• The SAACS Team

Summary of VIC Covid-19 Business Support


Current as at 6 October 2021


Outlined below is a summary of government support to help Victorian businesses during the recent COVID-19 lockdown and in recovery, including new measures announced from July 2021.


We encourage you to regularly check the Business Victoria website for the latest details on COVID-19 business grants and programs.


Support for construction businesses affected by lockdown


The Victorian Government has announced that it is delivering a $196.6 million package to businesses in Victoria’s construction sector, providing cash grants to thousands of operators across the state.


The Business Costs Assistance Program Round Four – Construction will provide support to eligible businesses,including sole traders, who were impacted by restrictions between 21 September to 4 October. Non-employing businesses will receive a $2000 grant and employing businesses will receive grants ranging from $2800 to $8400 depending on their payroll size.


Applications for the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Four – Construction will open in mid-October.


To be eligible, businesses must be:

How to apply:


Application will be open from mid Oct - early Nov.


 

SME Recovery Loan Scheme - Expansion from 1 October 2021


The Government’s SME Recovery Loan Scheme (the Scheme) is designed to support the economic recovery and provide continued assistance to SMEs dealing with the economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis.


The Scheme is enhancing lenders’ abilities to provide cheaper credit to otherwise viable SMEs for additional funding to get through the Coronavirus crisis, recover and invest for the future. The Government will work with lenders to ensure eligible firms have access to finance to maintain and grow their businesses.


Key features:


Participating lenders are offering guaranteed loans on the following terms under the SME Recovery Loan Scheme:

  • the Government guarantee will be 80% of the loan amount

  • lenders are allowed to offer borrowers a repayment holiday of up to 24 months

  • loans can be used for a broad range of business purposes, including investment support

  • loans may be used to refinance any pre-existing debt of an eligible borrower, including those from the SME Guarantee Scheme

  • borrowers can access up to $5 million in total, in addition to the Phase 1 and Phase 2 loan limits

  • loans are for terms of up to 10 years, with an optional repayment holiday period

  • loans can be either unsecured or secured (excluding residential property)

  • the interest rate on loans will be determined by lenders, but will be capped at around 7.5 per cent, with some flexibility for interest rates on variable rate loans to increase if market interest rates rise over time.


Eligible Businesses:


The scheme is open to small and medium sized businesses with up to $250 million turnover, including self-employed and non-profits. So far, the Scheme has been open to eligible SMEs that were:

  • the recipient of a JobKeeper payment between 4 January 2021 and 28 March 2021. Note: a JobKeeper Scheme-Backed Loan can only be approved under this eligibility prior to the Scheme Expansion date (1 October 2021);

  • affected by the floods in eligible Local Government Areas in March 2021; or

  • adversely economically affected by COVI-19. Note: a Covid Scheme-Backed Loan can be approved under this eligibility from the Scheme Expansion Date (1 October 2021).

How to apply:


Loans backed by the Scheme will be available through participating commercial lenders.


The decisions to extend credit, and management of the loan, remain with the lender.


Borrowers can access credit under the Scheme through approved participating lenders.

For more information on how to apply, visit Information for SMEs.

 

Covid-19 Disaster Payment


The COVID-19 Disaster Payment has been expanded and increased on 28 July 2021. Eligible Victorian workers and sole trader business owners in lockdown in a Commonwealth hotspot from 6 August who lose work and do not qualify for Victorian Government support programs will be able to access:

  • Payments of $750 pw (up from $600 pw) to individuals who lose 20 or more hours of work a week during the period of the lockdown

  • Payments of $450 pw (up from $375 pw) to individuals who lose between 8 and 20 hours of work, or a full day of work, during the period of the lockdown

There is no liquid assets test to receive these payments.

The payment will be available from day one of any lockdown, with claims made from day eight in arrears, with a weekly payment then made for the duration of the Commonwealth hotspot declaration.

The vast majority of Victorian micro-businesses not registered for GST will also be eligible for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment.

Micro-businesses and sole trader business owners can obtain assistance with their application by making an appointment with the Business Victoria Concierge Service on 13 22 15.

The Victorian Government has assumed responsibility to fund payments in areas that are not declared a Commonwealth hotspot.

The COVID-19 Disaster Payment is non assessable income and non exempt income for tax purposes. This applies to assessments for the 2020-21 income year onwards.


How to apply:

Application directly via Service Australia Website with Personal Centrelink CRN.


 

Business Continuity Fund


The Business Continuity Fund provides $5,000 grants to businesses that remain impacted by capacity limits due to public health restrictions.


Businesses located in the CBD will receive an additional $2,000 ($7,000 in total).


All recipients must have received or been eligible for the previous Business Cost Assistance Program Round Two (or extension), and no application is necessary (i.e. eligible recipients receive the payments automatically).


How to apply:

Application via Business Victoria Website. Previous eligible recipients do not need to re-apply.


 

Small Business COVID Hardship Fund (Application Closed)


Successive government announcements have seen the Fund increase to $252 million, with grants of $14,000 available to SME businesses across the state. Eligibility criteria include:

  • annual payroll of up to $10 million

  • has experienced a 70% or greater reduction in revenue

  • the business is not eligible under existing business support programs.

Information on how to apply, including eligibility conditions, FAQs and the Accounts' letter template, is available on the Business Victoria Website.

Closing date: 10 September 2021

4 September update: Grant amount has increased to $20,000. Businesses that have already received a lower Small Business COVID Hardship Fund grant will receive an automatic top-up payment.


How to apply:

Application via Business Victoria Website.


 

Business Costs Assistance Program


Successive government announcements have resulted in a series of “rounds” of funding to support business as more lockdowns were announced. “Top ups” are also announced from time to time.

In broad terms:

  • Businesses that successfully applied for earlier rounds became automatically eligible for subsequent rounds and top-ups

  • Businesses not previously eligible could apply when “extensions” to the program were announced

4 September update: Recipients of the Business Costs Assistance Program Round 2 or July Extension will receive automatic tiered payments based on annual payroll size.

  • No payroll or payroll below $650,000 - $2,800 a week

  • Payroll of $650,000 to $3 million - $5,600 a week

  • Payroll of $3 million to $10 million - $8,400 a week.


5 October Update:


From 1 October to 29 October, businesses in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria that are subject to lockdown restrictions will receive fortnightly payments. Businesses in eligible ANZSIC classes located in areas not subject to stay at home restrictions will also receive fortnightly payments.


From 29 October to 13 November 2021, businesses in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria in eligible ANZSIC classes that remain closed or heavily restricted will receive a fortnightly payment.

How to apply:

The expansion 5 payment is only eligible for those who had previously received a grant under the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two or the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two July Extension program.


Previous eligible recipients do not need to re-apply.


 

Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund


The Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund 3 provides grants to eligible small landlords who experience hardship as a result of waiving rent for their tenant(s) between 28 July 2021 and 15 January 2022 under the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme. A rent waiver is where some or all of the rent owed for an agreed period of time does not have to be paid. Eligible small landlords can apply for a grant of up to $6000 per eligible tenancy. In cases where landlords are experiencing acute hardship because of the rent waiver agreed with their tenant(s), the grant may be increased to a maximum of $10,000 per eligible tenancy.

You must provide information about the rent waiver agreed with your tenant using the Landlord acceptance letter (DOCX 48.82 KB) (or similar) when you apply.


How to apply:

Application via Business Victoria Website.


 

Small Business Digital Adaptation Program


Rebates of $1,200 to enable eligible small businesses to access a range of digital tools to help you with cash flow, your website, online marketing, managing your jobs and projects, and keeping track of stock.


The program is expected to close on 5 December 2021.


How to apply:

Application via Business Victoria Website.


 

Victorian Events Support Package (Application Closed)


The Victorian Events Support Package provides support for a range of events and included a dedicated stream for cinemas. Most of the programs have now closed. Business Victoria has indicated that a further round of the Impacted Public Events Support Program will open shortly.

The Live Performance Support Program Round Two provides support in two streams:

  • Presenters - provides either $7000 or $5000 for one event and a further $5000 for a second event to presenters of live performance events cancelled between 11:59pm on 27 May 2021 and 11:59pm on 2 September 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

  • Suppliers - provides either $200 or $500 per event to suppliers of goods and services to live performance events, which were cancelled between 11:59pm on 27 May 2021 and 11:59pm on 2 September 2021 because of COVID-19 restrictions

Applications closed on 8 September 2021.


How to apply:

Application via Business Victoria Website.


 

Business recovery and resilience mentoring training


The Victorian Government is partnering with the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) to deliver a business mentoring program for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Eligible business owners can receive up to four 2-hour mentoring sessions with an experienced professional who will help them make informed decisions about the future of their business.


How to apply:

Applications can be made at VCCI.


 

Business Recovery Advisory Service


A service available to any business owner/operator in East Gippsland, Wellington and North East Victoria experiencing hardship, recovering from disasters, and needing assistance.

A free, one-on-one session is offered with a Business Recovery Adviser for help with all aspects of business operations, recovery planning and resilience building strategies.

Book a session by completing Business Victoria’s online form, calling 132215 or visiting your local Business Recovery Hub.


How to apply:

Make booking via Business Victoria Page.


 

Wellbeing and mental health support for Victorian small businesses


Mental health support for Victorians dealing with the challenges of running a small business through COVID-19 including one-to-one wellbeing support and free access to financial counsellors and business advisors through Partners in Wellbeing who can be contacted on their helpline at 1300 375 330.


How to apply:

Make booking via Business Victoria Page.

 

If you need any assistance in relation to the programs above, please feel free to contact our office on 03 9650 3888 or email us.


The SAACS Team


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