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UPDATE:  Current COVID-19 Support Packages for Victorians

**This information is current as at 12 August 2021**

 

The update below is a summary of government support packages which are currently available to help Victorian businesses during the recent COVID-19 lockdown and assist their recovery, including further details released in relation to new measures announced in July 2021.

COMMONWEALTH support measure

Summary of the assistance

 

COVID-19 Disaster Payment

 

Under the current version of the COVID-19 Disaster Payment, Victorian workers in lockdown in a Commonwealth hotspot (check current VIC hotspots here) will be eligible for:

  • $450 (previously $375) for each relevant period where there has been a loss of either: (i) between 8 and less than 20 hours of work per week, or (ii) a full day of "usual work" hours per week.
  • $750 (previously $600) for each relevant period for a loss of 20 hours or more of work per week.

 

Note: "A full day of usual work" is what an individual was scheduled to work, however could not because of a restricted movement order. This includes full time, part time or casual shift of less than 8 hours.

 

We note that the vast majority of Victorian microbusinesses (annual turnover < $75,000) not registered for GST will also be eligible for this Payment.

 

Administered by Service Australia at:

www.servicesaustralia.gov.au

 

General eligibility rules:

  • The applicant is an Australian resident or hold an eligible working visa.
  • The applicant is 17 years or older.
  • The applicant is not getting an income support payment, ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Dad and Partner Pay or Parental Leave Pay.
  • The applicant is not getting the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment, a state or territory pandemic payment or a state small business payment for the same period.
  • The applicant lost income and doesn't have any appropriate paid leave entitlements.
  • The applicant lives in, works from or has visited a Commonwealth-declared COVID-19 hotspot that is subject to a state restricted movement order.
  • The applicant was unable to earn their usual income of 8 hours or more or a full day's work because they were in the COVID-19 hotspot and are subject to restricted movement.

 

Specific rules will also apply to each recognised hotspot, particularly around eligibility periods.

 

Note: On 9 August 2021, legislation was passed that would retrospectively make this payment non-assessable, non-exempt (NANE) income in the hands of the individual recipient. It is assumed that where taxpayers received such payments in June 2021 and have already lodged their 2021 income tax returns, they will receive an appropriate adjustment from the ATO in due course.

 

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment

  • Available in all States and territories to residents who cannot work because they are required to self-isolate, or they are in quarantine.
  • Residents are eligible for $1,500 for each 14-day period they are required to self-isolate or quarantine.

 

 

 

More details can be found at:

https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/ services/centrelink/pandemic-leave-disaster- payment

 


VICTORIAN support measure

Summary of the assistance

 

[NEW] Business Costs Assistance Program (BCAP) Round Three

 

On 6 August 2021, it was announced that eligible businesses will be automatically paid a BCAP Round Three grant of $2,800.

 

This is in addition to the BCAP Round Two which looked to pay grants of up to $7,000 (plus two additional "Top-Up Payments" in July 2021, totalling another $4,800) to eligible small and medium businesses in sectors most affected by the May-June 2021 COVID-19 Victorian restrictions.

 

Businesses that missed out on the BCAP Round Two may instead be eligible under a "BCAP Round Two July Extension" to receive a grant of up to $4,800.

 

 

 

 

A business eligible for the BCAP Round Two or BCAP Round Two July Extension should automatically receive the BCAP Round Three by mid-August 2021.

 

These payments will generally be tax-free.

 

Further information and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on BCAP Round Three can be found on the Business Victoria website.

 

Business Continuity Fund

 

On 28 July 2021, it was announced that the fund will deliver $5,000 grants to businesses that remain impacted by capacity limits due to public health restrictions.

 

The fund includes twenty-four eligible sectors.

 

Recognising businesses located in the Melbourne CBD will continue to be impacted due to restrictions on the number of staff allowed in office buildings, they will be eligible to receive an additional $2000 CBD grant.

 

 

 

Businesses eligible for either the BCAP Round Two or BCAP Round Two July Extension will be contacted from mid-August 2021 and this payment will be processed automatically.

 

It is currently assumed that the Federal Government will declare these grants to be tax-free.

 

Businesses that have not previously applied for this program or had been ineligible to apply but are now eligible, will be able to apply for lockdown support payments from July and should be considered outside of the automatic top-up process.

 

Further information and FAQs can be found on the Business Victoria website.

 

Small Business COVID Hardship Fund

 

On 28 July 2021, it was announced that a new fund would be set up to pay grants of up to $5,000 to small businesses that

  • payroll of up to $10 million;
  • has experienced a 70% or greater reduction in revenue; and
  • the business has not been eligible under existing business support funds.

 

On 6 August 2021, is was announced that additional funding would be added to the Small Business COVID Hardship Fund allowing grants of up to $8,000 to be paid.

 

 

 

It is currently assumed that the Federal Government will declare these grants to be tax-free.

 

More information and instructions on how to apply will be provided soon on the Business Victoria website.

 

Support for Commercial Tenants and Landlords

 

On 28 July, the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme has been reintroduced to ease pressure by providing rent relief for eligible tenants.

 

Eligibility:

  • annual turnover of less than $50 million; and
  • experienced a decline in turnover of at least 30% due to coronavirus.

 

Broadly this makes it a requirement for commercial landlords to provide proportional rent relief in line with a business's reduction in turnover, by providing at least half of any sum of rent relief by a waiver.

 

Separate support is being given to landlords who provide rent relief (via the Landlord Hardship Fund).

 

 

 

A mediation service for tenants and landlords will further support fair tenancy negotiations.

 

Tenants and landlords will be encouraged to enter negotiations directly, with the Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) available to provide mediation if parties cannot reach satisfactory agreement.

 

Tenants and landlords can contact the Victorian Small Business Commission on 13 87 22 or applications can be made through the Victorian Small Business Commission website.

 

Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund

 

On 28 July 2021, it was announced that automatic payments of up to $20,000 will be made to Victorian hospitality venues that received funding from the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund through the May/June lockdowns.

 

An additional $2,000 grant will also be made available to the business if it is located within the CBD.

 

On 6 August 2021, it was announced that new automatic payments of $5,000 to $20,000 will be made to hospitality venues that received funding support from the Licenced Hospitality Venue Fund through the May/June and July Lockdowns.

 

 

 

These payments will generally be tax-free.

 

Businesses that have not previously applied for this program or had been ineligible to apply but are now eligible, will be able to apply for July lockdown support payments and will be considered outside of the automatic top-up process.

 

More details can be found on the Business Victoria website in relation to the existing fund, with further updates expected soon.

 

Alpine Business Support Program

 

On 28 July 2021, it was announced Alpine businesses can receive between $5,000 (off-mountain) and $20,000 (employing businesses, on mountain) in recognition of restricted inter and intra-state travel during the peak winter season.

 

The fund also includes support to alpine resort operators and management boards.

 

On 6 August 2021, it was announced that Alpine businesses will receive between $5,000 (off-mountain) and $20,000 (employing businesses, on mountain) under a further extension of the Program.

 

 

 

These payments will generally be tax-free.

 

Further information on how to apply will be available shortly on the Business Victoria website.

 

Public events and public events suppliers

 

On 21 July 2021, it was announced that a further round of the Impacted Public Events Support Program will open shortly.

 

Eligible public events and public events suppliers affected by the lockdown will receive support of up to $25,000 and $10,000 respectively through an extension of the Impacted Public Events Support Program.

 

 

 

More details can be found on the Business Victoria website.

 

Applications closed on Friday 23 July 2021.

 

Sporting Clubs Grants Program

 

The Sporting Clubs Grants Program will provide $2,000 grants for community sport and active recreation organisations for events unable to proceed.

 

Grants of $2,000 for Victorian sport and active recreation organisations with a payroll of up to $3 million, to compensate for irrecoverable costs greater than $2,000 arising directly from the cancellation or postponement of events during the lockdown from 11:59pm on Thursday 15 July to 27 July 2021.

 

 

 

Applications are currently open and close on 13 August 2021.

 

Administered by Sports Victoria at:

sport.vic.gov.au

 

Small Business Digital Adaptation Program

 

This program provides $1,200 rebates for small businesses to access a range of digital business tools to help build your website, improve your cash flow, start online marketing, manage your jobs and projects, and keep better track of stock.

 

 

 

The program will re-open for applications soon.

 

You can register your interest via the Business Victoria website.

 


Please do not hesitate to contact your Lowe Lippmann Relationship Partner if you wish to discuss any of these matters further.