News & Views

29th July 2021

NECA WELCOMES $85M COMMONWEALTH-VICTORIAN SMALL BUSINESS COVID HARDSHIP FUND

NECA has welcomed the joint announcement by the Commonwealth and Victorian governments creating an $85 Million Small Business COVID Hardship Fund to assist small businesses in the construction sector that could not work during the recent lockdown across the state.

NECA Victoria Executive Director Pawel Podolski said today’s announcement comes after intensive lobbying efforts by NECA on behalf of Members who experienced significant downturns as a result of restrictions during the latest lockdown.

The Small Business COVID Hardship Fund, which will assist businesses that were ineligible for other government assistance measures, will provide grants of up to $5,000 to businesses with payrolls of less than $10 million which have experienced revenue losses of more than 70 per cent due to lockdowns.

Whilst bigger electrical contracting businesses could keep working during lockdown on large construction and infrastructure projects, businesses that typically performed maintenance and repair work in occupied premises were hard hit, and the fund would offer relief to these businesses.

As much of our Members’ work is performed indoors, in occupied buildings, the electrical contracting sector has been more affected than other construction businesses by lockdown restrictions. 

NECA congratulated the state and federal governments on their initiative and remains committed to working with all levels of government to ensure its Members, and those across the construction sector, are able to navigate future responses to the pandemic.  

NECA would like to acknowledge the efforts from the Master Plumbers Association and Master Builders Victoria for their role in this outcome. 

“We are delighted the state and federal governments have listened to our concerns, and we think the announcement of this fund shows the voice of our industry is being heard,” Mr Podolski said.

NECA will continue to monitor conditions in the construction sector and looks forward to working with the state government to develop the specific funding criteria for the scheme