New Support for Victoria's Small Business Sector

Recently Victorian business owners were told they can expect another wave of relief, with the Government announcing a third round of the Business Support Fund designed to help businesses through the struggles of trading in a pandemic landscape. This support is specifically available to businesses operating in Victoria, and is in addition to the Federal Government’s $40 billion Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme.

This new round of funding (Business Support Fund 3) will offer eligible businesses between $10,000 – $20,000 depending on their employee payroll expenses. The funds can be used towards a range of things to keep the business operational, including rent, salaries, legal support, marketing, and other business costs. As many small businesses try to continue operations despite decreased trade, they are still incurring overhead expenses relating to rent and staffing, which are significantly impacting revenue potential causing many to run on a loss.

To break this package down further, businesses whose annual payroll is less than $650,000 are able to access $10,000 in support funds. Those whose annual payroll falls between $650,000 and $3 million can receive $15,000, and between $3 million and $10 million may be eligible for $20,000. These figures mean that most small business owners can expect to receive at least $10,000 in funding.

Under Business Support Fund 3, only businesses operating in specific industries and sectors will be eligible for support, as they have been identified as the hardest hit because of COVID-19. These sectors include:

  • Tourism, Culture, Entertainment, Events, Sports and Recreation
  • Consumables and Services including Hospitality, Hair & Beauty, Real Estate and Retail, etc.
  • Community Services including Education, Healthcare, Veterinary Services, etc.

For a comprehensive list of the eligible classes, you can view the full list from the Victoria State Government here.

Eligible businesses can apply up until the 23rd of November 2020, and funds will be granted through an application process in which businesses will be crosschecked against the State Revenue Office and Worksafe among other government agencies to confirm their circumstances.

In additional to the third round of the Business Support Fund, the Victorian Government has also announced a range of other grants and incentives targeted and Sole Traders, Licensed Venues and Alpine Businesses.

The first of these builds on the existing Hospitality Business Grant program which offers grants to licensed venues such as bars, restaurants, pubs, and clubs. The government has assigned $251 million to be distributed in one-off grants of up to $30,000 to eligible businesses. Little details have been made available as of yet, but the level of funding will be based upon venue location and capacity.

The next program is designed to offer support for Sole Traders, who cannot access the current Business Support Fund currently available. The $100 million package offers grants of $3,000 to sole traders who are tenants of licensees in commercial locations. This is expected to provide relief for approximately 33,000 business owners.

Finally, the government has set aside $4.3 million to help alpine businesses cover fees and overheads after their high season was essentially shut-down, distributed in grants of up to $20,000.

As well as this new round of support packages being created to support struggling Victorian businesses, the government has announced they will be deferring $1.8 billion in fees and taxes to ease the burden during the pandemic. Businesses with payrolls up to $10 million will be eligible for deferrals across areas such as stamp duty, landfill levy, congestion levy, liquor licenses, residential land tax and payroll tax. At this time it is unclear whether this will be processed automatically or if businesses will have to apply.

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