“Ministers’ appearances at the Epidemic Response Committee this morning made clear that the Government hasn’t done any robust analysis of the number of business failures that will result from an extra week in lockdown”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“Business owners are telling us that they can survive for four weeks without trading, but five, six or seven weeks will be too much for them.
“The cost of business failures in terms of incomes and unemployment, but also mental and physical health, will be enormous. It’s deeply concerning that Cabinet appears not to have had any robust evidence of the additional impact on the survival of small businesses of an extra week in lockdown to inform yesterday’s decision.
“What will make the situation even more frustrating for business owners is that the Prime Minister and the Small Business Minister both seemed to have confirmed this morning that there’s no chance we will go back to lockdown.
“Asked by Duncan Garner on the AM Show, ‘Could it be that we don’t go to Level 3 next week, or is it a definite? Jacinda Ardern responded, ‘I can’t see a circumstance where that would arise.’ Stuart Nash confirmed that view at the Epidemic Response Committee.
“If there is no chance that the Government will reverse yesterday’s decision to move out of Alert Level 4 next week, why not implement Alert Level 3 now and let people get back to work?
“Our rate of transmission is just 0.48, meaning the virus is now dying out. Yet we are still foregoing $1 billion of economic activity a day, and the economic and health impacts are mounting quickly.
“Australia has shown that allowing safe economic activity and fighting COVID-19 are compatible objectives.
“The Government’s decision yesterday to move out of Alert Level 4 was the right one, but it needs to be implemented more quickly.”