‘Must be applauded’: What the wage stimulus means for Bowen

BUSINESSES in the region are hopeful they will benefit from the government’s latest stimulus package, an incentive that the Bowen Chamber of Commerce president Bruce Hedditch said should be “applauded”.

The Federal Government’s $130 billion wage stimulus will see some businesses in the region receive a fortnightly wage subsidy up to $1500 per employee to minimise job losses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Announced overnight, businesses in the region are hopeful they may be eligible for the scheme and could be able to keep their staff on the books.

Bowen Chamber of Commerce chairman Bruce Hedditch said businesses in the region would find it difficult to bounce back from the pandemic and must take advantage of any assistance the government offers.

“The Bowen business community will have difficulties returning from the COVID-19 impact,” he said.

“So we must use the incentives, support the local business community and seek infrastructure spending for our area.”

Mr Hedditch said during the difficult time it was important for businesses to return to normal trading to support the local economy and said the “excellent policy” may allow them to do just that.

“The initiatives being offered by the Federal Government to support the business community must be applauded,” he said.

“The latest package of offering wage subsidies to employers is an excellent policy designed to ensure businesses can return to normal trading knowing they have trained and experienced staff.

“I strongly urge all business owners to take advantage of these incentives but to also consider other programs as well.”

Le Sorelle The Sisters Coffee House owner Alex Sinclair said the government packages would allow them to keep people in jobs, but the uncertainty of the future still left a question mark over whether it would be viable to stay open.

Mrs Sinclair said the running costs and perishable nature of the food meant that if people weren’t visiting they may not be able to justify staying open.

“One hundred per cent, it will allow us to keep people in a job,” she said.

“The issue is the food going to waste, electricity costs and running costs in staying open.”

Mrs Sinclair said while they still had customers they would be staying open, and with more staff on they would be able to invest more time in new offerings, including their delivery service.

Collinsville Workers Club manager Carly Grittner said they had stood down 18 workers temporarily and will reinstate them as soon as they are able to, which could be soon with the new government wage assistance.

“If it works the way it’s predicted to, we could reinstate people sooner,” she said.

“As long as we are eligible, and our staff are eligible we’ll apply.

“Even if there’s not much work for them to do here, as long as they are getting a wage it will benefit the Collinsville community and keep the cash flowing in the town.”

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