JobKeeper stimulus end raises fears business still needs support
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At the end of September, many government COVID-19 stimulus measures will end and there is concern that business may still need support.
The Morrison government has ruled out extending broad schemes such as JobKeeper and JobSeeker beyond this date. Nevertheless, it has been open to helping individual sectors still in need.
But even if demand returns, the post-COVID economy will be different to the one that preceded it.
Accounting bodies CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia said businesses need to start preparing for the September cutoff.
While 59 per cent of small business sought external advice, the accounting bodies are urging others to do the same.
“Business owners must now start considering how they will operate after the financial lifeline provided by the government ends,” they said in a joint statement.
“For most this will mean recovery in some form, but for others it might mean business closure and it is far better for the owner, employees and the broader economy to take action early.”
CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia called on the government to consider helping small businesses obtain professional advice through a voucher system.
“With cash flow tight, many businesses may not seek out advice, imperilling their future,” they said.
“Government support for business to engage professional advisers will enable innovation and new practices, allowing businesses to regain their momentum and look to the future.
“To encourage small businesses to ask for much-needed help, we propose the government provide them with a voucher that they can redeem for professional advice.”
The late September deadline is being described as a fiscal cliff in the sense that the economy could suffer damage that had merely been delayed by stimulus measures.
Speaking with Stockhead, David Bailey, CEO of mortgage aggregator Australian Finance Group (ASX:AFG), said while in some respects life was getting back to normal, uncertainty (particularly in Victoria) remained.
“Most lenders are concerned as to what happens after September 30,” he said.
“It does feel as if there are areas which need to continue to be supported.
“But I live in Perth and they’re talking about 60,000 people being in Optus Stadium in two weeks time, so that’s quite incredible from where we were at the beginning of March.
“So it feels as if parts of the economy are returning and the feedback we’re getting from brokers is that they’re getting work again and things are getting back on track.”
But Bailey said there was still some level of uncertainty particularly in the small business sector which could have flow on effect.
When asked about his stance on the voucher system idea floated by CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia, Bailey said he supported it.
“I think any small business that needs help should be able access that help. It sounds like a good idea,” he said.