Two days after the announcement of Victoria’s Lockdown extension, the State and Federal Governments have announced another round of financial support that will automatically be distributed to approximately 175,000 Victorian businesses across the state until 30 September. The latest tranche of support will go a long way to helping businesses cope during the next four-weeks.
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said, “The Morrison Government understands the significant impact extended lockdowns have on individuals and businesses right across Victoria.
“We will continue to support Victorians, with our ongoing economic assistance to meet the challenges of the Delta strain.”
The latest round of support includes:
- $1.6 billion in additional payments through the Business Costs Assistance Program
- $298 million added to the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021
- $448 million added to the Small Business COVID Hardship Fund
- $11.2 million in automatic top-up payments as part of an Alpine Support Package
Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas said, “We are responding to changing circumstances with a package that is bigger than anything we’ve announced before, and it’s the right thing to do. It’s right for the dedicated business owners across the state and it’s right for their workers.”
“This package will support our hardest-hit sectors and businesses and ensure they can keep paying the expenses that don’t go away just because the doors are shut.”
The announcement came as the state recorded another day of triple figure COVID-19 cases, and marked 216 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 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, “It continues to be an extremely tough year for business and – particularly after this week - morale is at an all-time low. This funding extension will help businesses to make their way around the Monopoly board and try to hold on until they are able to trade viably again.
“While this funding is appreciated – and crucial – business needs a clear roadmap that gives certainty around when they can expect to be able to open and trade again. We need to get off this COVID-19 treadmill and have a destination to sprint towards.”
Business Costs Assistance Program (BCAP)
Businesses who were recipients of the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two or July Extension will receive additional automatic payments of $2,800 a 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.
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 payments of either $5,000, $10,000 or $20,000 per week during the extended lockdown, depending on the size of their 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
More information about the programs is available on the Business Victoria website.
Small Business COVID Hardship Fund
An additional $448 million has been injected into the Small Business COVID Hardship Fund, bringing the total to $700 million. The fund allows small and medium-sized businesses to access grants of $20,000 - increased from $14,000 from the previous round of support.
The Small Business COVID Hardship Fund is targeted toward 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 are able to demonstrate a reduction in turnover of greater than 70 per cent are eligible.
Applications for the Small Business COVID Hardship Fund will close on 10 September.
Visit the Business Victoria website for more details and information on how to apply.
Alpine Support Package – September Top-Up
Alpine businesses will share in $11.2 million in support through another automatic top-up payment of between $10,000 and $40,000.
These payments will assist alpine businesses through the remainder of the ski season, with a top-up payment available for approximately 430 businesses based on and off the mountain.
For off-mountain businesses, the payment will be $10,000, for on-mountain business with no employees, $20,000, and for on-mountain businesses with employees, $40,000.
COVID-19 Disaster Payments
Commonwealth COVID-19 Disaster Payments for Melbourne workers and eligible sole-trader businesses have been extended to 30 September - in line with the extended restrictions.
Under the Federal Government’s COVID-19 Disaster Payment program, workers and some businesses can receive a set payment of $450 for people who have lost from eight to 20 hours work or a full day of work (over seven days), and $750 for 20 hours or more of work lost. People who receive certain Commonwealth income support are eligible to receive a $200 payment where they have lost eight hours or more of work due to the lockdowns.
This payment is available to full-time, part-time, and casual workers.
Visit the Services Australia website for more information.
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.
The Victorian Chamber 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.
Not a member? Join before 31 August to get your full membership fee back in bonus credits plus access to the Victorian Chamber Grant Finder.