Call for business help in coronavirus wake

Call for quick roll out of incentives to help business impacted by coronavirus

National News
Urgent assistance: Federal Member for Whitlam Stephen Jones is calling on the Government to deliver business incentives sooner rather than later to help local economies impacts by the coronavirus. Picture: Greg Ellis.

Urgent assistance: Federal Member for Whitlam Stephen Jones is calling on the Government to deliver business incentives sooner rather than later to help local economies impacts by the coronavirus. Picture: Greg Ellis.

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Coronavirus impact means business stimulus urgently needed.

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While there were no confirmed cases of coronavirus on the NSW South Coast on Tuesday afternoon, businesses operating in many sectors were being economically affected and needed immediate help, according to Whitlam MP Stephen Jones.

While the total impact won't be known for some time Mr Jones said assistance for business was already urgent.

"There is going to be an impact. The only debate among economists now is whether it is going to be one or two quarters of negative growth," Mr Jones said.

"The role of the government in situations like this is to help businesses keep their doors open and their staff employed".

Mr Jones said there were a couple of thing that could be done straight away.

"We (Labor) have been advocating investment incentives, which is an accelerated depreciation on any capital equipment purchased," he said.

"Which is an instant cash-back from the tax office on the investment that was made.

"Hopefully that will encourage businesses to bring forward some investment.

"The last National Accounts figures show that business investment over the last five years has dropped by 20 per cent. So there is a big need to re-tool."

Mr Jones said incentives to help staff re-skill were also important. What he doesn't see coming from the Government at the moment are measures to boost overall demand in the economy.

He thinks the Government will end up doing two waves of intervention. The first is expected to be announced on Wednesday. The second is likely to occur once the Government reflects on how the first wave has gone.

Mr Jones said what he presently doesn't see coming from the Government are measures to boost overall demand in the economy.

"During the GFC direct payments to households were us ed. We are urging the government not to wait. The longer you wait the harder it is to turn things around".

Mr Jones said the Government was meeting with the ACTU on Tuesday to look at what measures were needed to help casual employees impacted by the coronavirus.

"That is absolutely critical," he said.

Such measures will also help health strategies succeed because casual employees won't be tempted to turn up to work when they are sick because they are afraid they will lose their job or won't be able to pay the rent".

He would also like to see the Government take measures to bring forward planned infrastructure spending such as further upgrades to Picton Rd, Appin Rd and the Princes Hwy.

Mr Jones said another way to introduce an immediate stimulus is going to local council projects that are shovel ready.

That will immediately help get jobs and money moving in local economies affected by fires and coronavirus.

Mr Jones said many businesses and communities in the region have already been smashed by devastating fires. He encouraged people who were cancelling plans to go overseas to come to the South Coast.

Illawarra Mercury

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