Small Business – COVID 19 – Hardship Fund | Assisting SME’s – August 2021

Providing COVID-19 Lockdown Update Small Business Hardship Fund information. On August 12, the state government announced a new $367 million Commonwealth and Victorian-funded support package for businesses most affected by the extension of the August COVID lockdown. The package is four-pronged, for small businesses and includes a boost to those eligible under the Business Costs Assistance Program Hardship Fund, which has so far been rolled out in three rounds.

The fourth iteration, totalling $271 million, will see more than 95,000 businesses in metropolitan Melbourne receive another automatic payment of $2800 that is expected to be paid within seven business days of the announcement. If your business qualified for a payment under round two, which was launched for the May and June lockdowns and extended into July, then it will automatically be eligible for the August round, and you won’t need to apply again.

For businesses that didn’t apply for help under round two or didn’t qualify at the time and now do, you can apply for a payment under that round until August 13.

The Victorian Government’s Small Business COVID Hardship Fund assists small to medium businesses whose operations have been severely impacted by COVID restrictions that have been in place between 27 May 2021 and August 2021 (COVID-19 restrictions) and;

  • have experienced at least a 70 per cent reduction in turnover as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions, and
  • are ineligible for other key COVID-19 Victorian Government business grant programs that have been announced since 27 May 2021.

Eligibility criteria for the Business Costs Assistance Program include:

  • Be located within Victoria;
  • Be registered as operating in an eligible industry sector;
  • Have incurred direct costs as a result of the July or August COVID-19 restrictions and the business cannot predominantly operate remotely;
  • Have an annual Victorian payroll of up to $10 million in 2019-20 on an ungrouped basis;
  • Be registered for GST on July 15, 2021;
  • Hold an ABN at least from July 15, 2021; and
  • Be registered with the responsible federal or state regulator
  • be registered with WorkSafe Victoria; and
  • attest that the business is supporting its workers to access any paid leave entitlements, or that if a person can work from home, to work from home during the COVID-19 Restrictions, and supporting their casual workers, where possible.

To demonstrate and verify eligibility, you must provide substantiation of your claim via your accountant according to the following rules:

  • All applicants to the Small Business COVID Hardship Fund must provide a qualified accountant, registered tax agent or registered BAS agent with all the information they need to determine whether the business meets the 70 per cent reduction in turnover requirement.
  • All or any information provided by the applicant will be validated with State and Federal Government agencies where appropriate.

Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund

Another round of the hardship fund payments for those eligible under the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund is a second prong of the $367 million package announced on August 12. Payments of between $5000 and $20,000 will be paid in the weeks after August 12 to more than 7000 licensed hospitality venues in metropolitan Melbourne that received support under the same program through previous lockdowns. Payments will be automatic and graded by venue capacity and total $55 million.

  • Venues with capacity for up to 99 patrons will receive $5000 grants, while venues with a capacity of between 100 and 499 will receive $10,000 grants, and venues with a capacity of 500 or above will receive $20,000 grants

Alpine Business Support Program extension

Alpine businesses eligible under this program should have already been contacted about receiving total grants of between $18,000 (off-mountain) and $58,000 (employing businesses, on mountain). But if a business believes they should have been contacted and deemed eligible, they can get in touch with the government by emailing:[email protected].

Applications close on August 20.

COVID-19 Disaster Payments

The fourth prong in the August 12 support package announcement is that the Victorian and Commonwealth governments have agreed to extend COVID-19 disaster payments to workers and businesses affected by the August lockdown extension. The payments are administered through Services Australia, with the federal government funding areas declared “a Commonwealth hotspot”, and the Victorian government funding payments for the remainder of the state.

COVID-19 lockdown update payment for small businesses funds are set at $450 for people who have lost between eight and 20 hours of work, or up to a full day of work over seven days, and $750 for those who’ve lost upwards of 20 hours of work. People who receive some Commonwealth income support payments are eligible to receive $200 under the scheme.

Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme

Legislation passed State Parliament on August 6 that is aimed at providing support to commercial tenants whose income has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The benefits and protections for commercial tenants and landlords include:

  • Proportionate rent relief (for example, a business with turnover at 40 per cent of pre-pandemic levels can only be charged 40 per cent of its rent – of the remaining rent at least half must be waived, with the remainder to be deferred);
  • A ban on rental increases;
  • A moratorium on evictions for eligible tenants who can’t pay their rent without first undertaking mediation through the Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC); and
  • Free mediation for commercial tenants and landlords to support fair tenancy negotiations.

The scheme will operate until January 15, 2022.

You can find about more about the Victorian Assistance schemes here.


Keep up to date with other COVID-19 Lockdown Update Small Business Hardship Fund or Government tax and funds. 

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