The government noted SMEs as being most affected by coronavirus restrictions, with $1.1 billion in support including $822 million as part of the third round of its Business Support Fund.
Around 75,000 eligible businesses with payrolls up to $10 million will receive grants of $10,000, $15,000 or $20,000 depending on their size.
Victoria’s hospitality businesses — including bars, restaurants, pubs, clubs, hotels and reception centres — will be prioritised with the establishment of a $251 million dedicated Licensed Venue Fund, with grants of between $10,000 and $30,000 for licensed venues of all shapes and sizes.
The government is also providing further relief by waiving liquor licence fees for 2021.
Businesses in Victoria’s alpine resorts will receive grants of up to $20,000 to help cover their resort fees, saving them a combined $4.3 million.
In addition, the Victorian government said it will 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”.
The Victorian government will also defer payroll tax for businesses with payrolls up to $10 million for the full 2020–21 financial year, estimating it will provide a $1.7 billion cash-flow boost for business.
A further $137 million will be provided in waivers and deferrals of charges including liquor licence fees, the congestion levy and increases to the landfill levy.
Further, the 50 per cent stamp duty discount for commercial and industrial property across all of regional Victoria will be brought forward to 1 January 2021 and the vacant residential land tax will be waived for properties that are vacant in 2020.
The Victorian government said it will also invest $44 million to equip businesses with the support they need to “thrive under a COVID normal”, including $20 million for small businesses to access off-the-shelf digital programs such as Shopify or Squareonline, training and workshops designed to help businesses adapt to online operations.
The “Click for Vic” campaign has been given extra support with $8.5 million for more marketing and advertising, and expanding the digital platform and its partnerships with third-party e-commerce providers.
A $15.7 million export recovery package has also been revealed to address logistics and supply chain issues caused by the pandemic and establish new export channels. Under the package, the Victorian government said businesses will be connected to international markets through virtual trade missions as well as assistance to adapt their export strategies to respond to the rapidly changing global market.
“For our state to recover, we need our businesses to recover, too. As we take our first safe and steady steps towards COVID normal, this support will help make sure we get through this together,” said Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.
“We’ll continue meeting with and listening to businesses so we can do everything we can to support them and their workers.”
Including the latest round of stimulus, the Victorian government said it has provided over $6 billion in business support through the coronavirus crisis.