The past few months have been difficult for those Dealers navigating through uncertain times as we continue to face unpredictable state lockdowns.
Various states have entered COVID-related lockdowns over the past months and impacted dealerships are continuing to adapt and respond to the ever-changing situation and local government guidelines. Many members have been forced to close their showrooms and operate on a COVID-safe click and collect basis to keep their business running and deliver cars to customers, which have often been ordered months ago.
Dealers are doing their best to ensure the safety and welfare of their staff and customers and it was pleasing to see, that despite the restrictions, Service & Repair departments are generally allowed to stay open. This allows our members to continue to perform essential works to keep Australia’s vehicle fleet safe and emergency services on the roads.
While some states have been successful in implementing short and sharp lockdowns others, such as NSW are battling to contain the spread of the virus. The threat of continued and new lockdowns remains and will be with us for some time until Australia’s vaccination efforts improve. Our thoughts are with those members in the worst affected areas – our Sydney members are stuck in a strict lockdown and case numbers continue to climb.
The longer the lockdown lasts, the more dire the situation will become as dealerships struggle to cover ongoing fixed costs like rent and staff. The state Government has introduced business support measures like JobSaver payments, but turnover thresholds do not consider the high turnover/low profit margins nature of our industry; grouping arrangements count against us; and the turnover test does not consider the issue of carryover in our industry.
The AADA is making the case with both Federal and State Governments to review the current thresholds for business support payments and provide assistance to help Dealers to keep staff employed and recover from the current wave.