Jim’s Mowing founder Jim Penman slams $3 billion Victorian coroanvirus package as a ‘sick joke’

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The founder of Jim’s Mowing has blasted the Victorian government for banning his franchisees from working and then offering traders a $3billion small business package.

Since August 2, Melbourne residents have been banned from hiring someone to mow their lawn or clean their house as part of the state’s strict, Stage Four coronavirus lockdown.

Jim Penman, the founder of the Jim’s Group company with 3,800 franchisees, has slammed Premier Daniel Andrews’ for shutting the economy, and then on Sunday announcing a $3billion Business Survival and Adaptation Package with handouts of up to $20,000 for affected businesses with a wages bill of up to $10million. 

The founder of Jim's Mowing has blasted the Victorian government for banning his franchisees from working and then offering traders a $3billion small business package

The founder of Jim’s Mowing has blasted the Victorian government for banning his franchisees from working and then offering traders a $3billion small business package

‘This is a sick joke. He throws us out of work, destroys our business for absolutely no reason, no reason at all,’ he told Sky News presenter Paul Murray on Sunday night.

‘He tosses us a few dollars and we’re expected to say, “Thank you, wonderful Premier,”.

‘This is absolute garbage, this is absolutely obscene. I can’t tell you how furious I am at what’s going on.’

Mr Penman, an outspoken critic of Melbourne’s Stage Four restrictions, has also called out the double standard of pet groomers and council grass cutters being allowed to work – as his lawn mowing franchisees were banned.

‘I am shocked and appalled. I cannot comprehend what is happening. He doesn’t even pretend to have any reason.

‘I’ve asked him directly: “What are your reasons for saying that? Why can council operators operate and ours can’t?”

Jim Penman, the founder of the Jim's Group company with 3,800 franchisees, has slammed Premier Daniel Andrews' for shutting the economy, and then on Sunday announcing a $3billion Business Survival and Adaptation Package with handouts of up to $20,000 for affected businesses with a wages bill of up to $10million

Jim Penman, the founder of the Jim’s Group company with 3,800 franchisees, has slammed Premier Daniel Andrews’ for shutting the economy, and then on Sunday announcing a $3billion Business Survival and Adaptation Package with handouts of up to $20,000 for affected businesses with a wages bill of up to $10million

‘This is not health. This is nasty, grubby, power-grabbing politics by a man who cares nothing for the health of this community.’

On Saturday, Mr Andrews announced that pet groomers would be allowed to resume operating from September 28. 

Nonetheless, lawn mower operator who travel more than 5km from home will liable for a $1,652 on-the-spot fine, which a magistrate can increase to $10,000 for repeat offences.

Mr Penman on August 5 called on his franchisees to ignore the state’s Stage Four restrictions and offered to pay their fines, three days after the new level of lockdowns came into effect. 

He is preparing a lawsuit about the Victorian government estimating the stricter lockdowns have cost 615 contractors $3,000 a week in lost earnings. 

While the state government has announced a $3billion small business package, the Institute of Public Affairs think tank estimates the Stage Four restrictions have cost the Victorian economy $3.17billion a week.

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