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What’s on offer and how to access the new COVID-19 business support

Juliet Helmke
14 July 2021 2 minute readShare

With Sydney’s lockdown officially extended to 30 July, support for NSW businesses grappling with pandemic-induced shortfalls can’t come soon enough.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian appeared alongside Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a joint press conference on Tuesday to announce expanded state and federal support for NSW businesses. Only a day later, Ms Berejiklian officially increased the duration of the stay-at-home orders for “at least” a further two weeks. Sydney’s current, hard lockdown went into effect on 26 June.

Now facing more than a month of curtailed or stalled trading, businesses and out-of-work employees will soon be able to access a new raft of relief funding, so long as they follow a few rules.

What’s the new funding for businesses?

Businesses with annual revenue of up to $50 million will be able to receive between $1,500 and $10,000 per week, but they must demonstrate a fall of at least 30 per cent over a similar period in 2019, calculated against a two-week time frame. They also can’t sack employees while receiving the grant, having to commit to maintaining their regular staffing levels. 

The grants fall within three categories: the COVID-19 business grant, the saving jobs support program and the micro-business grant. Together, they are expected to cost half a billion dollars a week — a cost that will be shared between the NSW government and the Commonwealth.

Rent relief 

In an effort to provide a measure of security for businesses struggling to make rent, the NSW government has enacted a 60-day freeze on evictions. 

As such, new incentives, as well as restrictions, will come into effect for landlords of commercial and retail properties in an effort to encourage them to ease the pressure on their tenants.

A land tax concession will be available for all landlords who offer a reduction in rent to a tenant, and property owners will be required to pursue mediation before undertaking eviction proceedings or recovering a security bond. The tax relief will be equal to the value of the rent reduction provided.

Payroll relief

The NSW government is also offering payroll tax relief of 25 per cent for businesses with Australian wages of between $1.2 million and $10 million that have experienced a 30 per cent decline in turnover.

Moreover, businesses are being offered payroll tax deferrals and interest-free repayment plans. 

What can out-of-work employees receive?

The federal government has also said it will increase disaster relief payments for employees who have lost work due to the Sydney lockdown by between $50 and $100 per week. That means that workers who have lost 20 hours or more can access a full payment of $600, up from $500, and those who have lost between eight and 20 hours will receive $375, up from $350. 

In addition to increased funding for those who have lost work, a federal period of “administrative relief” will be provided for individuals who owe money to the government.

Planned repayments will be reduced, and no interest will be charged on late payments.

How can you get it?

Starting today, businesses are able to register with Service NSW to be notified once they are able to apply for a grant. In anticipation of lodging an application, it’s recommended that business owners update their details on the Australian Business Register and within the Service NSW app.

Employees who are out of work should contact Services Australia for access to disaster payment relief.

Applications for businesses are scheduled to open on 19 July and funding should begin rolling out that week.

What’s on offer and how to access the new COVID-19 business support
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Juliet Helmke

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