Announced on 28 July by Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas, Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula, and Minister for Small Business Jaala Pulford, a further $400 million of support for Victorian businesses and workers.
The $400 million package will be added to the support measures previously announced during Lockdown Five and will be equally funded by the Federal and State Governments.
Included in the latest announcement of support for Victorian businesses:
- $156 million Business Continuity Fund
- $85 million Small Business COVID-19 Hardship Fund
- $80 million Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme
- A further $70 million for the Licensed Hospitality Fund
- $9.8 million in support for Alpine business support
The Victorian Chamber is delighted with today’s announcement following our consistent calls for support from both the State and Federal Governments and submissions on possible support mechanisms. We have listened to our members, and we are pleased to see both levels of government have listened to us.
While this latest support package will be of great benefit to thousands of businesses, we will continue to advocate for events support package to reflect the ongoing challenges the industry is facing, and for the further relaxation of restrictions when appropriate.
“I want to thank the business community: Paul Guerra from the Victorian Chamber and Paddy O’Sullivan from AHA and Rebecca Casson from Master Builders Australia for their input and the incredibly constructive way they have engaged with government over the past couple of weeks,” said Minster Pakula.
Chief Executive of the Victorian Chamber, Paul Guerra has applauded the latest support package designed for businesses who need it most: “We have been in discussions with government – morning, noon and night – to provide input into Victoria’s first co-funded COVID-19 business support package and the respective Minsters have been prepared not only to listen, but also to act.
Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme
Under the reintroduced scheme announced by Minister Pulford, commercial landlords will be required to provide small and medium-sized businesses proportional rent relief if the business has suffered a decline in turnover of more than 30 per cent.
Landlords will soon be able to access an $80 million hardship fund for those who provide rent relief for tenants with a turnover of less than $50 million.
Though tenants and landlords are encouraged to enter negotiations directly, the Victorian Small Business Commission will be available to provide mediation services where an agreement cannot be made.
Legislation will swiftly be introduced to enact the scheme which will be applied from 28 July.
Business Continuity Fund
A $156 million Business Continuity Fund will be established to provide $5,000 grants to approximately 30,000 businesses who have been most affected by the latest COVID-19 restrictions. For example, business such as gyms, cafes and restaurants who are required to enforce density quotients will be eligible.
Payment under this program will be automatic for businesses that have already received funding under the Business Costs Assistance Program.
Businesses located in a CBD who continue to be impacted due to the 25 per cent cap on staff allowed to the office will also be eligible to receive an additional $2,000.
Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund
The Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 has been doubled with an additional $70 million added to the fund to help revaitalise Victoria’s famed hospitality sector. Businesses that have received support payments previously under the program will automatically receive further payments based on patron capacity limits:
- $5,000 per premises for venues with a capacity of 0-199 patrons
- $10,000 per premises for venues with a capacity of 200-499 patrons
- $20,000 per premises for venues with a capacity of 500+ patrons
Businesses operating in the CBD will also receive an additional $2,000 as offices continue to operate at 25 per cent capacity.
Small Business COVID Hardship Fund
While previously announced support payments have helped thousands of small businesses across Victoria, due to strict eligibility criteria, many businesses haven't received much, if any support thus far.
In recognition of these businesses that had previously slipped through the cracks, the Victorian Government will establish an $85 million Small Business COVID Hardship Fund targeted for businesses that have been unable to operate, or have been severely affected by COVID restrictions such as:
- Food take-away businesses in closed sites such as shopping centres.
- Businesses that are open for business, but not able to trade due to customers being closed - wholesalers to cinemas, for example.
- Sole traders and tradespeople who can demonstrate their work are performed in an indoor, restricted setting.
For a business to be eligible for the support payment, businesses will need to be registered for GST and must demonstrate a reduction in turnover of greater than 70 per cent.
Alpine Support Program
Sent into lockdown at the worst possible time, 430 Alpine based businesses – on and off mountain – will receive a further $9.8 million of support with grants ranging between $5,000 and $20,000.
These grants will be available on top of entitlements under the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund or Business Costs Assistance Program.
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.
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.