Damien Martoo says many South Burnett businesses missed out on a share of the State Government’s $100 million grant package announced for small businesses.
Damien Martoo says many South Burnett businesses missed out on a share of the State Government’s $100 million grant package announced for small businesses.

Burnett businesses miss out on share in $100M funding

KINGAROY Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Damien Martoo said the decision to make a $100 million grant scheme for small business a “first in, best-dressed process” was not good enough after many in the region missed out on applying for them.

Mr Martoo said the grants worth up to $10,000, offered to help businesses feeling the effects of the coronavirus crisis, would have been a real game changer for local businesses that had been battling the repercussions of drought, and now coronavirus restrictions.

“While the announcement of the grants were very welcome by the business community to pivot, diversify and thrive, the first in, best-dressed structure was never going to work for small and micro, mum and dad businesses who are continuing to juggle chainsaws during these times, just to stay open,” Mr Martoo said.

“Let’s put some real investment into the real regions.

“Real grants for small business that are awarded on each individual applications merit.

“Real funding to build transport corridors from the food bowls to ports and airports.

“Real funding for water infrastructure to give greater diversification in the agriculture sector.”

Minister for Employment and Small Business Shannon Fentiman said her department was overwhelmed by applications for the latest round of small businesses grants.

“We know businesses are doing it tough right now and that’s why the Premier announced almost $100 million in grants of up to $10,000 to support our small businesses,” Ms Fentiman said.

“The department was overwhelmed with applications and even though they are closed for new applications, we have a team working through applications to get much-needed funds into the back accounts of businesses as quickly as possible.”

The package was announced last Tuesday as part of Queensland’s Economic Recovery Strategy to Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs plan.

Within less than a week, Ms Fentiman said the applications had closed when funding had been exhausted.

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Grants to help struggling groups impacted by virus

Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington said support for small businesses, including those in the South Burnett, by the State Government during the coronavirus restrictions had been nothing but a debacle.

“While most other states introduced emergency grants for small business almost straight away, it took until May 19 before the Palaszcsuk government to acknowledge grants were needed,” Ms Frecklington said.

“And this was only due to sustained pressure from the LNP and groups like the Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“Less than one week later these grants are already closed.

“Many were still working with their accountant, or getting their figures sorted before they even had a chance to submit their application. It is completely unacceptable.

“There are more than 438,000 small businesses in Queensland, including thousands right here in the South Burnett, and the majority have not been able to access this support.

“I’ve been speaking with the Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce who are rightly concerned that our local businesses have missed out.”

Ms Fentiman said the Premier had said the government would consider additional assistance for small businesses and was urgently looking at what further assistance it could provide.

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