Sydney lockdown

Peak industry bodies the National Retail Association (NRA) and the Franchise Council of Australia (FCA) have joined forces to call for urgent tenancy relief for businesses being crippled by the prolonged New South Wales lockdown.

With many NSW small businesses and retailers at breaking point, both the NRA and FCA want a reintroduction of last year’s NSW commercial tenancy relief legislation.

NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said that retailers support a model similar to that which has been used in Victoria.

“Many retail businesses in NSW are at a breaking point. Without significant support over the coming six months many simply will not survive,” Ms Lamb said.

“Snap lockdowns can certainly hurt a business, but prolonged restrictions such as we’ve seen in NSW require extensive support for those businesses that have been severely affected. That is why we’re calling for the reintroduction of the NSW leasing code which served tenants and landlords so well during the 2020 lockdown.

“The property industry is one of the few not to have received extensive government support, which is why a comprehensive solution is required that assists both tenants and landlords.”

FCA CEO Mary Aldred said that simply deferring rent was no longer a solution as it would see small businesses eventually overwhelmed by debt.

“Deferring rent during a short lockdown is one thing, but during prolonged restrictions that provides little assistance. Eventually the debts mount up and must be paid at some point, with many businesses simply unable to continue,” Ms Aldred said.

“NSW businesses of all sizes are suffering, but those with a turnover of up to $5 million run the greatest risk of going under.

“The situation in NSW presents a dire situation for many in the franchising industry, which is why the FCA supports the immediate reinstatement of the NSW leasing code.”