Struggling North East businesses will receive a $25,000 lifeline as part of the biggest support package ever offered by the Victorian government.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced the extra $3 billion business relief on Sunday which includes cash grants, tax relief and cashflow support to businesses struggling with coronavirus restrictions.
Hospitality businesses, who have been one of the hardest hit with restrictions, will be the focus on the cash support. And while Business Wodonga welcomes the support package, there is one thing that needs to be done to save local businesses.
"Every bit will help but I think the really important thing is that we need to get businesses open fully again," president Graham Jenkin told The Border Mail.
"I look forward to further announcements in regards to sole traders later in the week and while we are still waiting on full details it appears Wodonga businesses will be eligible."
The North East moves to step two of Mr Andrews road map out of restrictions at midnight Sunday.
And while Mr Andrews said the next step, which includes seeing cafes, pubs and restaurants opening up for outdoor dining, could come in the next few days, there is concern businesses will still operate at a loss.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"A concern for us is that outdoor trading may not be viable for some businesses," Mr Jenkin said.
"You may need the same number of staff to operate the business but you may only have a small percentage of the space to make a profit from.
"They have been innovative to date, there will also be people like council to be understanding with permits to create extra outdoor space on footpaths and the like."
Wodonga-based Victorian Senator Bridget McKenzie said the business support package is a "positive step forward" but agreed the best way to support local businesses is to open them up.
"Wodonga is not Werribee or Waurn Ponds and the best way to support small businesses and local jobs is to fully open up COVID-19 free local economies based on Local Government Area," she said.
"The latest Sensis Business Index says one in eight small to medium businesses are not expected to reopen after this pandemic which has seen hundreds of thousands of Victorians lose work.
"If Mr Andrews instead chose the commonsense approach of rolling back restrictions based on Local Government Areas, using his own guidelines, there'd be more than 35 Local Government Areas across rural and regional Victoria already open for business.
"The premier promised regional Victorian businesses would take another step forward in coming days and I call on him to honour that.
"It has been COVID-19 free rural and regional Australians who have borne the brunt of city-centric political agendas. They have done the right thing and just want to get on with life.
In other funding announcements by the state government, Wodonga TAFE will receive more than $2.7 million to modernise and upgrade learning spaces and facilities at its campuses.