A third wave of support for Victorian businesses was announced on 28 July 2021.
A $400 million support package, which is to be funded 50/50 by the Victorian State and Commonwealth Governments is set to support tens of thousands of businesses as they come out of Lockdown 5.0 and continue to struggle under ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.
The announcements cover five key areas of further financial support.
Business Continuity Fund
- A $156 million Business Continuity Fund will be established to deliver $5,000 grants to up to around 30,000 businesses that remain impacted by capacity limits placed on businesses by necessary public health restrictions. Twenty four eligible sectors are covered by the fund including gyms, cafes, restaurants, catering services, events businesses and hairdressers.
- Businesses located in the CBD which continue to be most impacted due to restrictions on the number of staff allowed in office buildings, will be eligible to receive an additional $2,000, recognising reduced foot traffic due to office density limits.
- All recipients must have received or been eligible for the previous Business Cost Assistance Program.
Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021
- The existing Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund will receive a $70 million boost, with grants based on venue capacity for businesses that continue to be impacted by current restrictions.
- $5,000 for venues with capacity for up to 199 patrons
- $10,000 for venues with capacity between 200 and 500 patrons
- $20,000 for venues with capacity for 500 or more patrons.
- An additional $2,000 will also be made available to businesses located within the CBD.
- To receive this funding, venues will need to have received or been eligible for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 in previous tranches of payments.
Small Business COVID Hardship Fund
- A new $85 million fund will be established to support small businesses who have not been eligible under existing business support funds via the Business Costs Assistance program.
- Small businesses with a payroll of up to $10 million who have experienced a 70 per cent or greater reduction in revenue will be eligible for grants of up to $5,000.
- Businesses must be registered for GST to be eligible.
- The Hardship Fund is still in the design and implementation phases. The Victorian Government are currently working with the Commonwealth and Australian Tax Office to finalise details on this program with more details to follow.
Alpine Business Support Program
- The Alpine Business Support Program will receive a further $9.8 million to deliver grants of between $5,000 and $20,000 to 430 Alpine based businesses in recognition of restricted inter and intra-state travel during the peak winter season.
- The funding also includes an additional $5 million support to alpine resort operators and management boards.
Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme and Landlord Hardship Fund
The Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme will be reinstated to provide much needed rent relief to small to medium commercial tenants and their landlords. Details of the reinstated scheme currently include the following:
- The scheme will be available to businesses with an annual turnover of less than $50 million and have suffered a decline in turnover of at least 30 per cent due to coronavirus.
- Those tenants that qualify under the reduced turnover criteria will be eligible for a proportionate rent reduction.
- Landlords will be required to provide proportional rent relief in line with a business’s reduction in turnover. For example, a business with a turnover of 40 per cent of pre-pandemic levels can only be charged 40 per cent of its rent. Of the balance, at least half must be waived, with the remainder to be deferred.
- A mediation service for tenants and landlords will further support fair tenancy negotiations, with tenants and landlords encouraged to enter negotiations directly. The Victorian Small Business Commission will resume its role offering mediation if the parties cannot reach agreement.
- Landlords will not be able to lock out or evict tenants without a determination from the commission.
- Legislation will shortly be introduced to enact the Scheme, which will be applied from today, 28 July 2021, to ensure rent relief can start immediately.
Landlords suffering hardship as a result of providing rent relief to eligible tenants will also be supported via an $80 million hardship fund, with further details to be confirmed in due course.
For more information on these announcements, please visit:
Bentleys has reported on the Victorian Government’s earlier announcements.
We are committed to supporting businesses during this challenging time. For further information or assistance, please contact your Bentleys advisor.
Disclaimer: This information is general in nature and should not be relied on as advice. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider your financial situation and needs and seek professional advice before making any decisions based on this information.