[VIDEO] Ticker News

The citizens of Victoria, and in particular the small businesses continue to experience the lack of quality and efficiency of the services provided to keep us all safe. Meanwhile, Service New South Wales provides a highly efficient and digitally advanced alternative.

Bill Lang joined Adrian Franklin on Ticker News to discuss the latest in small business during the third Victorian lockdown.

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Or alternatively, you can read highlights from the transcript below.

Victoria’s third lockdown a major blow for small businesses

Adrian Franklin (Ticker News)
Victoria wide lockdown with about 20 odd cases at the moment. But what’s the impact on small business in Victoria right now?

Bill Lang (Small Business Australia)
For those viewers that are here in Victoria, and those more broadly around Australia, Adrian, they’re pretty clear about what it is like we’ve had 6 million people sort of locked down still a day and a bit to go. In terms of what the earliest reopening might be. The Valentine’s lockdown effectively as it’s being called here in Sick-Toria. They’re not really talking about COVID sickness, but in terms of the capability of the various people that we trust, to be able to go about the work that they do on whether that’s in hotels, quarantine hotels, whether that’s with transportation, with tracing and testing, all of those areas.

There’s lots and lots of questions being asked, because anyone in the restaurant business, the florist business that will of had events organised over the weekend, whether it was country week tennis up in Swan Hill, up there on the border, or whether it was a wedding or some other celebration, you know, from out of nowhere, absolutely nowhere. The premier lockdown for the third time straight to stage four, and still four days now in the lockdown, nothing said for the small business people of Victoria, around the direct compensation that’s needed for all those all that food, all those other things that were thrown away, not to mention ongoing expenses of being in business.

Service New South Wales contact tracing significantly more advanced than Victoria

Adrian Franklin
What’s the difference between how New South Wales managers tracing and Victoria because there seems like a rather large gap?

Bill Lang
It’s significant differences. So in terms of New South Wales, they have a real citizen-focused service called Service New South Wales, you want to deal with a New South Wales Government with respect to anything now for several years, you deal with an organisation called Service New South Wales. Highly efficient, great use of digital technology. Secondly, they have a QR code system, which has been in use for several months, and which was made mandatory for every business and workplace in New South Wales, by the premier of New South Wales at the start of this year. That means the people in contract tracing have immediate access to all of the information where the citizens have scanned the code in terms of knowing where they’ve been and how long they’ve been there, which means they can directly contact those citizens straightaway.

Now down in Victoria, there is now a QR code system. And it has some of the features of what service New South Wales has but unfortunately, there are still many, many hundreds of different types of systems from pencil and paper through to SMS systems to other QR code systems. And they’re not integrated in any way. And what that means is when it comes time to do the tracing, you know, the team here are effectively getting on the telephone ringing up asking people to remember those sorts of things. So we’re literally years and years behind it, when I sort of talk about Sick-Toria, I’m talking about the actual quality and efficiency of the services that the citizens of Victoria are provided with. And we are literally years behind, and in a major situation, like a pandemic, the people of Victoria are now feeling it.

What is required for Victorian small businesses to survive?

Adrian Franklin
What do you think small businesses need to survive this period of time?

Bill Lang
At the highest level its confidence. But in the very short term, they actually need direct financial support, Adrian. So again, as I said, it’s one thing to say, although they’ve lost trade and revenue, but many have already purchased the various goods and services that they would use fresh food as an example, flowers as an example. So direct payment, we still haven’t heard anything from the Victorian Government around what is the compensation and how will it actually be paid? So if you’re going to announce it, you know, basically, it’s lockdown the Valentine’s Day lockdown instantly, for five days, where’s the announcement of that direct financial support? It’s not like the pandemic just started four weeks ago, the Victorian Government has had absolutely months and months to come up with contingency plans and have solutions in place. Small business people you know, here in Victoria, there’s one and a half million people that own or work in small businesses, they’re pulling their hair out, they’re now more likely to be gone for good, particularly when JobKeeper goes but we need direct financial support, you know, less talk more action, Adrian.

Adrian Franklin
Just to finish what can citizens do to help small businesses right now?

Bill Lang
The citizens of Australia have been magnificent because they’ve been out and supporting the local businesses in their local area. There’s another key component and that’s the need to keep well, we have to make sure that we’re keeping a bit of distance and keeping our hands clean and when we need other people wearing masks. We have to do the sorts of things that we can do to reduce giving or getting the virus and continuing to support the local businesses over the phone, online, drop in but spend some dollars with those local businesses and let them know that you are there as their customers for them as they have been there for you over many, many years.