Small businesses in Queensland can now apply for grants worth up to $10,000 to help soften the blow from COVID-19.
The $100 million program comes as Queensland announces a raft of stimulus initiatives that will go toward community developments, the tourism industry, community legal services and roadworks.
Queensland's grants have been developed to assist those small businesses forced into hibernation to restructure or to significantly change their operations, including assistance with moving online.
"Small businesses represent 97 per cent of all businesses and employ over 970,000 people or 45 per cent of the State's private sector workforce," says Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
"We know small businesses have been doing it really tough due to the pandemic.
"With the first stage of our recovery roadmap in place, we want to make sure our thousands of small businesses have the support they need to recover and keep Queenslanders in jobs."
Queensland Minister for Employment and Small Business Shannon Fentiman says the new grants can be used to help pay for financial, legal or other professional advice, marketing and communications activities and digital or technology strategy development.
The grants can also be used to buy specialised digital equipment or business-specific software to move businesses online.
"Many events, workplaces, classes and sales have moved online and small businesses need to make sure they have the tools and resources to be competitive in these challenging times," says Fentiman.
"We also realise that businesses may not currently have the financial resources to co-fund, so we won't require matched funding which will better support our local businesses."
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) has welcomed the grant scheme, saying it will provide some much-needed immediate cash support to Queensland's small businesses.
"We have been calling on the Government to provide grants and are very pleased to see their support given to businesses through these funds," CQIC general manager of advocacy and policy Amanda Rohan said.
"There is no denying how hard it is for business at the moment, and these cash grants will be a provide an opportunity for them to invest and look at ways to keep operating.
"Our small business sector is vital to Queensland's economy."
For information on how to apply and eligibility, visit www.business.qld.gov.au.
Queensland economic recovery plan revealed
The new small business grants form the Queensland Government's economic recovery strategy called Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs.
In addition to the $100 million small business grants, the Queensland Government will deliver assistance to a range of industries including:
- $50 million for the tourism industry
- $200 million for local community projects (including new, upgraded or refurbished public amenities)
- $119 million for community legal services
- $400 million for roadwork projects
- $50 million for essential medical supplies manufacturing
"The way we have united in the face of an immense and unprecedented challenge has been extraordinary, and all Queenslanders have done a mighty job in beating what just 11 weeks ago were daunting odds," the Premier said.
"The patient has been stabilised, so now it's time to start down the road to recovery and recuperation.
"The package of measures I am announcing today focuses on building the infrastructure we need for the future and accelerating construction projects to protect jobs now."
Updated at 11:37am AEST on 19 May 2020.
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