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Victorian businesses get extra $209m support as COVID lockdown continues for another week

Karen Tan
02 June 2021 3 minute readShare
Victorian businesses get extra $209m support as COVID lockdown continues for another week

The Victorian government has announced a new $209.3 million support package for businesses affected by the latest lockdown, which will now be extended for at least another seven days.

Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino announced that the new allocation of funding will go to those most at need – the small and medium-sized businesses hit hardest by the pandemic.

The latest funding comes on top of the $250.7 million support package announced on the weekend, bringing total business funding relief to $460 million.

“This is hard for everyone, and this extra support means businesses can be in a position to recover strongly once their doors reopen,” said Mr Merlino.

State Treasurer Tim Pallas said the government is working hard to get businesses successfully through to the other side of the crisis:

“We are standing with Victorian businesses and workers – providing them with the support they need to get through this challenging time,” said Mr Pallas.

The state government believes up to 90,000 businesses will benefit from the original support.

About 70,000 of the businesses located in metropolitan Melbourne will be affected by the extended restrictions (beyond Thursday, 3 June) and will be eligible for the new support.

Victorian Minister for Small Business Jaala Pulford said she understands the urgency of the funding relief for many SMEs.

“We know businesses that are currently closed will be counting the days until they can reopen. The efforts of our small-business community have been heroic, and we are proud to support them.”

The Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula has also applauded the stoic efforts made to date.

“Industry and business have been magnificent contributors to our efforts to combat this virus, and they continue to play a leading role.”

James Merlino detailed the assistance grants as he addressed the media at today’s press conference:

Business Costs Assistance Program grants of $2,500 for eligible businesses directly affected by the industry restrictions, including restaurants and cafes, event suppliers, accommodation providers and non-essential retailers, will be doubled to $5,000 for eligible businesses in metropolitan Melbourne. 

Regional businesses that are unable to open due to ongoing restrictions, such as nightclubs and amusement parks, will also be eligible for the extension payment. Metropolitan businesses that will have restrictions eased from Friday will not be eligible for the extension payment.

Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund grants of $3,500 for businesses holding an eligible liquor licence and food certificate will be doubled to $7,000 for eligible businesses in metropolitan Melbourne.

Applications are scheduled to open on Thursday, 3 June 2021 – including for regional businesses applying under the original package – and will be open until 11.59pm on Thursday, 24 June 2021. Businesses will only need to fill one application.

The extra allocations take the support for the Business Costs Assistance Program to $370 million and the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund to $70 million. Details on the $20 million Events Support Package for operators in the events industry who have incurred losses due to restrictions will be provided shortly.

The acting Premier said the Victorian government has also renewed its request for JobKeeper support for workers from the Commonwealth Government.

“A lot of Victorian businesses are doing it tough right now, and it is our expectation that the federal government will give them the support they deserve,” said Mr Merlino.

Businesses can register their interest in the Business Costs Assistance Program at business.vic.gov.au and will be notified when applications open.

“This is hard for everyone, and this extra support means businesses can be in a position to recover strongly once their doors reopen,” said Mr Merlino.

Meanwhile, banks are also coming forward with their own relief measures, including NAB reaching out to affected customers, with offers of extra assistance. 

NAB’s group executive for business and private banking, Andrew Irvine, said the bank is standing by to support customers.

“Our bankers are dedicated to checking in one-on-one with our business customers to talk about their particular situation. Once we’re able to understand exactly where a business is, the pressures and the future opportunities, we can then tailor support specifically for them,” said Mr Irvine.  

“This support can be financial solutions, but it can also be mental health support through one of our professional providers. We have bankers who are experienced and well versed with helping businesses make quick decisions and put in place solutions to help them get through this.”

NAB’s support available to businesses includes:

  • Restructuring of business facilities along with reduced or waived applications fees;
  • Deferral of principal payments across multiple product options;
  • Waiving costs and charges for withdrawing term deposits early, giving customers quick access to cash flow;
  • Credit card and personal loan relief;
  • MyCoach wellbeing support for colleagues and customers.

“Any Victorian business that is struggling with the impacts of COVID is encouraged to call their banker or NAB Assist business support on 1800 701 599,” said Mr Irvine.

Victorian businesses get extra $209m support as COVID lockdown continues for another week
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Karen Tan

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