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Small business owner slams calls for JobSeeker increase



Australia's worker shortage continues to hit bosses hard, with many fearing this could be the year they go under.

Small business owner Joe Galasso, from Sydney's south west, said his shop had been unable to recruit any staff throughout 2021.

"I had to knock back a lot of jobs and lose a lot of money, because I can't get the staff to actually keep the business afloat," he told Today.

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Electricity costs have also played their part in pinching Galasso's wallet.

"It's really, really hard to sort of, keep going and keep the business afloat," he said.

Galasso said he had even been pitching potential work to customers, and offering flexible hours to school students or parents who could work school hours.

"The last week, probably half a dozen business owners have come in and just said all the same thing," he said.

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"They're going to shut their business because they can't get workers."

Galasso also criticised calls for an increase in JobSeeker payments.

"If I want someone to work here 20 hours a week, on school hours, the award wage for retail is $23.50 an hour. Twenty hours is $470," he said.

"They're paying you $450 to stay at home."

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Galasso said he had been in the lighting business for 18 years but he had no idea what lay ahead for him.

"If I can't go out there and get the jobs I used to get and keep the business going, I don't know what the future holds," he said.

Even trying to compete with internet sales was a fraught task, he said, without the staff to attend to that side of the business.

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