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COMMENT:Why Getting Business Back Has To Be Taken Out Of The Control Of Government Employees With Job Security

Business is getting tetchy and rightly so, as they have no clear direction as to whether they have a business going forward or how they can get their business back to the levels pre COVID -19.

Hibernation is one thing having a future is another and despite the Scott Morrison led Government having done a brilliant job to date, 24 hours is a long time in politics and sentiment can change overnight especially with middle class Australians who’s business, is having to operate from home if at all, some are simply shut down with no end in sight an bill mounting.

Right now, business has been corralled by Government employees who have job security and a future after COVID-19, but what about the millions that are in no-man’s land other than the promise of payments which most businesses have not received.

What is needed now is a transition with the forming by the Government, including State Governments of two core groups made up of business executives who understand and actually work in small businesses and those who can deliver direction to large enterprises.

Scott Morrison recently announced the formation of a new commission designed to swiftly co-ordinate efforts between the private and public sectors to ease coronavirus chaos.

The Prime Minister said the COVID-19 Co-ordination Commission will be headed by Nev Power, former chief executive officer of Fortescue Metals.

“Working in the mining sector, you need to know how to solve problems, and big ones,” Mr Morrison said at a press in Canberra, personally I would like to know what this guy knows about small business, retail distribution and getting the big employers of people back doing what they were doing prior to COVID-19 because going forward the landscape is not going to be the same again for five years or more.

We need to open Australian businesses up again and the sooner the better as several other Countries are currently doing, many of these Countries such as German, Austria and Spain have had significantly higher death rates than Australia.

We need new models going forward such as rent based on a percentage of sales.

We need an advisory panel made up of retailers from the likes Richard Murray from JB Hi I Fi or Mark McInnes of Premier Investments, just don’t let Gerry Harvey anywhere this advisory panel or any other Government panel especially after his 60 Minutes appearance.

We need people with distribution and logistics expertise to work out how we will get goods and freight across borders where currently restrictions are in place.

We need these advisory bodies to deliver options and information whether it be accounting and cashflow information to working out how some employees can still work from home while other parts of a business are opened up.

More importantly we need people back spending and this will only happen if in a responsible manner consumer can move around confident that their risk of getting a dose of COVID-19 is minimised or totally eliminated.

The real risk is that businesses such as retailers are going to collapse as what happened today with camping supplies company Aussie Disposal who was placed into administration after suffering the twin hits of the summer bushfires and the coronavirus.

The company is expected to close as many as 12 of its 36 stores which are located in NSW, Victoria and South Australia. Staff were notified of the administration on Wednesday.

Executives claim that they are hoping to be able to operate going forward with 11 stores when they come out of administration.

The only problem with this scenario is someone is going to have to wear the losses whether it be a distributor or brand.

Insurance Companies have already tightened up the cover they will provide for brands, retailers and distributors and as this epidemic is far from over there are still real risks that businesses are set to fall over.

Australia’s road out of coronavirus hibernation will start with opening up of high value but low infection risk industries as soon as the curve holds flat and rapid disease testing capacity is locked in.

Recently The Daily Telegraph in NSW ran a survey and what they found was that their readers believe that restrictions should stay in place till at least the end of winter.

In an online poll, more than 70 per cent of readers believed despite the inconvenience, the tough restrictions should continue to prevent new outbreaks.

What’s not known is whether their readers which are primarily blue collar are employees or employers.

Only 41 new COVID-19 cases were recorded nationally yesterday, but the government has insisted the low rate must be maintained for “many weeks” before it moves to resuscitate the economy, which is currently headed for its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

Six months is a long time with many analysts telling ChannelNews that the Government money funding the $130 billion JobKeeper program is set to run out “well before six months is up”.

While this is aimed at keeping more Australians in jobs and support businesses affected by the Coronavirus it is not going to deliver certainty for business that there is a market left for Australian businesses in six months’ time.

Government decision making, when it comes to small business, is flawed and what appears to be okay for thousands of Australian businesses when it comes to cutting costs is out the door with the public service who right now control the future for a lot of businesses.

Recently Scott Morrison threw out a suggestion that politicians and public servants should take a pay cut to help the nation’s finances cope during the coronavirus pandemic.

It comes after a move by New Zealand to cut its politicians’ pay by 20 per cent as the nation reels from the economic hit of COVID-19.

The Prime Minister reiterated his government’s decision to freeze pay rises across the public service but said a pay cut is “not something that’s been considered”.

As for public servants they bungled the Ruby Princess exit of Australians into Society which small business and retailers are now paying the price for.

Nineteen Australian passengers on board the Ruby Princess have died from coronavirus, with 369 infections in NSW alone linked to the cruise ship.

The Australian death toll linked to the ship rose by one yesterday after a woman in her 60s died in Canberra Hospital after contracting COVID-19.

The future of retail has to be taken out of the hands of public servants and placed in the hands of both public servants and business leaders who can balance out a plan to resurrect this industry.

We people with deep rooted knowledge of small business not large business enterprises and we need it now.

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