On 21 July, Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula announced that the Victorian Government will provide Victorian businesses with a further $282.5 million in support – on top of the $200 million put forward five days prior.
The State Government claimed during the announcement on 21 July, that approximately $180 million had already been paid to more than 86,000 Victorian businesses - less than five days since the initial support was announced last week. The Victorian Government also said the State has so far provided almost $7 billion in direct economic support for businesses over the course of the pandemic.
“We’re making sure the businesses most affected by the lockdown have a chance to emerge from it in decent shape, so they can continue to play their vital role as employers and drivers of Victoria’s economy,” said Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula in a statement.
The Victorian Chamber has been campaigning on behalf of our members to the State Government to expand and increase the support on offer to better reflect the burden placed on businesses. While we are pleased to see the Victorian Government is listening, the exclusion of businesses directly and indirectly impacted by the lockdowns and restrictions from support based on industry classification (ANZSIC code) is yet to be addressed.
“We will continue to advocate for impacted businesses not currently eligible under the various ANZSIC business sector codes to ensure they get the support they so desperately need and more needs to be done to alleviate rent pressure, especially for those renting high-value premises,” said Victorian Chamber Chief Executive, Paul Guerra.
“As we've said time and again, the best support we can give business is to enable them to trade in a viable way, so let's get through these next few days and get back to zero community transmission - and then the government should allow business to shift back to pre-lockdown settings.”
State Government support
On 16 July, the Victorian Government announced a $200 million targeted business support package which included $2000 grants for businesses whose staff could not work (with a payroll up to $10 million) - including sole traders, grants of $3000 as part of the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund and an Events Support Fund for businesses impacted by cancelled bookings.
On 21 July, a further $282.5 million has been put forward by the Victorian Government to help businesses survive the extended lockdown. Businesses who had successfully accessed support packages during Lockdown Four in May-June, will automatically receive top-ups for the lockdown extension to be made in coming days.
Businesses that had chosen not to apply for these support programs during Lockdown Four, or had been ineligible to apply but are now eligible, will be able to apply for the July lockdown support payments and will be considered outside of the automatic top-up process.
Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund
As part of the latest support extension, eligible Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund recipients will now be able to receive an additional $4,200, taking the total support payment to $7,200.
Business Costs Assistance Program
Recipients of the Business Costs Assistance Program will also now be eligible for an additional $2,800, increasing the total grant to $4,800.
Alpine business support
As Lockdown Five has come at the worst time for alpine businesses, alpine hospitality, retail, accommodation, and experience operators that were eligible for grants of up to $15,000 will receive an additional $3,000 through a new $1.2 million injection from the State Government - on top of any entitlements under the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund or Business Costs Assistance Program.
Impacted Public Events Support Program
Eligible public events and public events suppliers affected by Lockdown Five will be able to receive support grants of up to $25,000 and $10,000 respectively, through an extension of the Impacted Public Events Support Program. This is an invitation-only program for events registered under the Public Events Framework.
Live Performance Support Programs
A new round of the Live Performance Support programs, with funding of up to $7,000 for presenters and up to $2,000 for suppliers, has also been announced.
Sporting Clubs Grants Program
A new round of the Sporting Clubs Grants Program will provide community sport and active recreation organisations $2,000 grants for events that have been unable to proceed or will have to be cancelled or postponed. The funding as part of this grant is only available to organisations that are not eligible to seek funding from the Business Costs Assistance Program.
Federal Government support
On 16 July, the Federal Government announced that Victorian workers would be able to access a COVID-19 Disaster Payment to ease the financial burden through Lockdown Five. The ‘event dates’ outlined by the Federal Government for Lockdown Five is currently set as 16 July to 20 July 2021 – the original planned dates for Lockdown Five.
According to the Victorian government, discussions between the State and Federal Governments have confirmed most microbusinesses not registered for GST will soon be eligible for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment of $600 or $375 per seven-day period. The Victorian Government is planning to establish a concierge service to help these businesses access this support.
“Small businesses are central players in every community across Victoria, and we are backing them at every step of this crucial fight,” said Minister for Small Business Jaala Pulford.
All workers must meet all the eligibility criteria* outlined below to access the support payment:
- you are an Australian resident or hold a visa that gives you the right to work in Australia
- you are 17 years or older
- you are not getting an income support payment, ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Dad and Partner Pay or Parental Leave Pay
- you are not getting the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment, a state or territory pandemic payment or a state small business payment for the same period
- you have lost income and don’t have any appropriate paid leave entitlements
*Note: the liquid assets rule no longer applies
Victorian workers must also meet the following criteria:
- you live in, work from or have visited a Commonwealth-declared COVID-19 hotspot that is subject to a State-restricted movement order, or you live in or work from other areas of Victoria
- you were unable to earn your usual income of 8 hours or more or a full day’s work because you were in the COVID-19 hotspot and are subject to restricted movement or you live or work from other areas of Victoria.
According to the Services Australia website, claims for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment will be open from 23 July until 19 August 2021 and claims will be covered from Friday 16 July.
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 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.