More financial support to get Victorian businesses and workers through final weeks of lockdown

The State and Federal Governments have announced a further $2.27 billion in grants and financial support to assist Victorian businesses and workers struggling through the final weeks of lockdown.

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The new joint round of financial support will automatically be distributed to more than 160,000 Victorian businesses across the state over the next six weeks, at which point Victoria is expected to reach 80 per cent double vaccination.

The $2.27 billion funding package will go a long way in supporting those businesses most affected by restrictions as Victoria reaches the 70 per cent, then 80 per cent fully vaccinated thresholds set out in the state’s Roadmap to Deliver the National Plan.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said this package comes on top of the Federal Government's more than $45 billion in direct economic support to Victorian households and businesses since the start of the pandemic.

“The Morrison Government understands the significant impact lockdowns and border closures have had on small and medium businesses across Victoria which is why safely opening up in line with the plan agreed at National Cabinet is so important.”

The latest round of support includes:

  • Up to $1.26 billion in additional payments through the Business Costs Assistance Program
  • up to $407.5 million for the six-week period added to the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021
  • Approximately $600 million added to the Small Business COVID Hardship Fund

Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas said the funding will ensure businesses have the best chance of sustaining the final weeks of lockdown and recovering strongly.

“Victorian businesses have endured so much over the past 20 months and they’ve been amazingly resilient as we’ve faced challenge after challenge.

“We know that the bills don’t stop just because revenue does and we are proud to stand with the businesses that form the backbone of our economy.”

The announcement came as the state recorded another grim pandemic milestone, reaching a quadruple figure number of COVID-19 cases for the first time. Today also marks 242 days that Victorians have spent in lockdown since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.

While the Victorian Chamber is pleased to see the State and Federal Governments once again unite in their support for Victorian businesses, it is a harsh reality that every day lockdown continues, more businesses are being lost.

Victorian Chamber Chief Executive Paul Guerra said, “We can see the finish line but there are still many weeks of struggles ahead for Victorians and the business community. This latest round of funding will hopefully see businesses make it through and be able to commence trading once we reach the 70, and then 80 per cent double vaccination rates. 

“Today is day 242 of lockdown – that’s 242 days of impacted trading, and then on the days between where we have been open, it has been under restricted trading conditions. 

“Financial support is crucial, but the best support we can give business is the ability to trade. We want to get back to doing what we do best, which is serving customers and servicing the community. The Victorian Chamber will continue pushing for the Victorian Roadmap to align more closely with what NSW has planned, with greater cap numbers for hospitality and retail.”

This latest package brings the total amount allocated to helping Victorian businesses get through lockdowns to $6.6 billion since late July 2021. The Victorian Chamber encourages members to apply for all the assistance to which they are entitled and will continue providing information and assistance on how to do so via our website.

Business Costs Assistance Program (BCAP)

Funding of up to $1.26 billion will provide automatic payments to recipients of the Business Costs Assistance Program across October and into the first half of November.

Businesses will be eligible to receive two fortnightly payments between 1-29 October on a rising scale.

Eligible non-employing businesses who were recipients of the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two or July Extension will receive additional automatic payments of $1,000 a week, increasing to $2,800 per week (annual payroll below $650,000), $5,600 a week (payroll of $650,000 to $3 million) or $8,400 (payroll of $3 million to $10 million) to cover ongoing costs such as wages, rent, utilities and insurance.

Businesses that remain closed or severely restricted between 70 and 80 per cent double dose will receive an automatic payment for the period from 29 October to 13 November.

The BCAP was designed to support businesses significantly affected due to lockdown but continue to incur costs. For a business to be eligible, it must be registered as operating in an eligible industry sector identified in the List of Eligible ANZSIC classes (as defined by the ANZSIC class linked to the business’ ABN).

For more details and eligibility criteria, head to the Business Victoria website for more information and to apply.

Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 

Licensed venues that previously received grants under the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 or July Extension programs will automatically receive further payments in October of either $5,000, $10,000 or $20,000 per week, depending on the size of the venue’s capacity.

The same tiered system that applied for the last round of support will continue to be apply: 

  • $5,000 grant per premises with a capacity of 0 to 99 patrons
  • $10,000 grant per premises with a capacity of 100 to 499 patrons
  • $20,000 grant per premises with a capacity of 500+ patrons

Between 70 and 80 per cent double dose, payments for licensed premises in Melbourne will be reduced by 25 per cent, and in regional Victoria by 50 per cent as the state continues to progress to greater levels of freedom.

More information about the programs is available on the Business Victoria website. 

Small Business COVID Hardship Fund

Approximately $600 million has been injected into the Small Business COVID Hardship Fund, bringing the total program to $1.3 billion.

The existing $700 million funding pool has been fully subscribed and the new allocation means 65,000 businesses will now be supported with one-off grants of $20,000.

The Small Business COVID Hardship Fund is targeted towards businesses that are allowed to continue operating during lockdown but are restricted in their ability to generate revenue – such as hospitality and retail stores located within shopping centres.

Only businesses registered for GST and that are able to demonstrate a reduction in turnover of greater than 70 per cent are eligible.

Visit the Business Victoria website for more details and information on how to apply.

Help and information

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 is 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 Victorian Chamber encourages members to use our latest, game-changing service, 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. 

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