Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, has welcomed the Coalition Government’s commitment to continue helping New England businesses as they move into the recovery phase of the coronavirus crisis.
“The Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme will be extended to support small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) to get access to the funding they need to adapt and innovate during the coronavirus crisis.
“Similar to the Regional Investment Corporation (RIC), which, as Minister, I set up as a condition of the Coalition Agreement with the then Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to help farmers, these loans are helping other small businesses in New England. The only solution to our current economic problem is for the economy to become fully operational again and these loans are making that happen,” Mr Joyce said.
Under the existing Scheme, the Government is providing an unprecedented level of support to SMEs in partnership with 44 approved lenders by guaranteeing 50 per cent of new unsecured loans to SMEs. The Scheme has already seen more than 15,600 businesses accept loans worth $1.5 billion.
The next phase of the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme will help New England businesses move out of hibernation, successfully adapt to the new COVID-safe economy and invest for the future.
Key changes to the Scheme include:
• Extending the purpose of loans able to be provided beyond working capital, so a wider range of investment can be funded;
• Permitting secured lending (excluding commercial or residential property);
• Increasing the maximum loan size to $1 million (from $250,000) per borrower;
• Increasing the maximum loan term to five years (from three years); and
• Allowing lenders the discretion to offer a repayment holiday period.
Mr Joyce said the expanded Scheme will shift from providing access to working capital to helping businesses stay afloat during the crisis to now also enabling them to access more affordable and longer term credit so that they can invest for their future.
“The initial phase of the Scheme remains available for new loans issued by eligible lenders until 30 September,2020. The second phase of the Scheme will start on 1 October, 2020 and will be available until 30 June, 2021. The Coalition Government will continue to support small businesses as they seek to rebuild, adapt and create jobs on the other side of the coronavirus crisis,” Mr Joyce said.