A crucial section of the Services NSW website has suffered an outage after being swamped by demand from business owners desperate for some cash flow amid the protracted lockdown.
As of today (Monday 19 July), business owners are able to apply for cash grants of up to $15,000.
But the webpage where applicants apply reportedly crashed at around 11am.
“Temporarily unavailable,” an alert at the top of the page states.
“We're receiving unprecedented demand for the 2021 COVID-19 business grant. We're working through the demand and ask that you kindly come back to complete your transaction this afternoon,” the alert states.
“We assure you that you will not miss out on this grant by returning later. Apologies for the inconvenience.”
The red ‘Apply online’ button at the bottom of the page has been greyed out.
Text beside the button reads: “This transaction is not available at this time. Try again later.”
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has said he anticipated high demand, and urged people to be patient.
“Obviously there is a significant demand right now and many people contacting the Service NSW centres, so please be patient,” he said.
“We have reallocated our resources right across government to make sure we are able to get to your queries and get your applications processed.”
'Investigating': Service NSW
A spokesperson for Service NSW confirmed with Yahoo Finance that it was experiencing a "network outage" affecting several grant programs.
This includes "2021 COVID-19 business grant, export assistance, small business fees and charges rebate and the mouse control rebate," the spokesperson said.
"Service NSW is investigating the outage and working to restore services as quickly as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience."
'How are we meant to survive?'
Frustrated business owners have vented their struggles with accessing the site on Twitter, with one asking: "how are we meant to survive?"
At nearly 4pm AEST, the webpage is still yet to get back online.
"The Service NSW website is overloaded and can't cope. That's what happens when you put half a million tradies out of a job," another tweeted.
One user said the NSW and Federal Governments had "a lot to answer for".
"I hope they prepared for business closures," he tweeted. "Very upsetting."
Service NSW's Twitter bio states that the agency is "all about making it easier to get things done".