A new ‘Hardship Review Panel’ established in New South Wales to consider financial support for businesses that did not quality for existing COVID-19 assistance measures has been welcomed by the state’s peak business organisation.
The panel will assess, on a case-by-case basis, businesses which did not meet the eligibility requirements for the 2021 COVID-19 Business Grant, Micro-business Grant and JobSaver payments.
It will consider a broad range of factors in determining whether a business has experienced financial hardship, with the Chief Commissioner of Revenue NSW to be ultimately responsible and make the final determination for applications.
Factors that the hardship panel will consider include whether the business is an employer, in a highly impacted industry, in a local government area (LGA) of concern or has unavoidable costs for which no other support is available.
Businesses will be back-paid to the fortnight where they can demonstrate the required decline in turnover with the Panel. Hardship applications for JobSaver are now open with hardship COVID business grants and Microbusiness grants to open later this month.
Minister for Finance and Small Business Damien Tudehope said the Review Panel would help those businesses experiencing genuine financial hardship that were previously ineligible for support payments and grants.
“COVID-19 has affected so many businesses in NSW and even though we have a number of support measures in place, there are still some businesses under severe financial strain that aren’t eligible for assistance for a number of reasons. We want to plug that gap as much as we can,” Tudehope said.
Business NSW chief executive Daniel Hunter said the Panel is an important initiative and one the organisation is “more than happy to support”.
“There is concern amongst the business community that some may ‘fall through the cracks’ when it comes to the support packages,” Hunter said
“Establishing a panel to assess each case that doesn’t automatically fit the criteria gives business the confidence to put their case forward.
“The pandemic has shown that different industries have been impacted in different ways, and different parts of the state have been impacted at different times.”
Updated at 12.27pm AEDT on 7 October 2021.
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