20 August 2021


The current pressures on small, medium and large businesses in the Upper Hunter is now beyond anything we have experienced since the recession. If lockdowns continue, alongside the lack of vaccines, we will not see our regions re-open in the same way they did after the lockdown in 2020, this year there will be many more business casualties. This is the reality we now face.

Despite the Hunter only experiencing a few weeks of lockdown the extent of the Sydney lockdown was impacting our businesses well before the last two weeks. The Singleton Business Chamber are hearing from businesses small and large that the level of financial support and the flexibility with that support is not meeting the needs of businesses. The level available will not enable them to survive and come out the other side of these challenging times.

Sue Gilroy, President of the Singleton Business Chamber is regularly speaking with local business owners and hearing their harrowing stories of struggle. Just this week Sue heard of one local business owner who is now suicidal due to the current crisis. Sue Gilroy is deeply concerned by the lack of government attention for our regions and says:

“With the lack of financial support, and flexibility for who can claim support, we are very sadly going to see a possible escalation of business owners in similar circumstances in the coming weeks. Additional financial support and flexibility needs to be urgently considered for businesses. We need to take a look at how advanced our regional offerings are and ask ourselves what this will look like if our small, medium enterprises, plus some big businesses, are forced to close permanently.”

Sue Gilroy adds “I was pleased to see that the Deputy Premier is considering options for regional areas to ease restrictions where there are no active cases or exposure sites, I hope this is a reality and happens before it is too late.”

“I do however strongly disagree with the Deputy Premier when he says that the regions are not committing themselves to vaccine uptake. I hear each and every day of the difficulty in getting vaccinated in the Upper Hunter. Residents are looking for somewhere to go to be vaccinated in the Hunter and are still not able to achieve a decent timeframe for receiving the jab. Not only is travelling in and out of LGA’s a risk of the virus spreading but it is totally inefficient.

Where is our Upper Hunter max vaccination hub? Our GP’s are quite literally defeated and on their knees. How can you lock regions down with no reasonable time frames around vaccinations and re-opening? Our communities are desperate to do the right thing but are faced with challenge after challenge, the lockdown and financial challenges are about to have us at breaking point.

We need a much greater and immediate response from our region’s representative Deputy Premier John Barilaro in solving these issues. Greater financial support with more flexibility is needed for businesses immediately and we need to end this lockdown as quickly as possible in areas with no known transmission.”

The Singleton Business Chamber represents the concerns of the business community and can be contacted to discuss ways of supporting business through this crisis on or 0400 460 412.

For interviews, please contact Sue Gilroy on 0408 646 317.

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