After coming under fire for the failures of its first small business hardship grant program, the government's announcement of additional funding with a different application process has been welcomed.
Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Michael Bailey said the new program, a total package of $20 million announced by Small Business Minister Sarah Courtney on Wednesday, would provide the support needed to keep businesses open.
Grants of $5000 will be made available to 3000 businesses through a competitive, merit-based program which will be assessed by an independent panel.
Mr Bailey said the new program had a more refined and sharper delivery model.
"The first model was cleverly done and put money out quickly to businesses. This one provides more time for business to get their numbers together to apply for funding," Mr Bailey said.
"Talking to businesses and other industry associations, they are very satisfied by the number of businesses being supported and the amount that is being offered to those businesses.
"To keep our economy going we are going to need to have these sorts of packages until we can open our borders up and life can go back to normal."
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Labor small business spokeswoman Anita Dow said the new round of support measures was a common-sense move after many businesses missed out on assistance under the previous package.
"It appears the flaws of the original small business program may be avoided in this new round with a commitment that applications will not be assessed before the program closes," Ms Dow said.
"We hope too that oversight by an independent panel will ensure a fairer outcome from the assessment process."
Tasmanian Small Business Council chief executive Robert Mallett welcomed the program but renewed his call for the government to lift all the remaining COVID restrictions on businesses.
"Due to the government's strong decisions and our natural advantages, I think the Premier said that we are in one of the safest places in the world, it continues to make no sense that businesses here are forced to operate under restrictive COVID-19 rules when it is generally accepted Tasmania is now COVID-19 free," Mr Mallett said.
"New Zealand has no COVID restrictions, and last week in Western Australia 22,000 people went to the football - yet here you can't even play a game of eight-ball at the pub for fear of catching a disease which isn't here."
Delivering additional supports to small businesses with a round of grants or loans was one priority recommendation made by the Premier's Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council in its interim report which was handed to government earlier this month.
"The new package announced today delivers these recommendations, and complements the recently announced trade and export support through the Accelerating Trade Grant Program," Ms Courtney said.
Premier Peter Gutwein said he expected cabinet would receive a report back from relevant departments on the PESRAC's other recommendations in the coming weeks.
"I have looked at the PESRAC report in detail and I am very pleased with the work they have done and I am certain that their recommendations will us inform both immediate actions, but also the coming November budget," Mr Gutwein said.
But Labor leader Rebecca White said urgent action was needed on the recommendations.
"Even though [the report] contains a number of urgent initiatives to get Tasmanians back into jobs and restore confidence in the economy, we still have no indication from the Premier of when or even if he plans to act on the recommendations," Ms White said.
"The Premier's silence on these urgent recommendations is concerning, particularly in light of the latest jobs data showing 2,300 jobs were lost in Tasmania in the past fortnight alone."