Update: Business support and Restrictions in Regional Victoria

The Victorian Government has confirmed over the weekend an extension of the existing support for businesses impacted by the extension of the current lockdown. A press statement is attached.

The support is consistent with the previous tranches of business support during this lockdown By way of a summary that includes the following

1. COVID-19 Disaster Payments

  • Individuals who have lost between 8 and 20 hours of work or a full day of work over 7 days can apply for a payment of $450 per week;
  • Individuals who have lost 20 hours of work or more can apply for a payment of $750 per week;
  • Individuals who receive certain Commonwealth income support payments can apply to receive a $200 Disaster Payment per week where they have lost 8 hours or more of work.

These payments continue to be administered through Services Australia.

2. Business Costs Assistance Program Round 4

Further automatic payments as follows:

  • $2,800 a week for businesses with an annual payroll below $650,000;
  • $5,600 a week for businesses with an annual payroll of $650,000 to $3 million; or
  • $8,400 a week for businesses with an annual payroll of $3 million to $10 million.

Businesses will remain eligible while they are unable to operate due to public health restrictions.

3. Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund

Payments will be tiered according to licensed premises capacity, with the following payments made per week:

  • Venues with a patron capacity of up to 99 will receive a $5,000 payment;
  • Venues with a patron capacity of between 100 and 499 will receive a $10,000 payment; and
  • Venues with a patron capacity of more than 500 will receive a $20,000 payment.  

Businesses will remain eligible while they are unable to operate due to public health restrictions.

4. Small Business COVID Hardship Fund

Small businesses that are not eligible for other grant programs and have experienced a 70% reduction in revenue may be eligible for this payment.

Eligible businesses can now receive payments of up to $20,000 – which is an increase from the previous $14,000. Businesses that have already received a grant under this program will receive an automatic $6,000 top-up payment.

Applications for these grants are now open and can be made through Business Victoria. At this stage, applications will close on 10 September.  

5. Alpine Support Package – September Top-Up

Payments will be as follows:

  • $10,000 for off-mountain businesses;
  • $20,000 for on-mountain businesses with no employees;
  • $40,000 for on-mountain businesses with employees.

As with all ‘top-up’ grants, we suggest that all businesses should internally audit their records to ensure that they are receiving all top-up payments. If there are any irregularities these should be raised with Business Victoria.

Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund – Patron Capacity

Our office provided an update last week on an issue that had been brought to our attention – many licensees are unable to access the extent of grants they ought to be entitled to if their liquor licence does not reflect their current maximum patron capacity. In some cases, venues with patron capacities exceeding 500 (and therefore entitled to the maximum weekly grant) are receiving the minimum grant entitlement. This has continued even where licensees have demonstrated a larger patron capacity via an occupancy certificate or similar.

BSP Lawyers has been in direct discussion with representatives in the State Government regarding this matter.

If you have been impacted by this particular matter and would like our office to make particular mention of your premises as part of these discussions please advise.

Regional Victoria

The Health Minister in today’s presser re-iterated that Regional Victoria was still being considered for an easing of restrictions later this week – with the exception of the Shepparton area.

Further details are expected to be announced in the coming days.

This update does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.