The Victorian Government has announed an AUD 3 billion Business Support Package to help Victorian businesses and workers.
Premier Daniel Andrews, who called the support package the “biggest package of business support” the state has ever seen is aimed at providing “more support to help businesses and workers through to the other side of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic”.
Victoria, at the centre of a second wave of Covid-19 infections in Australia was forced to impose Stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne and Stage 3 restrictions in regional Victoria on Sunday, August 2. Initially imposed for six weeks (until 13th September, 2020), the government extended Stage 4 restrictions in Metropolitan Melbourne for a further 2 weeks.
The strict lockdown has helped Victoria drive down daily infections, but has taken a significant toll on Victoria’s economy – many businesses have been pressurising the government to ease restrictions with safety protocols instead.
Premier Andrews, illustrating the importance of the extended lockdown said “being opened up for a very short period of time is not the strategy. It is not the reward that Victorians are entitled to, given how much they’ve done, how much sacrifice they’ve made. All that have has to count for something. In the meantime, we have to support those businesses to get to the other side.”
Premier Daniel Andrews announced the multi-billion package to help businesses survive and keep Victorians in jobs – taking the Government’s total business support to over $6 billion.
The new package includes:
- The Business Support Fund – Expansion program providing $10,000 for employing businesses in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire and $5,000 for employing businesses in regional Victoria (except Mitchell Shire.)
- A $30 million dedicated fund for Victoria’s night time economy to support the hardest hit businesses in hospitality.
- $26 million in mental health support will ensure Victorians dealing with the compounding challenges of running a small business can get the support they need as they navigate their way through the crisis.
- A $10 million business mentoring program, pairing small business owners with experienced professionals who can help them navigate their way through the crisis.
- A $40 million capped fund for regional tourism businesses to cover the costs of refunds.
- A $20 million fund to support small businesses in Melbourne’s CBD that are faced with a large and sustained shock to their trading environments. This includes $10 million funding for support delivered by the City of Melbourne
Businesses will also benefit from an extended and expanded payroll tax deferral. Eligible businesses with payrolls up to $10 million can defer their liabilities for the first half of the 2020/21 financial year.
According to Premier Andrews, “the Government will also partner with local business groups and chambers of commerce, with grants of up to $20,000 so they can help their members adapt and find their feet in a COVID Normal world”.
Premier Andrews, also stating the importance of the hospitality sector towards Victoria’s economy, and keeping in mind the impact of the lockdown on the industry has extended special support towards the industry:
“Victoria’s hospitality businesses are the bedrock of our economy, but right now, many are going through a tough time. To support our bars, restaurants, pubs, clubs, hotels and reception centres, the Government will establish a $251 million dedicated Licenced Venue Fund, with grants of between $10,000 and $30,000 for licenced venues of all shapes and sizes. The Government is also providing further relief by waiving liquor license fees for 2021.”
“Trips to Victoria’s ski fields haven’t been possible for thousands of families this year, so the Government will give businesses in our alpine resorts the support they need with grants of up to $20,000 to help cover their resort fees, saving them a combined $4.3 million.”