Today, the Victorian State Government in conjunction with the Australian Federal Government have announced a raft of additional Covid-19 business support measures worth $400 million to assist businesses suffering a downturn in turnover. These are outlined as follows:
Commercial Tenancy Relief for Victorian Businesses
The Victorian State Government have re-introduced the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme worth $80 million which will provide Victorian businesses with an annual turnover of less than $50 million and have suffered a decline in turnover of at least 30% with rent relief, whilst separate support will be provided to landlords who provide proportional rent relief in line with a business’s reduction in turnover.
Landlords will then be able to access an $80 million hardship fund for those who provide eligible rental relief to their tenants.
Whilst tenants and landlords are encouraged to enter into negotiations directly, the Victorian Small Business Commission will be available to mediate where an agreement cannot be made.
Further information on the scheme can be found here.
Business Continuity Fund
The Victorian State Government have also announced a $156 million Business Continuity Fund which will be established to provide $5,000 grants to approximately 30,000 businesses who have been most affected by the latest restrictions. Those eligible businesses (such as gyms, cafes, and restaurants who are required to enforce density limits) will receive automatic payments where they have already registered for an received funding under the Business Costs Assistance Program. CBD businesses who continue to be impacted due to the 25% cap on staff allowed in the office will also be eligible to receive an additional $2,000.
Licenced Hospitality Venue Fund
In addition to previously announced assistance, the Licenced Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 has been doubled with additional $70 million added to the fund to help revitalise Victoria’s hospitality sector. Businesses that have received support payments previously under the program will automatically receive further payments based on patron capacity limits:
$5,000 – venues with capacity of 0-199 patrons
$10,000 – venues with capacity of 200-499 patrons
$20,000 – venues with capacity of 500+ patrons
Businesses operating in the CBD will also receive an additional $2,000 whilst offices continue to operate at 25% capacity.
Small Business COVID Hardship Fund
While previously announced support payments have helped thousands of small businesses across Victoria, due to strict eligibility criteria, many businesses haven't received much, if any support thus far.
In recognition of these businesses that had previously slipped through the cracks, the Victorian Government will establish an $85 million Small Business COVID Hardship Fund targeted for businesses that have been unable to operate, or have been severely affected by COVID restrictions such as:
Food take-away businesses in closed sites such as shopping centres.
Businesses that are open for business, but not able to trade due to customers being closed - wholesalers to cinemas, for example.
Sole traders and tradespeople who can demonstrate their work are performed in an indoor, restricted setting.
For a business to be eligible for the support payment, businesses will need to be registered for GST and must demonstrate a reduction in turnover of greater than 70 per cent.
Alpine Support Program
Sent into lockdown at the worst possible time, 430 Alpine based businesses – on and off mountain – will receive a further $9.8 million of support with grants ranging between $5,000 and $20,000.
These grants will be available on top of entitlements under the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund or Business Costs Assistance Program.
Should you require further clarification on eligibility or application process for any of the above measures, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your King & Whittle adviser.