The rapid response to COVID-19 brings risk
The COVID-19 pandemic has required fast delivery of new government programs, including payments to businesses and individuals. This has provided timely support to the community but increased the risk that some payments may not go to the most appropriate people.
Our recent report to parliament—Queensland Government response to COVID-19 (Report 3: 2020–21)—highlighted the importance of government-led programs being supported by sound controls to manage additional risks, as well as effective governance and leadership.
QRIDA has provided almost $1 billion in loans under the COVID-19 Jobs Support Loan Scheme to businesses in need. Given the uncertain economic conditions, it is difficult to estimate the ability of these businesses to repay the loans.
More than 11,000 applications were received over five days for round one of another pandemic‑related program—Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grants, provided by the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training. Additional support and new processes were established to respond to the demand for the grants.
Also, to help businesses with cash flow, the government has reduced the time it takes to pay non‑government suppliers—from 19 days to four days.