This week marks the start of a new financial year, which is often a time for small business owners to take a breath after the frantic end of tax year rush, and make plans for the time ahead.
For the past four days, around three quarters of our WA small businesses as well as their customers, have found themselves in lockdown. The emergence of the Delta strain of COVID-19 made it imperative to act fast for everyone’s safety, but it’s not the start to 2021-22 any of us expected. This time last week we were celebrating the transition of WA to phase 5 and the lifting of the yearlong restrictions on events and hospitality venues.
I know that for many, particularly those in those businesses classed as non-essential retail, and in the hospitality, fitness, beauty and other industries that have had to close this week, your reserves (both financial and personal) are running low. As we begin the transition out of lockdown at midnight tonight (12.01am on Saturday 3 July) in time for the school holidays, if you need any support, or just a listening ear, to work out how to tackle these business challenges, our team is waiting to help you.
For those who have been particularly affected by the mental impact of ongoing disruption, I want to point you to a few resources:
- NewAccess for Small Business Owners - a free and confidential mental health coaching program, developed by Beyond Blue specifically to give small business owners the support they need. You do not need a mental health plan from your GP to access this structured six session program, which is available nationally by phone or video.
- The Australian Tax Office (ATO) if you are struggling to meet your tax obligations and pay on time.
- Lifeline (Suicide and crisis support) -13 11 14
Please, don’t put yourself last.
On a more optimistic note, there have been strong signs for many months of our economy’s ongoing recovery, with Deloitte reporting in May that our State economy is back to where it was before COVID-19, or better. Over the past 18 months I have been inspired by the resilience and agility shown by the small business community. The significance of the sector is well established and I’m confident that 2021-22 will bring many opportunities your way. I’d like to encourage all of you to get back out there now that we can, with reference to transitional requirements, and support other small businesses in our community wherever possible. Together, we are a force to be reckoned with!
I wish you all the best for the new financial year.
WA Small Business Commissioner