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RATES KNOCKBACK NOT SO SWEET

Tags: Light Electorate / Local Business / Shadow Ministry

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  • By Light Electoral Office
  • May 14, 2020
RATES KNOCKBACK NOT SO SWEET

 

Gawler Sweets Owner, Mr Mario Caruana, with local MP Tony Piccolo seeking support from the Gawler Council to help him get back on his feet.

 

Local small businesses forced to close their doors because of the impact of the COVID 19 crisis have backed moves by local Member of Parliament, Mr Tony Piccolo to introduce laws to force councils to provide them with rate relief.

Last Thursday Mr Piccolo put forward the Local Government (Public Health Emergency) (Rate Relief) Amendment Bill 2020, in State Parliament which would see council rates waived for local businesses and not-for-profit organisations forced to close in the wake of the health crisis.

Mr Piccolo said the purpose of the Bill is to give small businesses that have closed down the best opportunity to get back on their feet and reopen their doors once the crisis is over.

“Rate deferrals, the waiving of late payment fines and the like, are helpful but not enough, as they will have other debts, and they will need the money to restart their businesses.

The move to introduce the Bill was blocked by all members of the Marshall Liberal Government, as it was considered “not urgent” enough to warrant its introduction and debate on the day.

A frustrated Mr Piccolo said that small businesses are hurting now, as are their workers and local communities, so relief is urgently needed.

“It is no secret that small businesses in our state are hurting,” Mr Piccolo stated in Parliament when discussing the Bill.

“As a result, people are losing their jobs and incomes. Local communities are hurting as well.”

State Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas stressed that consistency across local councils with regard to the enforcement of rates is required.

“If we can ensure more businesses survive and more jobs are protected, we will emerge out of this downturn in stronger shape,” Mr Malinauskas said.

Gawler Sweets on Murray Street is one such small business in turmoil.

Potential high sales from the Easter weekend and the 2020 Gawler Show have melted away due to the virus outbreak.

Owner Mario Caruana has contacted Gawler Council seeking rate relief during the crisis.

He would also like to see a post COVID-19 strategy from the Council to help revive local business.

Mr Caruana said the Federal and State Governments have stepped in with some real assistance, so it is now up to Council to do their bit if they don’t want a main street full of empty shops.

The Bill is the latest in a series of initiatives by the State Opposition to relieve the burden placed on South Australians due to the outbreak of COVID-19, such as establishing support funds for impacted businesses and supporting those who do not qualify for JobKeeper payments.

 

 

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