Welcome to Part Three of The Business Support Fund – Expansion.
If small business has a choice, I am sure that they would prefer to have not been affected over the past six months by COVID-19 and would like to operate under normal circumstances like many other small businesses in other States across Australia– however, this is not the case. Many of our small business clients benefited from the first &/or second rounds of the Business Support Fund, receiving between $10,000 to $20,000 to help somewhat during these unforeseen circumstances. Did this help, yes. Was it enough, no!

About the package
The Victorian Government has announced a third round of the Business Support Fund to provide direct financial support to businesses impacted by restrictions in Victoria and prepare for COVID Normal business.
$3 billion in cash grants, tax relief and cashflow support will be delivered to Victorian businesses that have been most affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. The package will help businesses survive and keep Victorians in jobs.

What Type of Business Support will be Available?
Small and medium sized business ($822 million): The third round of the Business Support Fund will provide up to $20,000 for business with a payroll of up to $10 million.
The amount of grants available from this program range from $10,000 to $20,000 depending on the business’ annual payroll.

To be eligible for a grant from this program, applicants must:

  • operate a business located within Victoria; and
  • participate in the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper Payment scheme; and
  • employ people and be registered with WorkSafe; and
  • have had an annual payroll of less than $10 million in 2019-20; and
  • be registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST); and
  • hold an Australian Business Number (ABN); and
  • be registered with the responsible Federal or State regulator.

An eligible business will receive:

  • $10,000 if its annual payroll is less than $650,000
  • $15,000 if its annual payroll is between $650,000 and $3 million
  •  $20,000 if its payroll is between $3 million and $10 million.

A full list of the eligibility criteria for a grant will be published when applications open.

How to Apply?
Grant applications will open on Friday 18 September 2020.

  • Further grants available will include:
    Licensed Hospitality Business ($251 million):Grants of up to $30,000 for licensed pubs, clubs, hotels, bars, restaurants, and reception centres, based on their venue capacity and location.
  • Business Chambers and Trader Groups ($3 million): A competitive grants program to support metropolitan and regional business chambers and trader groups.
  • Alpine businesses ($4.3 million): Grants of up to $20,000 to help alpine businesses pay a service charge to Alpine Resort Management Boards.
  • Sole Trader Support Fund ($100 million): Grants of up to $3,000 to over 30,000 eligible sole traders who operate from a commercial premises or location to which the sole operator is the tenant or licensee.

Business Adaptation
The package also provides additional funding, tools, and resources to help businesses adapt and prepare for reopening under COVID normal settings.

  • $20 million voucher program to assist sole traders and small businesses in building their digital capability,
  • $15.7 million package to help Victorian exporters get their products to market and establish new trade channels,
  • $8.5 million expansion to the ‘Click for Vic’ campaign to encourage more Victorians to support local businesses,
  • $87.5 million Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package to support hospitality businesses prepare for COVID Normal reopening across Victoria,
  •  $100 million Melbourne City Recovery Fund between the Victorian Government and the City of Melbourne to support Melbourne on the roadmap for reopening to COVID Normal in the lead up to Christmas and during summer.

Waivers and deferrals
The Government is also providing $1.8 billion in tax and cashflow support.

  • $1.7 billion to defer payroll tax for businesses with payrolls up to $10 million for the full 2020-21 financial year,
  • $41 million to bring forward the 50% stamp duty discount for commercial and industrial property for all of Regional Victoria,
  •  $33 million to defer the planned increase in the landfill levy for six months,
  •  $30 million to waive 25% of the Congestion Levy this year, with the outstanding balance deferred,
  • $27 million in liquor license fee waivers for 2021,
  • $6 million to waive Vacant Residential Land Tax for vacancies in 2020.

Be careful!
Applicants will be subject to a risk assessment which verifies business details provided with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commissioner (ACNC), Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) and/or other applicable regulators. 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.

Fine print
• Grants of $3,000 are available to sole traders who are tenants or licensees in commercial premises.
• More detail on eligibility for these grants is expected in the coming days.
This assistance plus more can not come quick enough. The feedback is that many businesses just want to reopen and get back trading to some normality. The grants will assist, but will never be enough to replace the losses from the past 6 months.
We will continue to keep you all updated when more information comes to hand by the Victorian Government.
Remember, grant applications will open on Friday 18 September 2020 and more information will be provided at that point.