• Hunter Business Chamber

Chamber urges stimulus recipients to spend locally

The Hunter Business Chamber has welcomed the Federal Government’s economic response to coronavirus and urged those who will receive payments, incentives or cash flow assistance from the stimulus package to invest within the region where possible.

The Government today announced a $17.6 billion economic stimulus package that included $750 household stimulus payments, wage subsidies for apprentices and trainees, cash flow support of up to $25,000 for business through tax concessions, and incentives to invest in business equipment through an increase in the instant asset write-off threshold.

“We are pleased to see measures that will encourage business to continue spending and supporting their employees through the impending crisis,” Hunter Business Chamber CEO Bob Hawes said.

“To ensure the benefits of these payments and incentives flow to our local economies, I urge people to look to regional retailers and suppliers first when spending on household goods or investing in new business equipment.

“It is really important in these challenging times that we all do what we can to sustain local businesses. Many of our local economies are already reeling from the impact of drought and bushfire and need our support to trade through the coronavirus threat.

“Even if you are at home and shopping on the internet, try to look for a local retailer before you go to one of the big online platforms.”

Mr Hawes commended the inclusion of wage subsidies of up to $21,000 for employers of apprentices and trainees, saying the measure would help keep young people in work and ensure the pipeline of skilled workers required by our region was not interrupted.

The relaxation of the waiting period for the government-funded ‘sickness payment’ would take some pressure off employers of casuals who were unable to work because of illness or exposure to the virus.

“We encourage all employers to support their employees where they can but we also recognise that some small businesses that rely heavily on casuals may not have the financial resources to continue paying multiple staff members who are unable to work over a sustained period,” Mr Hawes said.

“The stimulus package is a good initial response to what is a fast-moving and very uncertain economic situation and we look forward to continuing to work with government to support business as this challenging period unfolds.”

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