- JobKeeper is set to end on 28 March
- CPA calling on government to pursue policies aimed at long-term business recovery
- Continued push for policies from their Federal Budget Submission
With JobKeeper set to end in late March, commentators, think tanks, and industry bodies are weighing in on what measures may be needed to continue supporting small businesses.
For example, today Westpac welcomed the government’s latest announcement of interest-free loans for pandemic hit businesses, arguing that this new scheme will provide support for the sectors and geographies that remain under pressure.
Most recently, however, for CPA Australia – the country’s largest professional accounting body – the response was not so clear cut. They came out in both support and criticism of the government’s loan scheme.
The accounting body welcomed the government’s commitment to continue supporting businesses even after JobKeeper ends, but argues the scheme will not be as effective as it could be, focussing only on business survival rather than business recovery.
CPA Australia’s General Manager of External Affairs, Dr Jane Rennie said, “The time is right to move from broad-based financial supports like JobKeeper to more targeted measures.”
“Like HECS loans for university students, this scheme allows the government to lend money to struggling businesses and recoup at a future point in time.
“However, whereas HECS is designed to support students while they learn skills to succeed in their careers, there’s no longer-term objective here.
“Professional advice is needed to help businesses move from survival to recovery. Without advice, providing loans is like treating the symptoms with addressing the underlying condition.”
Dr Jane Rennie, CPA Australia
As recommended in CPA’s 2021-22 Federal Budget Submission (covered in this article), the government should provide small businesses who were once receiving JobKeeper Extension payments financial incentives to access professional advice from their preferred provider.
Dr Rennie also emphasised that the government ensures the banks administer the scheme flexibly.
“If the eligibility criteria or application process are burdensome or rigidly applied, legitimate businesses will miss out or won’t apply, as we’ve seen with other programs.”
Policies aimed at infrastructure spending also seem to be a prominent issue right now.
Like other industry bodies such as the Property Council of Australia (PCA), CPA has also called for increased spending on infrastructure (see the article on PCA’s advocation).
This is also in line with the Labor Party’s policy agenda to improve the nation’s cities and infrastructure.