Member for Morwell Russell Northe wishes to advise local sole traders that the Victorian Governments Sole Trader Support Fund is now open for application.
The Sole Trader Support Fund provides up to $3,000 to assist eligible businesses with overhead costs during what has been an extraordinarily challenging time financially and emotionally.
Mr Northe said he still had concerns with respect to the eligibility criteria of this Fund, and also the exclusion of sole traders from the Governments previous funding programs.
“I have had so many sole traders contact me over recent weeks and months so upset at their exclusion from the Governments Business Support Fund, and when we received the news the Government was establishing a fund dedicated to supporting sole traders there was much rejoicing”, Mr Northe said.
“However, when the detail was revealed it came to light that many sole traders would miss out under this program as well given it only applies to businesses operating out of commercial premises”, Mr Northe continued.
“There are many businesses structured as sole traders who for varying reasons don’t operate out of a commercial premise but still have significant costs and overheads to contend with, yet they are eligible under this program which just does not make sense”, Mr Northe said.
“The Government one the one hand has imposed restrictions that have effectively shut down many operations during the COVID pandemic, yet on the other hand many businesses have been excluded from receiving Government support and its little wonder many are aggrieved”, said Mr Northe.
“Whilst I am pleased some sole traders will be recognised for support through this fund, others will miss out and this seems grossly unfair. It is also important to note that funding available for sole traders falls well short of what is available for other businesses under other Government programs which is disappointing”, Mr Northe said.
“Any financial support for the business community at these times is welcomed from all levels of Government, but the inconsistency that applies in relation to sole traders is something that so many local business owners continue to raise with me”, Mr Northe concluded.
For further information on the Sole Trader Support Fun and how to apply please see the website below: https://www.business.vic.gov.au/support-for-your-business/grants-and-assistance/business-resilience-package/sole-trader-support-fund