O’Brien slams “mean and stingy” Government on power payments

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien has slammed the Allan Labor Government for its “mean and stingy” approach to supporting businesses affected by recent power outages.

Mr O’Brien has been working with a number of home-based businesses in the Mirboo North area who have been seeking access to the business component of the Prolonged Power Outage Payment (PPOP).

“While some home-based businesses received the full business payment of $2,927 early on, I have now been advised by the Government that about a dozen further home-based businesses will be rejected after the criteria was evidently tightened.

“The Government says to receive the payment businesses must have a specific business electricity account. How many home-based businesses would bother having a separate business electricity account?

“This is mean penny-pinching from a State Government that can’t manage money, has blown the budget and it’s now Victorians who are suffering.

“The difference between the residential payment and business component is about $1000 – nothing to the government, but substantial for home-based micro-businesses.

Approving the small number of home-based businesses who were without power for more than seven days state-wide would be lucky to cost the government $20,000 in total.  Yet every day, millions are wasted on cost over-runs on Labor’s city mega-projects.

“We were already critical of the Government’s criteria that homes had to be without power for at least seven days before any payments could be made.

“To find out that home-based businesses who lost considerable earnings when their power was out for more than a week are not going to be eligible for the business component is simply atrocious.

“These are predominately young mums running businesses from home and it’s just not fair that they are being denied support. These are hairdressers, photographers, book-keepers and similar businesses.

“I have written to the Minister for Energy demanding the Government review this criteria immediately and ensure that these businesses who were affected by the power outage actually do get compensation.”

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