8 June 2021

Doorstop, Queen Street Pharmacy, Woollahra


Topics: Extension of ‘Go Local First’ Small Business Campaign; small and family business sector; COVID Disaster Payment.


Pleasure to have the Minister here, Stuart Robert, Minister for Small Business and many other areas here with me this morning in Woollahra in the heart of Wentworth. I’m Dave Sharma, the local Federal Member for the seat of Wentworth and this morning, we’ve been spending time talking to small and family owned businesses in the electorate about what assistance the Government is providing businesses to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Minister.


Yeah, thanks, Dave. It’s great to be here with Dave Sharma in Wentworth. Great to have COSBOA here. Of course, Mark's the chairman and Alexi’s the interim CEO. It's great to be joined by Professor Trent Twomey, who's the head of the Pharmacy Guild, and just elected the Deputy Chair globally of Pharmacy, and of course, Dave Heffernan, who is the head of the New South Wales Pharmacy.

And we're here to announce the extension by 12 months and an $8 million commitment through to COSBOA for the ‘Go Local First’ Campaign, which they’ll speak about what they're doing.

It's a great campaign to really encourage Australians to shop locally, to go down to their local stores, go to their local grocers, go to their local small businesses, and connect and shop and spend their money in their local communities, in those stores and those shops that employ local Australians. The Pharmacy Guild, of course, is one of the original ambassadors for the program and has continued to endorse it. But let me pass across to Mark and Alexi, who can speak about the great campaign that we're extending today.


Thank you, Minister. Look, it’s a real privilege to actually be standing here and we're thrilled with the announcement of the Minister and the Morrison Government to actually extend this campaign. One of the things we learnt through the COVID pandemic is Australia's 3.5 million businesses- small businesses were affected in a much bigger way than big business. And effectively, the way that we actually pick ourselves up off the ground is for local customers to come back and shop at small businesses in local communities such as where we are today. So, this campaign is a vital piece of the puzzle as the governments have done all they can.

It’s now up to each and every one of us to actually support local businesses in our area. This whole campaign is about encouraging locals and customers to support their local businesses. And so, we're really thrilled and we thank the Minister for the announcement today. Certainly do our best to make sure this drives home the growth for all small businesses across the country.


Perfect. Alexi.


Look, the Go Local First Campaign really embodies what COSBOA is all about. We're thrilled to be partnering with the Government on this one. It's a fantastic campaign to bring people to the local community. And what is a local community? It's about people. It's about providing a place where community can flourish. People can get together. And it becomes a space where everyone is in the same area and organising and just being a part of a community, which is really great. We're really thrilled as well to be in this wonderful strip of shops, which we can really see that the community is supporting local business, and that's what this campaign is all about. We’re hoping that everybody will get out there and continue to support local business to provide local jobs, a local economy, and a space where everybody can really exist as a wonderful flourishing community like this one.


Trent, Pharmacy Guild.


Thank you, Minister Robert, and to Dave, the Local Member. The Pharmacy Guild is very proud to be partnering with COSBOA in this important initiative. And there are 5,900 pharmacies right across Australia, just like there is here in the Queen Street Pharmacy in Woollahra, and Margaret is the local pharmacist and the owner of this great small business. You just look up and down the street, you’ve got the butcher, you've got the baker, you've got the local coffee shop. And these strip shopping centres have never been more important. And during the global pandemic that we've had, we've really been heartened to see that locals are supporting locals by supporting small businesses like the Queen Street Pharmacy. And we know they're making a great effort, not only to stay open when others close, to provide essential services in health to their local community, but they're also transforming digitally. So, you can access them, not just when their doors are open, but you can access them on their mobile phone and you can order things online as well. So, congratulations to the Minister, thanks to Dave for hosting us and well done to COSBOA.


Thanks, Trent. So I’d encourage everyone, ‘Go Local First’, shop local first. Get out to your local shops, your local small businesses, engage with them, shop with them, engage with your community. That's our great hope and great encouragement. We’re so proud to work with COSBOA as you extend that campaign and really encourage local communities.

Happy to take any questions on this initiative first and then we're happy to do wider points after that.

Superb. Well, let me just ask COSBOA and the Pharmacy Guild to step aside and Dave and I will take any wider issues you may have.


On the potential recipients of the Disaster Relief Grant have said it’s too complicated and there are too many exemptions. Are you confident it’ll be effective?


Absolutely. We encourage anyone who’s affected by the second week of shutdown, in this case in Victoria, just go to myGov. Two million Australians use myGov every single day. It's the largest authenticated platform in the country; 20 million users have signed up to it. Go to myGov, connect, follow the prompts there. It's fairly straightforward.


Some people have received as little as $50 a week of government support, and now they’re ineligible. Do you have anything to say to them?


If someone is on a primary payment, even if it's a small primary payment – let's take your example of $50 – and if they're out of work for two weeks, they simply claim that two weeks’ worth on their primary payments. So they would actually get the full rate of JobSeeker for those two weeks they're out of work. That's how the income support system works. It works on a fortnightly basis. That's why this payment excludes those on a primary welfare payment because they would get the top-up through the welfare system.