A new jointly funded package from the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments will give Victorian small and medium businesses the extra support and confidence they need to recover from the recent lockdown.
The package will deliver an additional $400 million in support to thousands of businesses and includes a $156 million Business Continuity Fund, a new $85 million Small Business COVID Hardship Fund as well as support for commercial tenants and landlords.
It will also build on Victorian Government support for licensed hospitality and alpine venues, with $70 million for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 and $9.8 million for Alpine Business Support. The COVID-19 Disaster Payment has been extended to residents of Victoria, a support payment for workers adversely affected by the recent lockdown.
A $156 million Business Continuity Fund will be established to deliver $5,000 grants to up to around 30,000 businesses that remain impacted by capacity limits placed on businesses by necessary public health restrictions.
Twenty-four eligible sectors are covered by the fund for businesses including gyms, cafes, restaurants, event businesses, catering services and hairdressers.
Recognising businesses located in the CBD will continue to be impacted due to restrictions on the number of staff allowed in office buildings, they will be eligible to receive an additional $2,000.
To receive this funding, businesses must have received or be eligible for the Business Cost Assistance Program Round Two.
The Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund will receive a $70 million boost, with grants of up to $20,000 to support licensed venues as their operations continue to be impacted by current restrictions.
These grants recognise that larger venues depend more on dine-in and have higher operating costs, so need more support than smaller operations. An additional $2,000 will also be made available to the business if it is located within the CBD.
To receive this funding, venues will need to have received or been eligible for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021.
A new $85 million fund will be established to support small businesses who have not been eligible under existing business support funds.
Small businesses with a payroll of up to $10 million who have experienced a 70 per cent or greater reduction in revenue will be eligible for grants of up to $5,000.
Alpine Business Support will receive a further $9.8 million to deliver grants of between $5,000 and $20,000 to 430 Alpine based businesses in recognition of restricted inter and intra-state travel during the peak winter season.
The funding also includes $5 million support to alpine resort operators and management boards.
The reintroduced Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme will ease pressure by providing rent relief for eligible tenants, while separate support will be provided to landlords who do the right thing by their tenants.
The Scheme will be available to businesses with an annual turnover of less than $50 million and have suffered a decline in turnover of at least 30 percent due to coronavirus.
Landlords will be required to provide proportional rent relief in line with a business’s reduction in turnover. A mediation service for tenants and landlords will further support fair tenancy negotiations.
Tenants and landlords will be encouraged to enter negotiations directly, with the Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) available to provide mediation if parties cannot reach satisfactory agreement. Landlords will not be able to lock out or evict tenants without a determination from the VSBC.
Legislation will shortly be introduced to enact the Scheme, which will be applied from today to ensure rent relief can start immediately.
Fully funded by the Victorian Government, an $80 million hardship fund for landlords who provide rent relief to eligible tenants will be created, with further details to be confirmed in due course.
Tenants and landlords can contact the Victorian Small Business Commission for further information on 13 87 22 or visit vsbc.vic.gov.au.
Individuals may also be eligible for financial support through the Commonwealth Government’s COVID-19 Disaster Payment.
Most microbusinesses not registered for GST are eligible for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment of $600 or $375 per week (these amounts will increase from August 2, 2021 and will apply to future lockdowns for our Victorian clients).
The Victorian Government is establishing a concierge service to help these businesses access this support.
If you have any queries in relation to the above measure, please do not hesitate to contact Suran, Daniel, Jack, Nathan or myself by calling our direct lines/mobiles, through the switchboard (1300 066 235) or by emailing us.