Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled the government’s latest economic recovery scheme – JobMaker – on Tuesday, but small-to-medium enterprises say the program won’t help them keep their doors open.
“We are heading for a small business disaster,” Siimon Reynolds, founder of The Fortune Institute, told Yahoo Finance.
“The government has offered them temporary money, but that will run out fast.
“In biblical terms, the government is handing out fish, instead of teaching small business owners how to [catch] fish.”
Reynolds said what small businesses desperately needed was training on how to rebuild, or the government risks tens of thousands businesses biting the dust.
“Covid-19 will kill 1000 times more Australian businesses than it will kill people,” Reynolds said.
“We need to teach business owners how to survive and rebuild, not just give them some money.
“We need more than JobKeeper. We need 'Business Keeper'. We've got to have a program that teaches Aussie small business how to recover from the virus."
Founder of Kids Cooking Academy Richard Neale told Yahoo Finance that while JobKeeper has been helpful, and JobMaker might help people upskill and retrain, it doesn’t help business owners who want to keep their doors open.
“People who don’t really understand how your business runs keep saying we need to adapt and pivot and run online cooking classes but setting that up is no easy task and it costs money,” Neale said.
“JobKeeper has been helpful but it is only a bandaid solution. It would be great if I could have someone who has extensive business experience to bounce ideas off or help me look at the bigger picture.
“JobMaker will help people to upskill and retrain but it doesn’t really help business owners who want to keep their doors open.”
Jamie Gray, founder of Aussie travel company The Perfect Wave, said SMEs needed expert business advice.
“We had to stand down 100 staff globally just for the time being to ensure the company’s long term viability,” Gray said.
“It hasn’t been easy but I have been lucky to have access to an in house business coach. Expert business advice at a time like this is crucial for SMEs but so many can’t afford it.
“Having a business coach early on for us enabled our company to have the strategy and planning in place to ride out this unprecedented economic disruption.”
JobMaker slammed as ‘spine-chilling’
SMEs aren’t the only ones unhappy with the new scheme - deputy Labor leader Richard Marles said the industrial relations reform campaign sent "a chill down the spine".
“We welcome the shelving of the Ensuring Integrity Bill. Sure, it's a good thing to get people around the table,” he said.
"But I can tell you there's a lot more to industrial relations than simply booking the room."
Marles said there was “a lot unsaid” about the reform plan, and called on the Prime Minister to be clear on what award simplification actually meant.
His comments came amid calls it could be construed as a new version of the Howard government’s WorkChoices program, which was widely unpopular.
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