Victorian COVID lockdown – support appeal for trade service contractors

Victorian COVID lockdown – support appeal for trade service contractors

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Lauren van Strijp started this petition to The Victorian government and

I write on behalf of all trade service contractors who are being constantly overlooked during Victorian government lockdowns and excluded from financial support.

As a small, family operated, electrical contracting business, we have received minimal assistance or support from the government during recent Victorian lockdowns. And speaking with other contractors, we are not the only ones in this position. Trade service businesses that primarily provide services to repair, maintain and improve existing residential properties are being widely forgotten and left out of much needed support. There appears to be an assumption from government officials that all trade service business’ (electricians, plumbers, painters, plasterers, carpenters, etc.) only work on new construction or government projects. Which is simply not the case.

Due to the restrictions announced in the most recent lockdown, my own business has been forced to postpone all jobs booked, as work on occupied residential properties is prohibited. Our services do not fall under the “construction” category, and our only opportunity for work has been emergency call outs for “critical repairs to any premises where required for emergency or safety” – and we have not received any calls for critical repairs. This has meant that we have received no income for the duration of the lockdown, yet still required to pay for business expenses, including employee wages.

In the lockdown extension announced, outdoor work is now permitted. However, due to the nature of electrical work, our electricians are required to test the installations which means internal access to the property is required. Therefore, we have had no choice but to again postpone all work until either the lockdown is lifted, or we are authorised to carry out work in occupied homes.

Yet, in the support package released on the 3rd June 2021, we have been classed as ineligible for any financial support. Retail, who are able to sell their products online and make an income during the lockdown are eligible for financial assistance. Cafes and restaurants, who are able to sell take-aways and make an income during the lockdown are eligible for financial assistance. Gardeners, who are able to carry out their services in full during the lockdown extension and make an income are eligible for financial assistance. However, as we are in an industry that is
miss-labelled and in turn overlooked, we receive no support. How is this fair?

I plead with you that something needs to change. All those small mum-and-dad trade
service businesses that aren’t receiving any income, yet expected to keep paying business overheads, can’t continue to be forgotten. We need your support.

Yours sincerely
Lauren van Strijp
Trade Services Business Owner

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