Business owners overwhelmed by the impact of the latest COVID-19 lockdown want the application process for support to be as easy as possible.
Many are still getting their head around the process and the advice from KPMG Wollongong managing partner Adam Cole is to make sure any application is supported by adequate records.
Tina Jovanovski is doing home schooling with her children while she is unable to work at her Oh Darling Beauty salon in Mangerton.
She said her first thought when she had to close her business was for her casual staff and is pleased to see the federal government providing financial support.
"When that was first announced they accessed it straight away two weeks ago. And now it is available to more people based on the hours they have lost, that is even better," she said.
The payment has increased from $500 to $600 per week for those who have lost more than 20 hours, and to $375 for those who have lost between eight and 20 hours.
"It is different to last time," Mrs Jovanovski said. "It is a bit more based on your hours where last year JobKeeper was a blanket coverage for everybody."
Mrs Jovanovski is eager to know more details on how she can access the business support announced on Tuesday. She said businesses like hers needed support to survive and cover expenses. She thinks the business grant payment which is accessible this time through Service NSW will be better for her salon.
"But I don't know how accessible it is going to be to us and how quick the turnaround is," she said.
Mrs Jovanovski said it was important to note that every business and sector was in a slightly different position so different levels of assistance were required depending on the situation.
"In hospitality, depending on their business, they can possible still do takeaway. Where in the beauty and hair industry we can't do anything. I think business that are forced to close completely should get more assistance."
Balinese Spice Magic owner Jules Mitry said her own pride made her reluctant to apply for JobKeeper as much as she could have last year. But she is planning to seek more assistance during this lockdown to ensure her business survives.
Mrs Mitry would welcome any easy-to-access information on how to do that as she tries to keep her business trading with takeaway and delivery meals only. She sees that as an opportunity to keep her full-time staff employed as well as international university students working in the restaurant as casuals.
"International students are basically relying on what they are earning at the restaurant," she said. "They are doing it really tough at the moment."
Mrs Mitry is also eager to keep the kitchen open so she can keep feeding people in need.
"A lot of people who live on the street still rely on coming to us for warm meals," she said.
"We are finding an increase in the number of people coming to our front door around 6 o'clock at night. Many businesses haven't been able to do food drop-offs to local charities. So there is not as much support for those people."
Mrs Mitry is also doing home schooling with her children.
"My business is impacted heavily," she said.
"There is so much uncertainty at the moment. People are not getting the support we saw last year when they were getting JobKeeper. I think people are more uncertain about what assistance they will get."
Balinese Spice Magic continues to supply food to the Flame Tree Co-op Thirroul, Taylor's Healthy Grocers in Wollongong and a shop in Moruya so customers don't need to travel so far for her Balinese food during lockdown.
Mrs Mitry said she was still trying to get her head around the business assistance announced by the federal and NSW government on Tuesday.
"I think most business people are in information overload just trying to rack their brain to survive and pay all the bills and wages on time. There is almost too much information for us to process at the moment."
He emphasised how important it will be for business owners to ensure they have adequate records to support the decline in turnover test.
"If you are a business owner or an employee you certainly want to be keeping an eye on how things are going to progress in the next couple of days," Mr Cole said.
"We are expecting the government to provide additional guidance on eligibility criteria.
"The key point to note for business owners is there are some tests in there which are dependent on measuring your turnover now compared to a two-week period in the prior year.
"One of the learnings we had from when JobKeeper came through, as well as some of the other stimulus, was making sure businesses had good records that are easily accessible should the tax office, or whoever the reviewing body is in the future, do a review. It is important you are able to demonstrate that."
Mr Cole said many Illawarra business owners had been contacting KPMG Wollongong for information on when and how they could access support.
"For some of it you only need to apply once rather than having to keep applying," he said.
"But on the business support measures, at this point you are registering your expression of interest. So we are expecting in the coming days further specific information will be made available."
We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.