CPA Australia has now written to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to warn of the “disastrous consequences” to businesses that will ensue in light of his government’s plan to follow a staged plan to wind back its tight COVID-19 restrictions.
Under the roadmap, most Melbourne businesses — including accounting and bookkeeping practices — will not be permitted to reopen until 26 October, on the condition that average state-wide cases fall under five for the previous 14 days.
Moving to the last step, where all industries will be allowed to reopen under some form of restriction, will only happen from 23 November if the state records no new cases for the previous fortnight.
To cushion the impact of the reopening plan, CPA Australia has called on Mr Andrews to increase the Business Support Fund Expansion grant from $10,000 to $15,000 for all businesses in metropolitan Melbourne, and from $5,000 to $7,500 for all businesses in regional Victoria.
The professional association has also called for the grant to include non-employing sole traders, and for an extension of the 14 September application closing date to two weeks after the third step reopening date.
The government has also been urged to extend the payroll tax waiver for businesses with annual taxable wages of up to $3 million until 31 December, and introduce a small-business concessional loan similar to the bushfire concessional loans for small businesses.
CPA Australia, headquartered in Melbourne, has also called on Mr Andrews to engage more frequently with business leaders and experts to inform its economic recovery plans.
“Tax professionals and business advisers have been working tirelessly at the coalface for several months, providing critical support to business to ensure that government stimulus is effectively implemented,” CPA Australia said.
“Many of these professionals and advisers work in accounting firms that are themselves small businesses and are seeing first-hand the shocking impacts the ongoing lockdown is having on business, and the personal toll, including significant mental health issues.
“CPA Australia urges the government to consult frequently with business and professional organisations to better understand the impact the crisis is having on small businesses and those who advise them.”
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.