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'Extraordinary': Who the Victorian Premier's cash grants forgot

Anastasia Santoreneos
·2-min read
Who the Victorian Premier's cash grants forgot. Source: Getty
Who the Victorian Premier's cash grants forgot. Source: Getty

Victorian non-employing sole traders that run their businesses from home will miss out on the Premier’s cash grants via the state government’s Business Support Fund, a member of parliament has revealed.

Eastern Metropolitan MP Rod Barton said a large chunk of non-employing sole traders simply don’t actually meet the criteria for the Business Support Fund. That includes sole traders who work in the tip truck and hire car industry, Barton said.

"I would never say that this support is not needed for those businesses......[but] there are non-employing sole trader businesses out there, many in the transportation sector, with extraordinary loans and overheads who are yet to qualify for any financial support whatsoever,” Barton said.

Tip trucks can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and, combined with loan repayment costs, the debts are mounting.

The MP said many of these sole traders face the possibility of losing their homes or selling their vehicles and machinery to repay these debts, unless the government intervenes.

Barton wrote to the Premier, saying: "I am offering to work with [you] to address the shortcomings of the existing COVID support programs to focus on expanding the eligibility criteria....[to] catch those people who through no fault of their own are repeatedly falling through the cracks".

The third round of funding under the Business Support Fund was unveiled earlier this month, with the state government offering small and medium-sized businesses in Victoria with a payroll of up to $10 million grants of up to $20,000 each.

“I’m somewhat relieved to finally see the Andrews Government announcing critical cash support to Victorian business today,” Chrissie Maus, general manager of the Chapel Street Precinct said when the package was announced.

“They needed help and hope. It is now also important that we as a community do everything we can to support our local businesses, so each and everyone of us can together help get every single business to the other side of this pandemic.”

In this package, the Victorian government created a $100 million Sole Trader Support Fund, which provides support to non-employing Victorian sole traders operating out of commercial premises, but says nothing about those who operate from home.

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