Delay time must be used to provide certainty for WA businesses

Jan 21, 2022 | State News, Steve Thomas MLC

The Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Small Business Dr Steve Thomas says that business would continue to pay the price for the even greater uncertainty created by last night’s confirmation that the February 5th opening date has been scrapped by Premier Mark McGowan.

He has called on the Government to write and release formal plans by February 5th anyway for how business and industry will manage when the state finally opens up, including a plan for business compensation.

“In his media conference last week, the Premier twice suggested that he would deliver a “roadmap” for the business community which would explain the rules by February 5th” Dr Thomas said. “The work is already being done so that release date should not change.”

Dr Thomas said that the Government “roadmap” should have already been released and be providing certainty to the business and industry communities about how they should manage the impacts when COVID does get here.

“There is now no proposed date for opening and no timetable for the Premier’s much needed “roadmap” of rules. The Government has given itself more time to get the health system ready, but it should not need more time to write the business rules.”

“The delay in opening is an admission that the Government has failed to get the state ready for the inevitable arrival of COVID, but it gives the Government more time to do the job” Dr Thomas said. “There is now no excuse for not providing business the certainty we have all been calling for.”

“With a $5.8 billion surplus last financial year and an expected $15 billion in surpluses over five years, there is no excuse for not providing business with proper, adequate and standardised compensation for Government imposed restrictions. That must be part of the plan to be released.”

“The first question for the Premier is why, after two years of COVID impacts in Western Australia, has that plan not been written already?” Dr Thomas asked. “The second is when will business and industry now receive it?”

“That plan should be available to businesses well in advance of the opening, because for the many businesses, especially small businesses, uncertainty risks their very existence.”