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‘Highway to hell’: Aussies slam ‘crushing’ lockdown extension

Anastasia Santoreneos
·4-min read
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews looking downcast at a press conference.
‘Highway to hell’: Aussies slam ‘crushing’ lockdown extension. Source: Getty

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews revealed on Sunday that the state was set for a further two weeks of lockdown in order to control the rate of Covid-19 infection, but businesses say Andrews’ “roadmap to recovery” looks more like a “highway to hell”.

“This so-called road to recovery is actually a road to business closures and economic ruin,” Dean Long, chief executive of the Accommodation Association said.

“With apologies to AC/DC, the Victorian government is in fact providing Victoria’s accommodation providers with a highway to hell.”

Long called on the Victorian government to support accommodation businesses with a $1,000 per room monthly payment to help offset fixed costs like electricity, water and insurance, and asked for an extension of the cashflow boost to at least $100,000 per Victorian business.

Victorian business owners have taken to Facebook to reveal the impact of the lockdown restrictions on their business.

Melbourne beauty business owner Codie Edwards, and member of the Kindness Pandemic Facebook group thanked her friends, family and clients for offering support, after her business, Be Miss Beauty was rocked by the announcement.

“Being in Victoria and hearing the announcements today for weeks of more restrictions and lockdowns is hard and heartbreaking,” she said.

“I’m a beauty business owner so we’ve been shut since March and are now being told we won’t be re opening until late November.

“I’m just numb and on autopilot still I think, when it’s not that it’s a roller coaster of emotions sad, defeated, mad, anxious, I’m a single mum with a mortgage to pay and being a business owner at the moment is just bloody hard to say the least.”

Karen McAloon runs a small tourism business in regional Victoria, Overwrought Garden Art, and she said she relied on visitors from Melbourne to survive.

Her business supports eight families in a small regional community, and after experiencing over 30 per cent downturn in revenue, she’s unsure whether she can keep operating.

“It’s really hard to stay positive and move forward not knowing if your business is going to survive another 10 weeks without face-to-fact trade,” she said. “But what choice do we have?”

Insolvency relief extended

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter said in a joint statement that temporary insolvency and bankruptcy protections would be extended until 31 December.

“Regulations will be made to extend the temporary increase in the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company and the time companies have to respond to statutory demands they receive,” they stated.

“The changes will also extend the temporary relief for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent.

“These changes will help to prevent a further wave of failures before businesses have had the opportunity to recover.”

Frydenberg stated on Sunday the news of extended lockdown arrangements would be “hard and crushing” for Victorian residents, and was a further reminder of the impact on costs that result from not being able to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.

“The proposed roadmap will come at a further economic cost. While this needs to be weighed up against mitigating the risk of further community outbreak, it is also true that the continued restrictions will have further impact on the Victorian and national economy, in further job losses and loss of livelihoods, as well as impacting on mental health,” the Treasurer stated.

“Of course the Federal Government would like to see restrictions in Victoria lifted as soon as it is safe to do so, but at the end of the day these are decisions solely for the Victorian Government to determine and the roadmap released today is a Victorian Government plan.”

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