HOPING FOR SUPPORT: Bluebird Kitchen co-owners Jim and Katie Osborn, David Hart and Zac Murray.
HOPING FOR SUPPORT: Bluebird Kitchen co-owners Jim and Katie Osborn, David Hart and Zac Murray.

Businesses ‘screaming out’ for government assistance

SOUTHERN Downs businesses are hoping the passing of job keeper payment legislation will ease the challenges of staying afloat during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Bluebird Kitchen and Smokehouse owner Katie Osborn welcomed the news and hoped she'd be able to support her staff after she was forced to cut hours.

"We've been really affected by COVID-19 as everyone has, we've lost so many functions and had to make a lot of hard decisions like pausing staff," she said.

"I'm excited for Jobkeeper because it means I can give them something, they can continue to live instead of struggling like us."

Employers will be able to apply for a subsidy of $1500 a fortnight, 70 per cent of the median wage to pay full-time, part-time and casuals who have been employed for over a year, provided they are over the age of 16.

"I'm just sort of waiting for the all clear, to qualify you need a 30 per cent lost, which we definitely have," Mrs Osborn said.

"The majority of my staff will qualify."

But owner of the Puma Fuel Station said the Jobkeeper payment would not be a quick fix.

As most of Ms Kerr's employees are casuals employed for less than a year, she doesn't believe she'll be able to support her staff with it.

"We'll have to pay them now and they will pay us back later, so it's all about what cash flow you have available until the end of May," she said.

"Businesses have been screaming out and I don't think the government has been forthcoming with any payment."

Ms Kerr has not had to lay off any employees yet but said only a handful would be eligible for the payment.

"No-one knows how it will go we just are taking it day by day at the moment, it's not the quick fix people would have hoped for."

According to the Federal Government, more than 750,000 businesses have already signed up for the payment.

They have urged them to pay their staff the $1500 a fortnight now and claim the money back from the taxation office in May.

"We hope we'll be okay until then but each week things are dropping," Mrs Osborn said.

"This is the new normal and we're hoping we'll get through it with the support of the community."