Amy Hirschi

The National Cabinet Meeting on June 26th has brought more initiatives to light that are aimed at small business recovery. There was also talk of easing restrictions in the coming months, helping Australians prepare to go back to work in a COVID-safe environment and getting the economy moving again.

The Hon Karen Andrews MP, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, announced the launch of The Enterprising Community in her most recent statement. Digital Coaching International will receive $1.9 million to start up the non-governmental organization that will create a website to drive digital capability among small businesses.

“Australia has a very active and innovative small business community, but some businesses tend to put investing in digital technologies on the backburner due to costs and limited resources,” Minister Andrews said.

“This has only been magnified by the COVID-19 crisis. The most resilient businesses throughout this pandemic have been those that have been quick to adapt, using digital tools to change how they do things, what they offer and who they sell to.

“Supporting businesses to digitise their operations has therefore never been more important as small businesses look to readjust their operations and processes in a post-COVID economy.”

Easing restrictions was also a topic in the Cabinet Meeting. The Cabinet recommitted to the strategy of suppression of COVID-19 and to the Three-Step Framework to a COVID-safe Australia. Smaller venues can now be a little more relaxed with their social distancing rules. Under Step 3, businesses with a small premises and a COVIDSafe Plan in place can apply a one-person per two square-metre rule.

Due to the local Victorian outbreak, localized health responses were discussed and The National Cabinet agreed to a new plan for Australia’s Public Health Capacity and COVID-19. Under the plan developed by the AHPPC, six actions for state, territory and Commonwealth governments will improve long term sustainability of the public health workforce for the remainder of COVID-19 and beyond by:

  • strengthening a formal surge plan for the public health response workforce and review the ongoing structure of the public health units;
  • progressing the national interoperable notifiable disease surveillance system (NINDSS) project and prioritise appropriate interfaces;
  • establishing a national training program for surge workforce;
  • better support the Communicable Disease Network of Australia (CDNA), including shared costs;
  • prioritising enhancing the public health physician workforce capacity; and
  • considering options for developing a formal public health workforce training program.

Whilst this is all welcome news, we must still remain vigilant. Practicing common sense and good hygiene are two ways of preventing any further spreads of the virus, and we must continue to support small businesses in this long road to recover. We will bring you more news as it happens.