The Chamber will meet with the Gladstone Regional Council and representatives from organisations and industry bodies to discuss the local economic situation.
The Chamber will meet with the Gladstone Regional Council and representatives from organisations and industry bodies to discuss the local economic situation.

Speed crucial for COVID-19 support

The Federal Government's $750 stimulus payments have begun hitting people's accounts as Gladstone businesses change models to accommodate COVID-19 shutdown measures.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Joe Smith was impressed with how business owners had adapted to continue trading amid the health emergency and wants to see the money stay in the local economy.

He said that it showed times of adversity breed innovation.

Hair and beauty businesses are offering free delivery of products, restaurants and cafes are focusing on take way and delivery and gyms are offering online classes.

Mr Smith said Facebook was being used as the primary tool to maintain contact with customers about how services were changing.

"Social media seems to be the number one delivery method to get that out there," he said.

Mr Smith said that all levels of government had come through with business support packages to some extent, but the speed of the delivery of funding was an ongoing concern.

"The one concern we still do have is the cash isn't coming quick enough yet," Mr Smith said.

He said many businesses would still be waiting several weeks to receive financial support such as refunds or credits on Business Activity Statements.

""It's just whether businesses can hang on long enough to get these incentives," he said.

Understanding exactly what they're entitled to and how stimulus measures will help individual businesses is also an issue.

The JobKeeper package, a scheme in which businesses are paid $1500 a fortnight per employee as an incentive to retain staff has been announced but not finalised.

Essentially businesses significantly impacted by coronavirus are eligible to access a wages subsidy to continue paying employees.

As it stands, the flat-rate approach means lower paid employees are likely to get a wage increase and higher paid workers may get a cut.

Parliament will sit on Wednesday to pass the government's $130 billion package, and Mr Smith said the details could change through the process.

This afternoon the Chamber will meet with the Gladstone Regional Council and representatives from organisations and industry bodies to discuss the local economic situation.



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