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'Acting for change’

19 July 2022

Rugby Union
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LETTERS: Govt grant ‘delay frustrating’

Thursday 24 March 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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LETTERS: Govt grant ‘delay frustrating’

Dear Editor, it seems that one cannot get it right, you have Sole Trader Grant application on a waiting list that has taken more than three weeks to process, when your application was already submitted on the first of the month.

You pick up on numerous mistakes by the assessment officer and correct them, yet they should know the criteria of Sole Trader Grant. Seems to me that MFEM needs to start employing those that have common sense, initiative and life skill of being organised in this particular area – i.e. Sole Trader Grant assessment officer. Instead of those that have high qualifications, etc.

I have been emailing back and forth requesting an answer on what’s (reason for) the hold up. They ask me to be patient due to staff shortage and many applications. If you hadn’t picked up on their mistake and corrected them, then the hold up on applications wouldn’t be so frustrating. No response from the high man in there Alan Richardson despite many attempts through email asking for an answer

Now for the last of the Sole Trader Grant’s for April, they have halved it which equates to $500 with applicants still having to prove that their business has made 30 per cent loss of income. Why can’t they pay it out automatically and be done with it. As I heard this is what they had first done when Covid first hit the country.

I don’t know what it is, if you ask me there is heaps of finance support for wage subsidy and Sole Trader Grant. What about the child benefit, the destitute benefit? It is these two that have lost out on financial support since Covid started!

(Name and address supplied)

Revenue Management Division’s response:

There are many reasons why a Sole Trader grant may take longer than normal to assess and approve. Without knowing who this Sole Trader applicant is the reasons for the alleged delays cannot be reviewed or commented on.

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and in addition to routine daily tasks, the Revenue Management Division (RMD) has administered the Wage Subsidy, Trading Subsidy, Business Grant and Sole Trader Grant. To date approximately 32,803 reviews have been carried out on the applications assessed and $103 million distributed to qualifying applicants. Delays may arise due to staff resourcing constraints as RMD takes on this extra work. In saying this, since the arrival of Covid-19 our focus has been on distributing funds to eligible applicants.

The Sole Trader Grant process becomes a time consuming process when applicants do not provide the required records to support their application. Often this is the cause of delays. It is worth noting that the Government has provided financial support for Sole Traders for the past two years. Since the commencement of the Sole Trader Grant the qualifying criteria has included a requirement to provide supporting documentation.

Alan is not responding to the comments made as he is no longer part of the ERP (Economic Response Plan)/ERR (Economic Recovery Response) support team.

RMD are not able to comment on the Destitute Benefit or Child Benefit as they are not administered by RMD.