Federal and State to provide support for workers and businesses to see them through Lockdown Five

The Federal and State Governments have united to provide much-needed assistance for Victorian workers and businesses impacted by Lockdown Five.

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Following strong advocacy from the Victorian Chamber for assistance to flow immediately, the Federal and State Governments have announced new support for Victorian businesses and workers, including changes to the Federal Government support package that will enable Victorians to access support immediately. 

Victorian Chamber Chief Executive Paul Guerra welcomed the joint support. 

“Seeing our political leaders come together to provide this much-needed assistance promptly creates certainty and will enable businesses and workers to get through this difficult period. We look ahead to next Wednesday with a real desire to snap back to last Wednesday’s trading conditions. And then from there, to avoid a sixth lockdown, our shared goal should be to see vaccinations increase at an accelerated pace,” he said. 

State Government support 

The State Government has announced a $200 million targeted business support package including $2000 grants for businesses whose staff cannot work from home with a payroll up to $10 million, including sole traders, $3000 Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund grants and an Events Support Fund for businesses impacted by cancelled bookings and shows. `

The grants will be automatically paid to businesses that qualified under the last round of the business support grants and should be paid into bank accounts early next week. 

In announcing the assistance today, Premier Daniel Andrews said: “I know and understand that this is not easy. No one wants to be locked down but we had no choice and these additional cases overnight, and particularly some of the contexts of these cases, I think confirm for all Victorians that we had to make that tough call.”  

Federal Government support 

The Federal Government has announced that the COVID-19 Disaster Recovery Payment will be paid to workers to see them through Lockdown Five, which commenced at 11.59pm on Thursday, 15 July and is scheduled to conclude at 11.59pm on Tuesday, 20 July. 

The increased weekly payment of $600 applies for people who usually work more than 20 hours per week and $375 per week for those who normally do less than 20 hours of work and there is no liquid asset test. The Federal Government will fund payments for Victorians who work or live in a Commonwealth-declared COVID-19 Hotspot including Greater Melbourne, Moorabool Shire, the City of Greater Geelong, Borough of Queenscliffe and the Surf Coast Shire. 

The Victorian Government will fund payments for Victorians who live outside of these areas but are still subject to the lockdown. 

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said: “It’s going to be a very difficult and trying time for Victorians, given it’s our fifth lockdown and the last one was just over a month ago but if we can get on top of this outbreak then hopefully we can open up again and people can get back to work, businesses can open their doors and, importantly, kids can go back to school too.” 

Member survey results 

This Victorian Chamber undertook a snap survey of our members on 14-15 July regarding the need for this support. Of the responses from businesses: 

  • 56 per cent recorded a reduction in revenue of more than 30 per cent during Lockdown Four 
  • 13 per cent accessed the Federal Government’s COVID-19 Disaster Payment during Lockdown Four 
  • Four per cent of businesses’ workers accessed the Federal Government’s COVID-19 Disaster Payment during Lockdown Four 
  • 75 per cent believe the NSW support package should be retrospectively applied to Victorian businesses. 

For the latest information, eligibility criteria and directions on how to apply for grants to the Services Australia website and the Business Victoria website.  

More information and help 

For more information about what requirements are in place and what resources are available for your business, visit the Victorian Chamber’s COVID-19 resources page here

As always, the most up-to-date information about restrictions are available on the Victorian Government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) website. For information about how restrictions affect your business, visit the Business Victoria website

If you, as an employer or an employer’s representative feel unsure about what your organisation has in place or would like help in putting a plan in place, please do not hesitate to contact the Victorian Chamber’s Health, Safety and Wellbeing (HSW) team on 03 8662 5196. 

Members can also call our Workplace Relations Advice Line on 03 8662 5222 to discuss their employment obligations and any issues that arise. 

Grant Finder 

The VCCI is excited to announce our latest service for our members: Grant Finder. Find every government grant and support available to help you build, grow, and expand your business. 

To learn more about the Victorian Chamber Grant Finder, you will be able to visit our dedicated webpage once it goes live later this month. In the meantime, you can read our explainer here

Not a member? Join before 16 July to get your full membership fee back in bonus credits plus access to the Victorian Chamber Grant Finder when available. 

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