THE Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell has written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, requesting support for Australia’s small business sector, including the nation’s 1.4 million sole traders.
“The COVID-19 driven downturn is already taking an unprecedented toll on the Australian small business community,” Ms Carnell said..
“Sole traders, which account for more than 60 percent of Australian businesses, are currently ineligible for cash flow assistance of up to $25,000 because it is only available to businesses that directly employ staff.
“Our view is that government support should be extended to small businesses, including sole traders who are facing dire circumstances amid this COVID-19 health crisis.”
The Ombudsman has suggested a suite of measures that could be implemented by the Federal Government that could help sole traders, independent contractors and small businesses – particularly those operating in tourism, events, training, catering and hospitality industries – in the short term.
“Sole traders and independent contractors need income support right now without the administrative burden of asset testing,” Ms Carnell said.
“New Zealand’s recently announced wage subsidy scheme providing eligible businesses, including sole traders and self-employed people with $585 per week (employers can receive a maximum of $150,000), for each full-time employee for a period of 12 weeks, is a model the government should consider.
“We also believe New Zealand’s COVID-19 leave and self-isolation support package providing all small business employees, including sole traders, who are unable to work or are caring for others with weekly payments of up to $585 for a period of up to eight weeks is worthy of government consideration," she said.
“Sole traders should be eligible for immediate rebates of PAYG quarterly instalment payments paid during the 2019/2020 financial year and PAYG payments on income drawn from the business.
“Cash flow is absolutely vital for all small businesses, including sole traders, who should be given one-off access to their superannuation at this critical time," Ms Carnell said.
“Low interest loans should also be extended to those small businesses and sole traders impacted by a loss of trade due to COVID-19, similar to what has been offered to bushfire affected small businesses.
“Finally, a national small business recovery program, including fast-tracked regional infrastructure projects and mandated small business supplier quotas in all government procurement is required for the nation to get back to business.”
SODEXO Australia has taken home two major awards in the facility management industry’s FM Industry Awards for Excellence: the Occupant Safety and Wellbeing award and the People and Productivity top honour.
The annual FM Industry Awards for Excellence present Australia’s highest accolades for facilities management in order to highlight an industry which works to ensure the safety, security and sustainability of the built environment.
Sodexo FM Platform Australia director, Paul Amato said the awards were recognition of the company’s commitment to reshaping modern facilities management practices “and support of greater efficiencies and better service to workers and staff onsite”.
“We’re proud of this achievement and hope to continue to set benchmarks for facilities management excellence through our quality of life services,” Mr Amato said. “It’s a true credit to Sodexo’s employees and leadership to be formally recognised in this year’s FM Industry Awards for Excellence.
“The awards are a testament to the company’s leadership, innovation and service in Australia’s FM sector.”
Sodexo was presented with the Occupant Safety and Wellbeing award for its specialised Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Improvement Program which provided solutions to the aging assets being used by residents in six villages across Western Australia.
The HVAC Improvement Program identified the issues relating to the aging assets regarding air quality and presented a cost-efficient solution. Since the ductwork was cleaned and coated, residents noticed a change in the environment, including the air being fresher and easier to breathe.
Sodexo won the People and Productivity award for its initiative to achieve greater efficiencies in communication between Sodexo’s offices and their clients' facilities.
Sodexo’s technical services team implemented technology solutions using an internet-of-things (IoT) framework to enable them to remotely capture asset condition, performance and data across multiple communication platforms.
Sodexo also sponsored the Industry Innovation award and congratulated Blue IoT on winning that category.
Sodexo in Australia employs a diverse workforce of more than 5000 employees delivering a unique array of over 100 integrated services lines including catering, facilities management, concierge services, security, asset maintenance and hospitality services in segments as diverse as corporate, healthcare, seniors, government and resources.