Empowering Birth Journeys owner Bec Fagan is a registered Midwife Calmbirth Educator and if focused in assisting local couples to create the most positive and nurturing environment through birth and afterwards.
Empowering Birth Journeys owner Bec Fagan is a registered Midwife Calmbirth Educator and if focused in assisting local couples to create the most positive and nurturing environment through birth and afterwards.

'It's insane': Small business owners ask for help

LISMORE business owner Maire Joy Barron has been left feeling "lost, confused and overwhelmed" trying to access Government support to keep her company afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Along with many other businesses, Ms Barron was forced to shut the doors of Northern Rivers Stained Glass when the Prime Minister announced all non-essential business must close last month.

Upon hearing of the Federal Government's economic stimulus package, including measures of $213.6 billion from the commonwealth, $11.8 billion from the states and $105 billion in RBA-government lending, Ms Barron looked into accessing support.

This included an assistance package announced by the NSW Government for small business offering $750 million in grants for up to 75,000 businesses hit by the COVID-19 restrictions.

It further included the JobKeeper payment, cash flow support for small and medium businesses, temporary relief for financially distressed businesses and Increasing the instant asset write-off assistance.

"My customers dwindled down to zilch almost instantly and I was forced to cancel all workshops which is about a third of my income," Ms Barron said.

"I had to lay off my contractor and trainee instantly.

 

Northern Rivers Stained Glass co-owner Maire Joy Barron in happier times, with her sculptures that will form part of the '31 Days of Yoni' exhibition in March 2020 in the spirit of international Women’s Day.
Northern Rivers Stained Glass co-owner Maire Joy Barron in happier times, with her sculptures that will form part of the '31 Days of Yoni' exhibition in March 2020 in the spirit of international Women’s Day.

She said the Government needed a clearer process for business owner who needed financial support.

"It's too tricky.

"I have rung the tax office and been onto government websites to try and understand this process.

"I know there is a $10,000 grant and I can't find it online. I thought because I was sole trader I thought I'd eligible for the job keeper payment.

"It's kind of a little insane when you've lost three quarters of your income. Letting go of my contractor, trainee, dealing with rent and loss of wages, it's been very stressful. There needs to be an information hub, where you ring up, explain your story and they point you in the right direction," she said.

Empowering Birth Journeys wellness centre owner Rebecca Fagan echoed Ms Barron's concerns having difficulty accessing financial support

"After two months of being open we had to close our doors and are now running online platforms," Ms Fagan said.

"It just seems that if a business isn't earning over $75,000 or can't prove that their businesses hasn't dropped by 30 per cent then that support doesn't seem available.

"It's really tricky."

She said she'd like to see more support geared towards new business owners particularly just to cover rent so owners could keep their commercial space, to keep momentum and reopen when they can.

The Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has been approached for comment.

For information on the Commonwealth's support for business head to:

https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/businesses.



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