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Small businesses float a national rent relief plan for economic recovery

Under COSBOA’s plan, affected businesses would then be able to take on a new recovery-focused loan from the government “to cover verifiable rent, mortgages and tax debt which have been accumulated due to the impact of lockdowns” repaid as a portion of annual turnover.

However, the Property Council of Australia NSW executive director Luke Achterstraat has already raised concerns about rent waivers reintroduced by the NSW government, saying the commercial property sector provided $15 billion worth of support to tenants during lockdown last year and small owners will struggle.

He is already concerned the assistance provided is a “one-size-fits-all” strategy.

“Many commercial owners are still providing ongoing support to tenants affected by the 2020 lockdowns, with considerations in place,” he said. “We welcome government looking at relief for small landlords. Not all commercial owners are big businesses, a lot are mums and dads who have it as their nest egg.”

National employer Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox said the state and federal governments had jointly financed many grants to support businesses that could be used to pay rent as well as introduced mediation and landlord tax relief.

“Ai Group is open to a quick consideration of the adequacy of existing arrangements and for the national cabinet to consider supporting a harmonised approach,” he said.

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Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Andrew McKellar said rental assistance measures were critical through lockdowns.

“The prompt and coordinated approach between federal and state governments has been fundamental to supporting both business and landlords who have been significantly impacted by restrictions. These support mechanisms must adjust as required to ensure that when lockdowns end, our economy can bounce back strongly,” he said.

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