April 2, 2020

NAVIGATING CENTRELINK 

Joanne Peterson, massage therapist and a sole trader has not only lost her income but is navigating arduous Centrelink hurdles.  

“People will need great patience to get registered with Centrelink,” said Joanne.   

“The intent to claim section on Centrelink online is “extraordinary” asking for every minuscule life detail including the family home, bank details, bank statements, passport numbers, travel history, tax assessments. 

“There will be fallout by business owners as they are likely to not have dealt with Centrelink for years if at all and as such, they will have to update significant details.” 

SKILLED TRADES  

Malcolm Richards, CEO of Master Electricians Australia said, the impacts for electrical sole traders with no employees have been “devastating”. 

“Many of them have lost their entire work order, the work’s been turned off overnight, they don’t know where to turn. It’s unchartered territory.”  

The knock-on effect is huge as electricians with work on non-essential businesses such as pubs, restaurants or hotels are hit the hardest. 

THE CHIROPRACTIC INDUSTRY  

Tina Rankovic, CEO of Chiropractors Australia said, “just like the broader community, no group is immune, many are sole traders which is an issue.  

“They’re running practices and have fixed costs, whether they have two or 20 patients in a week, they’re still going to have to pay their fixed costs.”   

There are two main issues, Tina highlights chiropractors are experiencing: 

Delivering chiropractic treatment has to be hands on “which is entirely inconsistent with the messaging to maintain 1.5 metres while social distancing. They can talk to a patient across a desk but there is typically a treatment involved.”  

Ultimately, they are following all the health guidance and extra cleaning and sanitising. Tina said, “inevitably people are holding back” from chiropractic treatments due to stopping “any unnecessary face to face contact. Anecdotally, some have noticed a drop off of 30% of their patients”. 

“Ambiguity of the definition of essential services” is causing “unnecessary anxiety in practice.”  

Chiropractic Australia is working to “best to support members with timely up to date communications, focussing on the business aspects, Federal Government stimulus package with specific benefits to chiropractors.” They are ensuring “accuracy versus speed” in communicating, “not to exacerbate misinformation”. Tina said, it’s a “dynamic landscape, we have a responsibility to check and check it’s accurate.”  

Business Australia is on hand with a range of resources to help sole traders and non-employing businesses navigate this difficult time, with practical advice and information to help businesses develop strategies to maintain and sustain. Visit our resource hub to find out more. 

This article was originally published on Business Australia and can be viewed here.