Small and medium businesses in Victoria are set to receive a portion of a new $400 million package jointly funded by the state and federal governments. The automatic payments will be doled out to almost 100,000 eligible businesses, including sole traders, who are impacted by the state’s most recent lockdown that began on Thursday, 5 August.
This round of funding comes in addition to the $400 million Victorian support package pledged by the state and federal governments last month.
In a joint statement released by federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas and Victorian Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula, the measures were described as targeted support for the businesses most impacted by the state’s sixth round of stay-at-home orders.
“Decisive action is required to tackle this incredibly infectious strain of the coronavirus, but we know it doesn’t come without a cost. This support will help the worst-affected businesses pay their bills and plan for a strong recovery,” Mr Pakula said.
Five categories of funding
More than 90,000 businesses will see automatic payments of $2,800 made under the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Three grant, coming from a fund of over $266 million.
Automatic payments of between $5,000 and $20,000 will also be made to over 8,900 hospitality venues that received grants under the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund program through the May, June and July lockdowns. This comes from a fund with a capacity of $68.8 million.
The Alpine Business Support Program, meanwhile, has been extended by $10.6 million to offer between $5,000 and $20,000 grants to off-mountain and on-mountain employing businesses, respectively.
The Small Business COVID Hardship Fund has also received an injection of $54 million, giving grants of up to $8,000 to small businesses that are not eligible for support under existing programs. They must show, however, that they have experienced a 70 per cent reduction in turnover.
And eligible workers across the state who have lost hours due to the lockdown are able to apply for COVID-19 Disaster Payments, as can businesses that do not qualify for Victorian government support programs because they are not registered for GST. These will be administered through Services Australia, with Victoria covering payments in areas that have not been declared a COVID hotspot.
Mr Frydenberg said the grants were intended to cushion the blow of the recent lockdown and provide hope for the future.
“On top of the $415 million in COVID-19 Disaster Payments and business support we have provided in recent weeks, we are now delivering a further $200 million in business support for Victorian business,” Mr Frydenberg said.
Mr Pallas noted this latest round of funding builds on the $7 billion already delivered by the Victorian government since the start of the pandemic.
“Every step of the way since this global pandemic began, Victoria has not shirked its responsibility to back our business community — this is immediate and targeted support right now, when it is needed most,” Mr Pallas said.