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Victorian Business Support Fund – Expansion Program open until 14 September 2020

On Monday (3rd August 2020), the Victorian Government announced updated restrictions to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Victoria by introducing the following:

  • Stage 4 Restrictions are in place from 6pm on Sunday 2 August for metropolitan Melbourne; and
  • Stage 3 Restrictions are in place from 11:59pm on Wednesday 5 August for Regional Victoria, including Mitchell Shire.

This combination of restrictions means that many businesses will have to operate in a limited capacity, or unfortunately can no longer operate until restrictions are lifted.

 


What is the additional business support?

To support businesses impacted by these restrictions, an additional one-off cash grant has been made available to eligible businesses under the VIC Business Support Fund – Expansion Program as follows:

  • $10,000 grant for employing businesses in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire in recognition of spending longer under "lockdown" restrictions; and
  • $5,000 grant for employing businesses in regional local government areas (except Mitchell Shire)

Importantly, businesses which have already received the last $5,000 Business Support Fund Expansion Grant (when Stage 3 Restrictions were announced for metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire on 10 July 2020), will not need to re-apply.   All successful applicants will automatically receive approval for an additional $5,000 (making the total grant payment $10,000 for the eligible employing businesses in the 31 metropolitan Melbourne Local Government Areas and Mitchell Shire to reflect the sustained period of Stage 3 and Stage 4 "Stay at Home" restrictions under this Business Support Fund Expansion Program).

 

If you did not apply for the $5,000 Business Support Fund Expansion Grant (when Stage 3 Restrictions were announced for metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire on 10 July 2020), you will need to complete the application process explained below.

 


What type of business can apply for this expanded grant?

Businesses can apply where they meet all of the criteria listed below, including:

  • operating a business located in metropolitan Melbourne or regional Victoria;
  • participating in the JobKeeper Payment scheme;
  • the business employs people;
  • registered with WorkSafe on 30 June 2020;
  • have an annual payroll of less than $3 million in 2019-20 (on an ungrouped basis);
  • registered for GST as at 30 June 2020;
  • holds an Australian Business Number (ABN), and has held that ABN as at 30 June 2020; and
  • registered with the responsible Federal or State regulator (such as the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC), or Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV)).

Businesses that have received funding from other components of the Victorian Government's Economic Survival Package are eligible to apply for this program.


Applicants should be aware of the "fine print".

  • Business owners (including sole traders and partnerships) that do not employ staff (ie. non-employing businesses) are not eligible for funding through this program, as eligible businesses must employ persons other than themselves.
  • The applicant must be able to provide a WorkCover Employer Number (WEN), which is used to validate with WorkSafe that the business employs people and that they have a registered business operation within the relevant Victorian region.
  • Not-for-profit entities and charities with annual revenue between $75,000 and $150,000 that are not registered for GST and are registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC) are eligible to apply.
  • If you have more than one business registered with different ABNs and they can individually meet the relevant criteria, you may be eligible for a grant for each business, and you would need to submit a separate application for each business.

How can the grant funds be used?

If approved, the one-off cash grant of $10,000 or $5,000 may be used to assist the business with:

  • meeting business costs (including utilities, salaries or rent);
  • seeking financial, legal or other advice to support business continuity planning;
  • developing the business through marketing and communications activities; or
  • any other supporting activities related to the operation of the business.

How to apply?

Applicants must submit an application online via the 'Apply now' button from the Business Victoria website – click here

Applications for the expanded grant are open until 14 September 2020.

If you require help to complete your application form, you can call Business Victoria on 13 22 15.

 


What information is needed for the application?

All questions in the application must be completed and any requested documentation attached (as a PDF) to ensure timely assessment and grant payment.  Examples of relevant documents include evidence of the address of their eligible business operation through their most recent utility bill (ie. gas, electricity, telecommunications, water), lease agreement, or council rate notice.

 

Applicants must also provide evidence of their participation in the JobKeeper Payment scheme, for example, by providing evidence of the most recent submitted JobKeeper Payment business monthly declaration.

As part of the assessment process, evidence provided by applicants may be subject to a check with other government agencies including the VIC State Revenue Office, WorkSafe and ASIC.

 

Applicants will be subject to an audit by the Victorian Government or its representatives and will be required to produce evidence (such as payroll reports to demonstrate impact) at the request of the Victorian Government for a period of four years after the grant has been approved.

 

If any information in the application is found to be false or misleading, or grants are not applied for the purposes of the business in accordance with the terms of funding as set out in these guidelines and attached application, the grant will be repayable to the Victorian Government on demand.

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