FAIR GO: Government accused of ‘playing favourites’
THE plight of Northern Rivers businesses during the coronavirus pandemic has been ignored according to the NSW opposition, who say the Government is “playing favourites”.
Lismore MP Janelle Saffin is demanding a fair go for businesses near the Queensland and South Australian borders after the Deputy Premier John Barilaro announced a $45 million program to help ‘cushion the economic impacts’ of the border closure with Victoria.
The Southern Border Small Business Support Grant was announced on August 22, to enable businesses in 13 local government areas along the NSW/Victorian border to apply for $5000 and $10,000 grants through Service NSW.
The Labor Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin asked Mr Barilaro for a similar program to help small businesses affected by the Queensland border closure.
“Businesses on the North Coast and Northern Tablelands are struggling,” Ms Saffin said. “First drought. Then bushfires and now border restrictions. The NSW Government must intervene to help them survive.”
Ms Saffin said a grant program to support small businesses impacted by the border closure would help prop up the economy, keep businesses open and people employed.
Yesterday, Tweed councillor James Owen wrote to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to request the Northern Border Small Business Support Grant to be implemented urgently.
The Shadow Minister the North Coast, Adam Searle MP said John Barilaro is “playing favourites”.
“Border communities are struggling and not just near Victoria. How can the Government extend a helping hand to businesses around Albury while ignoring the plight of border towns to the north and west?”
The Shadow Minister Western NSW, Mick Veitch, said Broken Hill and the councils of western NSW should not be forgotten.
“Their small business operators are doing it tough because of issues related to the South Australian border.”
“I call on the Deputy Premier to extend financial support to the people on that border. We welcome any constructive assistance the Government can provide. But if this program is good enough for one community – why not extend it to other regions that are struggling?’ Mr Veitch said.