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Queensland Government’s $5,000 COVID-19 Business Support Grants Too Little, Too Late and Leave Too Many Businesses Out in the Cold

4 Aug 2021 4:22 PM | Dr Marcus Smith

On Monday, the Queensland Government announced that 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grants of $5,000 will be made available to employing small and medium businesses across Queensland affected by the COVID-19 lockdown that commenced on Saturday 31 July 2021.

And while the State Government has already begun it’s roadshows promoting the $260 million support package, applications will not open until mid-August and payments will not start flowing to businesses for up to two weeks later.

This grants package comes following the Business Boost Grants that opened on Friday morning the 30th July and was closed in just 40 minutes taking only 395 applications. 

The eligibility criteria for the Business Support Grants will leave many of the state's small businesses out in the cold with only employing businesses with annual turnover above $75,000 and an annual payroll of $10 million or less eligible to apply for assistance.

The most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) business counts for June 2020 reveal that there were around 95,000 (28.7%) of the 330,000 businesses located within the affected Local Government Areas in the southeast corner alone with turnover of less than $50,000.

Given the ABS only publish counts of businesses with turnover up to $50,000 for the nano-business category, it is reasonable to assume that at least one third of all affected businesses in these areas will be ineligible to apply.

A simple calculation of the number of grants available from the $260 million package shows that the government are only making 52,000 of the $5,000 grants available to the state's frustrated business community.

That represents just one in nine of Queensland's 465,000 businesses, or a spend of $559 per business to keep the engine room of the economy alive. This compares with the Queensland Government's $27.474 billion in employee expenses allocated to this year's 2021-22 budget for its public service, or around $117,000 for each of the 235,450 workforce.

The support package will be made available to eligible businesses all across the state and not just those located in South East Queensland, providing they can show they have experienced at least a 30% reduction in turnover as a result of the lockdown.

Grants will also be made available for large businesses in the hospitality and tourism sector operating in the 11 local government areas in the lockdown if they meet the eligibility criteria.

The Commonwealth Government has also made available a lump sum COVID-19 Disaster Payment of $750 for Queensland employees within the affected local government areas who lose over 20 hours during the week for the periods 1st to 7th August and 8th August as well as $450 for those who experience a loss of between 8 and 20 hours.

Local government areas subject to lockdown restrictions are: Brisbane City Council; Gold Coast City Council; Ipswich City Council; Lockyer Valley Regional Council; Logan City Council; Moreton Bay Regional Council; Noosa Shire Council; Redland City Council; Scenic Rim Regional Council; Somerset Regional Council; and, Sunshine Coast Regional Council.

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