Current Business Support Package fails to recognise sole traders.

Victoria’s sole traders face dire circumstances due to current Stage 4 Lockdowns according to Fitness Australia CEO, Barrie Elvish, whose organization represents approximately 3,500 fitness industry sole traders across the state.

He is calling on the Victorian Government to provide more financial support and assistance to this business sector, saying not enough is being done with the current $534 million Business Support Package to ensure they can survive the current shutdowns.

Mr Elvish said:

“In Victoria, there are more than 604,000* small businesses, many of whom are sole traders and it appears to date the Government has provided no means of financial support to these hard-working Australians.”

“The current $534 million Business Support Package extended by the Andrews Government earlier this month fails to recognise or support sole traders that have no employees; they have essentially been forgotten in the grant program. Those employed in the fitness sector have effectively been in some form of shut down since March.”

A recent survey conducted by Fitness Australia on the impact of COVID-19 closures on fitness businesses, sole traders and exercise professionals found:

Fitness Industry Impacts of COVID-19  and JobKeeper Report – Victorian Sole Trader Statistics

  • 5% have lost more than 80% of clients
  • A further 47.5% have lost between 40% – 80% of clients
  • 18% state their revenue is down 100%
  • A further 76% stated it is down between 40% – 99%
  • 40% would last less than 4 weeks without government financial support.

In addition to advocating for more financial support for sole traders, Fitness Australia is also urging the Government to consider fitness and exercise programs conducted by qualified professionals an essential service.

Mr Elvish said:

“Exercise is imperative to our mental health and wellbeing – fitness and exercise needs to be considered an essential service to allow people to continue their regular physical activity; particularly when community anxiety is significantly heightened.”

“This especially applies to Personal Trainers who often work with clients presenting with special needs and/or mental health issues. Protecting and managing mental health during this uncertain and concerning time is essential.

“With the strict hygiene, health and safety measures in place, exercise can be enjoyed in a COVID-safe environment. We have an industry willing to do whatever is required to reopen safety for the benefit of the whole community.”