$15 million is being provided for tailored programs to support small business owners’ mental health and wellbeing, including through the NewAccess for Small Business Owners program and the Small Business Debt Helpline.
The NewAccess for Small Business Owners program is a free, confidential one-on-one mental health coaching program delivered by Beyond Blue.
The program provides small business owners with up to six structured sessions via telehealth with a trained mental health coach. Coaches have a small business background, allowing them to better understand the challenges small business owners may face. No GP referral or mental health treatment plan is required.
The Small Business Debt Helpline is a dedicated small business financial counselling service delivered by Financial Counselling Australia. It provides free, independent, confidential and impartial phone-based support to small business owners nationally regardless of the cause of their financial hardship.
Under the previous government, funding for these programs was due to cease on 31 December 2022.
The Australian Government has extended this funding to ensure small businesses continue to receive support.
The Australian Government recognises the significant challenges many small businesses have been facing and is committed to helping to improve the sector’s long‑term resilience.
Recent research published by Treasury shows that many small business owners have struggled with mental health challenges over the past few years.
More information about the NewAccess for Small Business Owners program is available by calling 1300 945 301 or on the Beyond Blue website. Small business owners can contact the Small Business Debt Helpline by calling 1800 413 828 or via the Small Business Debt Helpline website.
Quotes attributable to Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters
“I understand that many small businesses are doing it tough, and I want them to know that they are not alone and support is available.
“Our small businesses play a crucial role at the heart of our local community and in building a strong national economy.
"Across the Bendigo electorate there are more than 11,000* small businesses, that’s the vast majority of businesses in our region. They are the engine room of our local economy and employ thousands of locals.
"It's rare not to find a small business owner on the shop floor or in the kitchen. They are often hard workers who arrive first and rarely finish on time.
"I would urge small businesses to access these free government‑funded programs that provide confidential support from coaches and counsellors who understand how small businesses work.”
*Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, cat no. 8165.0 Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits, June 2018 to June 2022