Associations welcome lockdown support

Peak industry and printing associations have shared their thoughts on the expanded COVID-19 disaster payments and business support initiatives saying that the support is welcome but further details on the criteria are necessary.

The Real Media Collective (TRMC) CEO Kellie Northwood

The Real Media Collective (TRMC) CEO Kellie Northwood said the joint Commonwealth and NSW Government business support is welcomed. She added the initial notice indicates the support for business is appropriate; however, the official release of the criteria will outline factors including the eligibility period.

“The eligibility period is currently communicated as being equivalent to two weeks in 2019, for the decline percentages to be applied,” she said.

“The current notices of 30 per cent to 50 per cent to 70 per cent business declines is welcomed as tiered support, as well as the application to 2019 and not 2020 periods. However, we look to options for reoccurrence, small business grants extension, payroll tax relief and other tax exemptions currently being reviewed.

“Over 70 per cent of our members are small businesses and this is critical for their survival during lockdowns and restrictions such as those being applied.

“Whilst printers are able to work as essential service supply chain providers, our industry has experienced significant downturn since the original lockdown was announced in Sydney and this will only continue with the expected lockdown extensions.”

The Real Media Collective general manager of industry relations, policy and governance Charles Watson

TRMC general manager of IR, policy and governance Charles Watson mentioned the full list of grants the industry can take advantage of.

“In all, you have the expanded NSW business grant and you now have got that federal and state business support payments programme. You’ve also got the disaster payments expanded to cover the weekly wage to individuals who have lost hours,” he said.

“So, if you are a business in NSW you have to go through Services NSW and if you are an individual effected, you go through Services Australia.”

TRMC has issued a notice to NSW members highlighting the key advice regarding the announcement and is preparing an industry specific Business Support Package Report – NSW for businesses to prepare for applications to be lodged on 19 July.

Print & Visual Communication Association president Walter Kuhn

Print & Visual Communications Association president Walter Kuhn said the disaster support will not only fuel the printing industry but also the other industries that print relies upon.

“When a lockdown happens, it not only impacts our industry, but our marketplace – which is made of customers from other industries like tourism, hospitality and retail. When a lockdown happens, print may still run as an essential service, but these other industries get shut down,” he said.

“A lot of people forget that. We need to remember where our customer bases are and when they’re affected, how that’s going to affect us. So, we need the financial support in that respect.”

He also said that the support should have come sooner and that the governments need to ensure that lockdowns do not happen again in future.

“From an industry point of view, the federal government is finally putting money into the economy and businesses to ensure that staff stay on board. It’s just a shame that it didn’t come sooner, for when Victoria was in lockdown,” he said.

“Victoria went through a long lockdown period and our industry was deeply affected when that happened.

Kuhn also explained that further support is necessary in terms of ‘hand-ups’ instead of ‘hand-outs’.

“The federal and state governments need to take the necessary steps to ensure that we don’t go into lockdowns – which would mean that they need to be proactive instead of being reactive and giving out small handouts here and there.

“The state government should also be creating a local purchasing policy so that all print matter is purchased locally, which would increase the volume of work that gets done in the state.

“The Federal government should take that same policy and procedure and make it so that all print is produced in Australia. The amount of work that’s being sent overseas would equate to about 1500 jobs within Australia.”

Ai Group chief executive officer Innes Willox

Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox said the lockdown support measures will help maintain the health of the local economy.

“Ai Group welcomes the federal government support being provided to businesses and employees affected by lockdown measures. Insulating those worst affected by longer lockdowns will not only help put a cap on the impacts on individuals and businesses, it will help maintain the overall health of the economy,” Willox said.

“We look forward to working closely with the federal and NSW governments to ensure the support measures are as effective as possible.

“The measures announced also provide some comfort to businesses around the country that federal support measures will be in place if other states also enforce long lockdowns on their communities.

“Lockdowns have both immediate and prolonged economic impacts on the economy, hitting business and consumer confidence, spending and investment.”

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