Australia’s largest professional accounting body CPA Australia is calling on the federal government to develop a strategy that prevents small businesses from experiencing “a hard landing” once business support measures stop flowing after lockdowns.
CPA Australia has put forward a five-point strategy to help small and medium businesses in the weeks after a coronavirus lockdown, including continued financial support for SMEs based on their decline in turnover and a deferral of federal and state or territory tax collection.
Andrew Hunter, CPA Australia chief executive, said new national arrangements on COVID-19 business supports are a positive development, but the missing piece is what happens once a lockdown ends.
“The impact on businesses doesn’t stop the moment a government calls time on a lockdown. If support is withdrawn immediately, many businesses may experience a damaging hard landing,” he said.
CPA Australia’s proposal involves Commonwealth and state or territory support for small to medium enterprises, including:
- Tapered support for SMEs with eligibility based on decline in turnover;
- Deferral of commonwealth and state or territory SME revenue collection;
- A moratorium on commonwealth and state compliance activity, such as ATO debt collection;
- Consumer incentives, such as dining, travel and accommodation vouchers; and
- Financial assistance for businesses to seek professional advice.
Hunter said he has participated in hundreds of discussions with governments, industry and members since the pandemic began, hearing countless stories of lockdown hardship from business owners.
“Based on our experience, a coordinated national approach, including direct and indirect supports, makes a big difference to businesses’ success after an extended lockdown,” he said.
“We urge the federal government to discuss a post-lockdown business support strategy at the next National Cabinet meeting.”