Queensland Government media release
The Queensland Government is increasing its efforts to help small business during the COVID-19 pandemic by partnering with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) to deliver widespread assistance throughout the state.
Minister for Employment and Small Business Shannon Fentiman said additional services would be available over the next three months for small businesses that are in desperate need.
“We know our Queensland businesses are doing it tough right now and we need to support them during this crisis to keep working and be able to keep on staff,” Ms Fentiman said.
“Our small business hotline has seen unprecedented levels of calls and CCIQ’s business support line has also been inundated with calls from businesses seeking assistance.
“We are supporting CCIQ with $360,000 to run a proactive outreach to small businesses and expand the capacity of their call centre because we know businesses need support more than ever.”
“Not only will they be able to provide personalised and professional business advice, but they will offer the assistance needed during this time as we know mental health is also a key concern.”
“The focus will be in the regions where fewer businesses have access to high-level employer advice,” she said.
“This is in addition to our $2.5 billion package for small businesses announced this week.
“Keeping people in jobs is our priority during this outbreak. That’s why we are partnering with CCIQ, a trusted and respected source of advice and support for small business.
“We have responded swiftly to the request from CCIQ to join their efforts to provide support and advice to thousands of small businesses.”
The State Government’s financial support will enable CCIQ to undertake proactive support to non-members to provide information on:
- ensuring staff entitlements
- managing staff working from home or remotely
- managing workplace hygiene (workplace health and safety)
- managing staff leave
- managing cyber security issues
- managing redundancy
- managing business closures
- quarantine measures
- general advice on National Employment Standards, Modern Awards and the Fair Work Act
- free employee guides and templates.
CCIQ CEO Stephen Tait said more than 400 new businesses had registered with the Chamber in the last 10 days and hundreds more had called them seeking advice and assistance to prevent staff from being let go and business closures.
“We are hearing from businesses daily who are needing to make hard decisions regarding their business and staff. Due to the immediacy of restrictions and changes, many are unsure of what to do.
“Our dedicated team of HR and IR experts are working extremely hard to respond to an enormous amount of calls providing that first line of advice and practical support to help guide them through.
“This additional support from the Minister Fentiman will enable us to continue supporting as many business as possible during this terribly rough time.
“More than 3500 small businesses have contacted the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training for advice,” Ms Fentiman said
“We have already announced businesses affected by the coronavirus can apply for a relief package to defer lodging and paying payroll tax returns until 31 July 2020.
“And just last week the Treasurer announced $500 million was available in interest free loans of up to $250,000 to support businesses to keep Queenslanders in work.
“The need for assistance escalates each day with increasing numbers of businesses reaching out for help.”
For Queensland Government information and support click here, or contact the Small Business Hotline on 1300 654 687.