More Support for Business

22 July 2021| Frank Ziovas | Our View


Yesterday i received a letter from Paul Guerra.


After reading this carefully, for an organisation that states to help and support business growth is sure pushing the party line.


One of his statements My message is simple: if you can get vaccinated, then please do. Many businesses have different incentives in place to encourage vaccination of their staff, ranging from additional days of leave, through to half a day of paid leave to get your vaccination.


This coercion coming from a the CEO of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry


In my opinion this is not an email that shows the VCCI are fighting for small business rather an email of coercion which is telling all small business if you want to open get the shot! Yet big business is open - for example Big W, K-Mart ect. I wonder why that is?


Dear Frank,


Unfortunately, five days has turned into 12 days for Lockdown Five, right off the back of Lockdown Four. As difficult as the news was to hear this week, I don’t think it came as a surprise to most of us, given the stated desire to get to zero cases in the community.


I think we all understand the decisions that are made to protect the public health, but we can’t keep expecting business to shoulder the costs. As you will have heard me say this week in the media, business owners have exhausted their financial and emotional reserves, and they need help quickly. If the Government needs us to stop our business operating to stop the virus spread, then it’s only right that those businesses are compensated accordingly. You may be interested in an editorial in The Australian today which included my view on this in their piece.


I have been in conversation with various State and Federal Government leaders to make the point. We have seen some money flow to business and workers from both the Victorian Premier and Federal Treasurer, and we desperately needed to see more if we want to see business survive. The feedback from the survey we sent out last week on government financial assistance was very useful in framing my conversations and I’m appreciative of those of you that took the time to respond.


It was pleasing to see the announcement today on the extension and expansion of the package of grants available for Victorian businesses, and we are in discussion about further support. Please head to our website to read more about this additional support and how we can help you to secure it.


The Chamber will continue to advocate for impacted businesses not currently eligible under the various ANZSIC business sector codes to get the support that they so desperately need. As we’ve said time and again, the best support we can give business is to enable them to operate. So, let’s get through the next few days, keep the case numbers under control and then the Government should allow business to snap back to pre-lockdown settings.


It’s quite incredible that Victoria, South Australia and parts of NSW are in lockdown - some 17 million people impacted! The only way forward that I can see is vaccination. My message is simple: if you can get vaccinated, then please do. Many businesses have different incentives in place to encourage vaccination of their staff, ranging from additional days of leave, through to half a day of paid leave to get your vaccination. I’d be interested to hear what your business may be doing to encourage vaccination of your staff - please email our policy team.

I know the mental health toll is building. I have spoken to numerous business leaders this week about what they are seeing. It’s certainly good we are talking about it, but it’s very sobering to hear about it. I have no doubt we will need to remain acutely aware of it and have appropriate supports in place for every business and our workers.


Good luck with the week ahead. It’s incredibly tough. I understand some of you are also completing a 14-day isolation, which I know from experience is not fun. Let’s get through as best we can, and rest assured the Victorian Chamber will continue to do what we can to work with Governments on your behalf to help ease the financial burden and make a path to re-open safely and quickly again.


Lastly, a shout-out to our valued member VRC with Flemington Racecourse placing second in a ranking of the world’s best horse racetracks by UK business Holland’s Country Clothing! No other Australian racecourse made the top 20, and I am sure you are as excited as me to hopefully return to Flemington for the Melbourne Cup carnival this year once we leave lockdown. Congratulations to Chairman Neil Wilson and CEO Steve Rosich and their teams for a job well done.


Please take care in the week ahead.