Master Builders Victoria (MBV) has welcomed today’s announcement by the Commonwealth and Victorian Government to establish a $85million Small Business COVID Hardship Fund to provide relief to small building and construction businesses unable to work during the latest COVID-19 lockdown.

MBV wrote to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews earlier this week to express grave concern that small building and construction businesses not permitted to work inside occupied premises during the recent lockdown were excluded from the Victorian Government’s business support grants.

Some members have been left up to $20,000 out of pocket and forced to dip into their savings to stay afloat from the crippling effects of the most recent lockdown.

On behalf of members, MBV stepped up its advocacy on the important issue with a social media campaign this week entitled ‘MBV Fighting for a Fair Go for Indoor Trades’.

MBV CEO Rebecca Casson welcomed the Commonwealth and Victorian Government’s new COVID hardship fund. The $85 million fund will be established to support small businesses who have not been eligible under existing business support funds.

Small businesses with a payroll of up to $10 million who have experienced a 70 per cent or greater reduction in revenue will be eligible for grants of up to $5,000.

“This is some good news for the hundreds of small building and construction businesses that have been unable to work during the recent Victorian lockdown. It’s also an acknowledgement that our members voices are being heard, and we thank the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments for listening to our industry,” she said.

“We understand that the design and details of the scheme will be finalised very soon, and it is expected to include many of those businesses that can only work inside occupied premises.

“The State Government has indicated that it will continue to work with us, and other sections of the building and construction industry that are impacted by the issue such as plumbers and electricians, to devise the criteria for this new support package.  The new funding criteria will be vital to ensure support is provided to these businesses, if and when, future lockdowns are implemented.

“We know that the recent circuit-breaking lockdowns have been a challenging time for many of our smaller members unable to work - that’s why we have been fighting so hard on their behalf to address this issue.  We know that every little bit helps, especially when times are hard.”