They were promised financial aid, but six weeks later many are still waiting

Her accountant has applied on behalf of the Surry Hills business but is yet to hear anything. Ms Bilda said they planned to do the same for the Lakemba cafe but the requirements were onerous.


“There’s all this criteria and paperwork and it makes you want to say ‘stuff it, I’m probably not eligible’,” Ms Bilda said. ” JobKeeper was a lot simpler.”

Ms Bilda said this lockdown was worse than last year because of the stricter restrictions cutting into the family’s takeaway delivery business.

She said the Surry Hills outlet, run by her daughter, had to close completely because of the lockdown restrictions, while business had shrunk by 80 per cent at the Lakemba shop. The family was surviving because they had living quarters attached to the cafe and could eat the cafe food.

Jason and Karen Cornford from Glebe are the husband-and-wife team behind Limitless Locations, which provides locations for film and television shoots.

Mr Cornford said they had lost 91 per cent of their business since lockdown started at the end of June and were surviving on their credit card.

The couple applied for the NSW business grant on July 21, the day applications opened. They supplied all the information requested on line but were later sent an email requesting more information, which they also supplied immediately.

“We’re desperate for financial assistance,” Mr Cornford said. “It is frustrating and they’ve moved the goalposts with the criteria as well.”

On Friday, they received an email from Service NSW saying there had been a large number of applications and they hoped to make a decision within a week. Late Saturday afternoon, just before press time, they received a call saying a grant had been approved.

The couple has also applied for JobSaver and is awaiting the outcome of that separately.

NSW Labor Leader Chris Minns said he had heard plenty of stories from small businesses who have had challenges accessing support through Service NSW and delays in payment.

“The support payments for small business must get out the door and into the hands of business owners now – it is well past due,” Mr Minns said. “These small businesses are hanging by a thread – some may not recover from this prolonged lockdown.”

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