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WHILE car retailers are reaping unexpected profitability from the motor vehicle shortage, a Victorian survey of the players in the wider car trade beyond dealerships has painted a depressing picture regarding a lack of government support. 

The survey, conducted by the Victorian Automotive Chamber of Commerce on its members, showed more could be done by governments to support the industry especially in crucial areas like the failure of landlords to provide tenancy relief.

The survey showed that 76 per cent of respondents were not able to negotiate successfully for commercial tenancy relief with their landlord.

The results indicate that as many as 7500 full-time workers in the sector could lose their jobs between July 1, 2019 and October 30, 2021 and that 67 per cent of trade businesses had a greater than 40 per cent reversal in revenue since September 2020.

The results are to be used as evidence-based responses for federal and state governments with the aim of obtaining eligibility for broader business assistance packages.

VACC CEO Geoff Gwilym said that the wide-ranging survey “makes for depressing reading”.

“Many business owners are reporting financial stress but sometimes they don’t fit the cookie-cutter government templates for COVID business support,” he said.

“This means many miss out on support that could see them surviving and employing local people.”


In the survey, the VACC quotes some members with examples being:

  • “This is killing us. I am only weeks off going out of business as a direct result of these lockdowns. As we have ‘only’ lost 60 per cent of our turnover, not the magic 70 per cent, I am getting no support.”
  • “My workshop has gone from 35 bookings a day to six bookings a day, which has caused most staff to be stood down over 20 hours a week.”

 

Mr Gwilym said the VACC was sending the survey results to state and federal governments “in the pursuit of further support – whether through the easing of restrictions or consideration of fairer assistance measures.”

The VACC provided survey results that included:

  • Based on the modelling of the survey results 7523 full-time equivalent staff are estimated to be lost between July 1, 2019 to October 30, 2021
  • 67.1 per cent of survey respondents had a greater than 40 per cent revenue decrease since September 2020.
  • 64.64 per cent of respondents did not qualify or did not apply for the Victorian Government Business Costs Assistant Program
  • 81.39 per cent of respondents did not qualify or did not apply for the Victorian State Government Small Business Hardship Fund
  • 76.1 per cent of respondents were not able to negotiate successfully for commercial tenancy relief with their landlord
  • 27 per cent of full-time employed staff are currently receiving COVID-19 disaster payments from the federal government because they worked between eight to 20 hours less per week
  • 23.2 per cent of full-time employed staff are currently receiving COVID-19 disaster payments from the Federal Government, because they worked more than 20 hours less per week
  • 80.43 per cent of respondents are not using the federal government’s Boosting Apprenticeships Commencements scheme
  • 92 per cent of industry want to see a JobSaver or similar type payment introduced in Victoria

By Neil Dowling

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