NSW government website crashes as businesses rush for cash

The New South Wales government website responsible for business cash grants has buckled and crashed this afternoon, as companies whose revenues have been hit by the Greater Sydney lockdown rush for urgent financial help.

9News political reporter Chris O’Keefe posted the “temporarily unavailable” Service NSW error message on his Twitter account, and said “only 1000 businesses have been able to access money so far”.

The error message stated an “unprecedented demand” for the 2021 COVID-19 business grant had caused the meltdown. The network error was also affecting other online grant application programs, 9News.com.au can confirm.

Many NSW businesses are struggling to stay afloat after 18 months of the coronavirus pandemic.
Many NSW businesses are struggling to stay afloat after 18 months of the coronavirus pandemic. (Getty)

“We’re working through the demand,” the error message continued, asking business owners to “come back to complete your transaction this afternoon”.

Owners were assured they “will not miss out” on the grant if they return later in the day.

A Service NSW told 9News.com.au that a network outage was “affecting a number of grant programs including the 2021 COVID-19 business grant, export assistance, small business fees and charges rebate and the mouse control rebate.”

“Service NSW is investigating the outage and working to restore services as quickly as possible,” the spokesperson said, while apologising for the inconvenience.

9News.com.au understands there is currently no evidence to suggest the outage is associated with a cyber security breach.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian recently announced support packages for businesses caught up in the Greater Sydney lockdown, which is now entering its fourth week.

Businesses which suffer a 30 per cent decline in turnover can receive payments of between $1500 and $10,000 per week.

To qualify for the support, NSW businesses must have an annual turnover between $75,000 and $50 million.

Businesses must also keep staffing levels the same as they were on Tuesday, July 13.

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