3 - The Night-time Economy Business Support Initiative
This program/initiative is structured differently to the previous two grant programs (explained above), as the Night-time Business Economy Support Initiative will provide commercial rental relief for licensed businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic who were unable to access relief under the Commercial Tenancies Relief Scheme.
The support under this initiative is made available through the Victorian Government's Business Support Fund, and is available to licensed venues across Victoria with an annual turnover of up to $50 million that operate as part of a group.
This initiative will also provide access to free mediation services to help eligible tenant businesses reach agreements with their landlords on rent relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What support is available?
This initiative provides eligible businesses with the following three elements of support, including:
- Reimbursement of up to $20,000 per business group - for expenses incurred in obtaining specialist business and tenancy advice since 29 March 2020;
- Free mediation services - to help tenants and landlords reach a fair and proportionate commercial outcome on rental payments; and
- Relief for commercial rent hardship of up to $150,000 - per business group where it can be shown that the business has sought to negotiate in good faith with the landlord with no result.
Applications will be accepted until 1 June 2020 or until available funding has been committed.
What are the eligibility requirements for this initiative?
To be eligible for support under the Night-time Economy Business Support Initiative applicants must satisfy all of the following conditions, including:
- Operate licensed pubs, clubs or restaurants on tenanted premises under a general, full club or on-premises liquor licence as part of a group;
- Employ people;
- Have an annual turnover of less than $50 million at each individual premises operating within the group;
- Hold an ABN and have held that ABN at 16 March 2020 (ie. the date Victoria's State of Emergency was declared);
- Were engaged in carrying out the operation of the business at the tenanted premises in the State of Victoria on 16 March 2020;
- Have had a reduction in turnover of at least 30% at one or more individual premises operating within the group since 16 March 2020; and
- Do not qualify for the Victorian Government's Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme under the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) (Commercial Leases and Licences) Regulations 2020 because the business is part of a group that has an aggregated annual turnover greater than $50 million (in the past financial year).
We understand that businesses that are not registered in Victoria but operate more than one premises in Victoria may also apply for support, but these applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
What specialist business and tenancy advice expenses can be claimed?
The types of specialist business and tenancy advice that can be claimed as expenses under this initiative are:
- Basic professional services (ie. accounting, property, financial, tax and legal business requirements and consultancies); and
- Costs associated with licencing and lease documentation and financing fees.
How can the commercial rent relief funding be used?
The commercial rent relief funding is to be used for meeting lease-related business costs, including rent, utilities, outgoings and other property-related expenses.
Evidence of eligibility and compliance
All applicants must certify in writing that they meet the eligibility criteria above.
Applicants may be subject to an audit review, for a period of four years after funding has been approved, by the Victorian Government (or its representatives) and you may be required to produce evidence, such as financial reports to demonstrate impact and/or allocation and use of funds.
If any information in the application is found to be false or misleading, or the grant money is not applied for the eligible purposes as set out in this initiative, the grant will be repayable on demand.
What is the application process?
This initiative has a distinct two-step application process:
- Firstly, your business group must register its interest online via the Register Your Interest button – click here - and after receiving your registration, a Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions staff member will contact you to discuss your circumstance.
- Secondly, you will be invited to submit a full application (by using a link to an online form, which will be provided directly to you), and you must complete all questions to ensure a timely assessment of your eligibility.
You will need to provide all of the following with your application:
- A copy of financial accounts identifying monthly business turnover since March 2019;
- A copy of the group financial statement for the last financial year showing a turnover of greater than $50 million;
- A copy of the most recent Business Activity Statement (BAS);
- A copy of the Liquor Licence for each of the premises applicable as at 16 March 2020;
- A copy of the Commercial Tenancy Agreement applicable at or immediately prior to 16 March 2020, and any variation(s) to the Rental Payment Schedule agreed with the landlord of each of the licensed premises since 16 March 2020; and
- Any other materials that support your claim.