Metropolitan small businesses. I appreciate your continued support and commitment to the development of the Western Metropolitan area as a thriving and attractive place to live, work and visit. Wyndham and the Western Metropolitan are an important part of Victoria’s small business success story.
I understand that many businesses will be having difficulties due to COVID-19. Because the response is developing rapidly, I recommend that you and your constituents regularly check business.vic.gov.au for the most up to date information and business resources, and the dhhs.vic.gov.au/state-emergency website for COVID-19 emergency information.
The Government is taking the impact on small business extremely seriously and the rollout of business support funding and services is proceeding as a high priority. The Victorian Government has announced a $1.7 billion economic survival and jobs package. As part of the package, the Government will provide full payroll tax refunds for the 2019-20 financial year to small and medium-sized businesses with payroll of less than $3 million—giving $550 million back to businesses who need it. The same businesses will also be able to defer any payroll tax for the first three months of the 2020-21 financial year until 1 January 2021, freeing up a further $83 million in cashflow. The Government is working with industry groups to administer the fund and help businesses which may not be eligible for payroll tax refunds due to their size, survive and keep people in work.
On 30 March applications opened for the Business Support Fund, which can be accessed through the business.vic.gov.au website. This Fund will distribute $10,000 grants to eligible businesses. The grant is available to business which employ staff, have a turnover above $75,000, a payroll less than $650,000 and on 16 March 2020 held both an ABN and carried out the operation of their business in Victoria.
The Government will also establish a $500 million Working for Victoria Fund in consultation with the Victorian Council of Social Services and Victorian Trades Hall Council. Information on the fund is available at vic.gov.au/workingforvictoria. The fund will help workers who have lost their jobs find new opportunities, including work cleaning public infrastructure or delivering food–providing vital contributions to our state’s response to the pandemic and affording those Victorians security when it’s needed most.
The Government will pay all outstanding supplier invoices within five business days—releasing up to $750 million into the economy earlier. It will also support the hospitality sector by waiving liquor licensing fees for 2020 for affected venues and small businesses.
Thank you for taking the time to raise this with me.