The scheme, which the government is considering as a post-JobKeeper option, would be available to business owners still suffering as a result of the pandemic.

Australian small business and family enterprise ombudsman Kate Carnell, who has been calling on the government to introduce such a scheme since April last year, said it would help businesses “survive and employ again”.

“A revenue contingent loan scheme would give small businesses the confidence they need to seek funding, so they can survive and employ again,” Ms Carnell said.

When JobKeeper and the rent relief program end in March, Ms Carnell says access to credit will be critical to keeping small businesses afloat.

“Sudden lockdowns and border closures have hit small businesses hard in recent weeks. It’s no wonder they are reluctant to take on additional bank debt when conditions can deteriorate without warning,” Ms Carnell said.

The loans would be funded by the federal government and capped at a percentage of the small business’ annual revenue.

With a number of salons expected to be forced to shut their doors for good once the pandemic support winds down in the coming months, a HECS-style loan scheme would potentially be a life line for those salon owners.

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