By Danielle Kutchel
A Berwick dog groomer who was unable to work over the circuit breaker lockdown has hit out at the lack of government support.
Carly, owner of Wiggle Butts Dog Grooming, was shocked to find she was ineligible for State Government support over the lockdown because she wasn’t registered for GST and earned under the $75,000 threshold.
To top it off, she was then informed that she would not be eligible for Federal Government support payments either, with that funding apparently restricted to employees rather than sole traders.
“Basically we’re not looked at as a legitimate business because we’re not registered for GST,” she said.
“A lot of businesses fall under that because they’re stay-at-home mums or mums who work part time, or people with disabilities that can’t work full time and have a side business.
“We’re low income earners and not entitled to any support.”
Carly has gotten by by dipping into her savings – money that she had set aside for surgery later this year and to cover her tax.
She said she knew of multiple other small businesses in a similar situation.
Over the lockdown, Carly tried contacting the State Government to prove that she could work with no contact with owners.
“I work one-on-one with one dog at a time. I have a little shop set up at my home, a building separate to my house. I have no contact with anyone at all and I still wasn’t allowed to work,” she said.
“If you’re not going to allow us to work then we need some sort of financial support otherwise we will close our businesses.”
And although restrictions on businesses are set to ease from Friday, Carly said she and other small business owners are still worried.
“The main concern for everyone now is that these lockdowns can keep happening, and with two weeks of no income or support already and it only being the start of winter, we worry what the rest of winter and the year will bring.
“It’s really daunting. I generally book all my clients for the year, ever two, four, six, eight weeks and can’t plan ahead, I’m just constantly juggling and rescheduling now.
“All the groomers I am talking to at the moment are in the same boat, worried about booking too far ahead and what further lockdowns will bring.”
The Department of Health and Business Victoria were contacted for comment.