Update: Further business support announced for Victoria

Further to yesterday’s update on current restrictions, a table of restrictions is attached. This table confirms the details of the restrictions as provided in yesterday’s update remain consistent with the most recent lockdown.

The Victorian Government has today announced further support for businesses during the current period of lockdown. The Victorian Government has emphasised that these supports are more generous than some previous tranches due to the additional contributions provided by the Commonwealth Government to bolster the grants.

The support can be summarised as follows:

1. COVID-19 Disaster Payments

As in previous lockdowns, eligible workers who lose hours due to the lockdown will be eligible for support through the COVID-19 Disaster Payment.

Businesses that do not qualify for Victorian Government support programs because they are not registered for GST will also be eligible for this payment.

Payments under this program have previously been $375 for each relevant period for individuals who have lost between 8 and 20 hours of work per week or a full day of their usual work hours per week, and $600 for individuals who have lost 20 hours or more of work. It appears the payments will be consistent with previous lockdowns.  

Payments will continue to be administered through Services Australia, with the Commonwealth Government funding payments to people in Commonwealth declared hotspots and the Victorian Government funding payments for individuals in all other parts of Victoria – this means that, unless some previous instances, the form of support is available irrespective of whether you are in a Commonwealth hotpot (i.e. Regional Victoria, for instance, with no active cases).

2. Business Costs Assistance Program

Businesses who have previously received the Business Costs Assistance Program will automatically receive a top-up payment of $2,800 under a further round of the payment.

We understand that no further application procedures are required.

3. Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund

Automatic top-up payments will be made to businesses who have previously received the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund, with payments based on patron capacity as follows:

  • Venues with a patron capacity of between 0 and 199 will receive a $5,000 payment;
  • Venues with a patron capacity of between 200 and 499 will receive a $10,000 payment; and
  • Venues with a patron capacity of 500 and above will receive a $20,000 payment.

The Victorian Government has stated that eligibility criteria for this support payment is the same as for previous payments under this scheme, which include:

  • Operating a licensed bar, restaurant, pub, club, hotel, café or reception centre that is registered to serve food and alcohol;
  • Holding a general, late night (general), full club, restaurant and café, producer’s or on-premises or late nigh (on premises) liquor licence;
  • Having a food business with the appropriate registration;
  • If an employing business, attesting that the business is supporting its workers to access any paid leave entitlements (or if a worker can work from home allowing them to do so) and supporting its casual workers; and
  • Having not received support under the Business Costs Assistance Program.

As previously, these payments should be made automatically.

4. Alpine Business Support Program

Further payments will be made automatically under the Alpine Business Support Program.

Alpine businesses will receive between $5,000 for off-mountain businesses and $20,000 for employing businesses on mountain.

5. Small Business COVID Hardship Fund

Further support will be made available through this program, allowing payments of up to $8,000 to be paid to eligible small businesses.

To be eligible, businesses must have a payroll of up to $10 Million and must have experienced a 70 per cent or greater reduction in revenue.

Applications for this program will open soon, which may include additional eligibility requirements or details of criteria on how the payments will be made.  

6. Business Victoria Concierge Service

As previously announced, the Victorian Government has established a concierge service to help small businesses access support. Individuals who work for themselves or have 1 to 2 employees and an annual turnover of less than $75,000 can use this service to receive information about payments that they may be eligible for.

To access the service, individuals can call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15 and select the microbusiness concierge service.

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.