Announced on Thursday, the vast majority of the new support package, paid for in partnership with the Commonwealth, will flow to the Business Costs Assistance Program, which received a $625 million cash injection.
The program will provide payments of $5,600 — or $2,800 a week — to businesses forced to shut down during lockdown, but continue to incur costs, and aims to prop up businesses across the state’s hospitality, non-essential retail, accommodation, events, and beauty sectors.
Victorian treasurer Tim Pallas said his government’s swift move to get cash in the hands of affected businesses shows they are responding swiftly and meaningfully to support businesses as conditions change.
“The Victorian Government recognises the serious challenges faced by businesses as the community joins together to fight the Delta strain in Melbourne,” Mr Pallas said.
“Automatic payments mean money is transferred quickly to the accounts of businesses so they can continue to meet their commitments and plan for the future,” he said. “We are locking down so that when we open again, we give ourselves the best chance of staying open.”
Meanwhile, businesses in New South Wales have in some cases had to wait nearly a month for their equivalent business support payments.
Victoria’s latest round of business support will also see the state’s Small Business COVID Hardship Fund receive a $72 million top up, taking its total cash pool to $252 million. Grant caps under the fund have also been raised, this time from $10,000 to $14,000.
The small business fund, which opened on 12 August, is aimed at small and medium sized businesses that have seen a reduction in turnover of at least 70 per cent, and aren’t eligible for any other of the state’s support schemes.
The new round of funding will also see automatic payments of $5,000, $10,000 and $20,000 — depending on venue capacity — made to some 7,000 businesses under the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund after it received a cash boost of $110 million.
Venues that have a venue capacity of up to 99 patrons will receive $5,000, while those with capacity limits between 100 and 499 patrons will receive $10,000, and those with capacities of 500 or more will receive payments of $20,000.
Federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Morrison government has and will continue to support Victorian businesses.
“We have worked collaboratively with the Victorian government to give businesses as much certainty as possible during this challenging period, providing almost $2 billion in business support during this most recent outbreak alone,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“Small businesses are integral to our economy and we will continue to support them,” he said.
“The extended business support builds on the more than $45 billion in direct economic support the Morrison Government has delivered to Victorian households and businesses during the pandemic.”
As part of the announcement, the Victorian government reminded eligible workers that they will continue to receive support under the COVID-19 Disaster Payment scheme, and so too will sole traders who are otherwise ineligible for anything else.
The payment will offer those who have lost between eight and 20 hours a week $450 a week, and $750 a week for those who have lost 20 hours or more. It is being administered through Services Australia.