This morning the Government announced a range of new support measures for small and medium sized businesses, including a $3.1b tax relief package.

With many local businesses looking down the barrel of a loss this year, the proposed ‘tax loss carry-back scheme’ would allow businesses to access their previous tax payments as cash refunds.

This could make a significant difference for small businesses. Freeing up cashflow may help some of those that are currently vulnerable, but still viable, get through the current crisis.

The Government has also allocated $25m towards business consultancy support, part of which will go towards supporting businesses through the national Regional Business Partner Network (RBP).

As the West Coast partner for the RBP network, DWC is busy helping businesses access tailored specialist support related to things like business continuity planning, finance and cashflow management, HR and staffing issues, and health and wellness.

Since the lockdown started, we have been working directly with over 240 local businesses to make sure they are accessing the different forms of support available. Our staff are still busy reaching out to help more businesses.

As we prepare to enter our fourth week in lockdown, we are also thinking ahead to what a recovery from the COVID-19 crisis might look like for the West Coast.

With border restrictions and controls likely to be in place for some time to come, the impact of COVID-19 could, in some respects, reshape our regional economy.

We are working closely with key stakeholders on a number of initiatives to help the West Coast economy prepare for its eventual rebound.

The Prime Minister has stated that we won’t be moving out of Alert Level 4 early. Cabinet will make its decision on 20 April on what the next steps will be.

A shift down to Alert Level 3 will still present significant restrictions though. On Thursday, the PM will provide more details on what this will look like for businesses.

Businesses should be using this time to prepare for a possible reopening under different scenarios. This could include looking at whether you can work with social distancing, can the Ministry of Health contact trace all your employees and customers and will you need any PPE.

The impact of the lockdown has caused significant issues for many in our business community. So now is also the time for businesses to make sure they are utilising all available support.

There are various forms of assistance available to help Coast businesses – whether through DWC itself, our partner organisations, the banks and the Government.

Thank-you to all who have contacted us, and we encourage you to continue reaching out for support and to keep us updated on your situation, so we can continue advocating for you.

Media Release: 15 April 2020