The NSW government will put $750 million into the Small Business Support Fund as the centrepiece of a third wave of support measures to keep small businesses afloat.
Under the latest program, eligible small businesses will be invited to apply for a grant of up to $10,000 through Service NSW within a fortnight.
The program, to remain open until 1 June 2020, is specifically catered for businesses with up to 19 employees to help them meet unavoidable business costs such as utilities, overheads, legal costs and financial advice.
“This is about getting cash into small businesses when they are struggling right now in the face of an unprecedented situation,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the fund was designed to provide help fast and would benefit tens of thousands of businesses across NSW.
“Many local cafés, restaurants, corner shops, gyms and small accommodation providers will be eligible to apply,” Mr Perrottet said.
“We have the structures in place after the bushfires and expect to see this money rolling out the door shortly.
“This is real, rapid relief for tens of thousands of businesses and it will help ensure many businesses that are not eligible for payroll tax waivers and deferrals can live to trade another day.”
To be eligible, businesses will need to:
- have between 1 and 19 employees and a turnover of more than $75,000
- have a payroll below the NSW government 2019–20 payroll tax threshold of $900,000
- have an Australian business number (ABN) as at 1 March 2020, be based in NSW and employ staff as at 1 March 2020
- be highly impacted by the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 issued on 30 March 2020
- use the funding for unavoidable business costs such as utilities, overheads, legal costs and financial advice
- provide appropriate documentation upon application
This latest move follows two assistance packages from NSW in the past fortnight which have included more than $5 billion in payroll tax waivers, deferrals and other tax deferrals; a $1 billion Working for NSW fund to create jobs; and $80 million to waive a range of fees and charges.
Responding to the latest NSW government announcement, Business NSW chief executive Stephen Cartwright said it is good to see the government turning their eye to small mum and dad businesses.
“While previous announcements from the NSW government have centred around concessions for those businesses that are large enough to pay payroll tax, this latest fund is aimed at small ‘mum and dad’ businesses with a couple of employees who may have had to close or vastly reduce their operating hours as the pandemic took hold,” Mr Cartwright said.
“This latest initiative is particularly important for the survival of these smaller businesses.”
This grant, he said, together with the JobKeeper program announced by the Prime Minister earlier this week, “might be enough to keep their doors open and keep their staff in work”.
What is also vital, Mr Cartwright said, is that these businesses will be permitted to use a portion of this grant to receive proper financial advice.
“It’s important that small businesses seek the advice of professionals who can advise on the specifics of their particular business, including its industry type, location, demographics and customer base.”
Overall, Mr Cartwright concluded that keeping the doors open and staff employed will put businesses in NSW in the best possible position to resume normal trading as soon as the all clear is given.
“This is vital for rebuilding our economy as quickly as possible after the crisis passes,” Mr Cartwright said.