Andrews' $290 million stimulus package faces backlash over narrow eligibility

The Andrews government’s additional $290 million support package for Victorian business is facing backlash over its very specific eligibility criteria.

The package – unveiled on Monday by Premier Andrews – focused largely on boosting outdoor dining capabilities for restaurants, pubs and cafes, as well as establishing a sole trade support fund.

The fund would see cash grants from about $15,000 to $30,000 awarded to business owners of gyms, accommodation and food services, however, only those who were tenants or licensees on commercial premises would be eligible.

Under that threshold, only 30,000 of more than 400,000 sole traders would be eligible to receive a support grant.

Victorian opposition leader Michael O’Brien called the criteria cruel as it excluded many struggling businesses.

Australian Hotels Association Victoria President David Canny told Sky News while it would help some small businesses, the industry remained “right on the edge”.

“Our industry is right on the edge, mostly been closed since March, this is a little bit of a bandaid in many ways, it might get us through a couple of weeks but we need a genuine plan to accelerate out of this,” he said.

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