Grants to support Victoria’s small and medium businesses

A jointly funded package of grants from the Commonwealth and Victorian governments will support thousands of small and medium-sized businesses through the next six weeks at which point Victoria is expected to reach 80% fully vaccinated.

The funding package of up to $2.27 billion announced today will support businesses most affected by restrictions as Victoria reaches the 70%, then 80% fully vaccinated thresholds on the state’s Roadmap to Deliver the National Plan.

At these key markers, forecast around 26 October and 5 November respectively, dining, entertainment, retail, sport, recreation and other sectors will “progressively and safely” open.

160,000 businesses, ranging from retailers and gyms to hairdressers and hotels, are expected to receive support. This will mostly be through automatic deposits into their bank accounts.

Of these, around 124,000 eligible businesses will receive automatic Business Costs Assistance Program grants ranging from $1000 to $8400 per week, rising according to payroll, until the end of October. Businesses that remain closed or severely restricted over the first two weeks of November will also receive automatic payments for that period.

More than 9000 eligible cafes, restaurants, hotels and bars across Victoria will receive automatic Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund payments of between $5000 and $20,000 per week until the end of October.

Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund payments will continue for the first half of November, set at reduced rates to reflect lower restrictions in place at that stage under Victoria’s roadmap.

The package will also enable a further 30,000 businesses to receive a one-off $20,000 payment through the Small Business Covid Hardship Fund, taking the number of recipients to 65,000.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says this package comes on top of the Morrison government’s more than $45 billion in direct economic support to Victorian households and businesses since the start of the pandemic.

“The Morrison government understands the significant impact lockdowns and border closures have had on small and medium businesses across Victoria, which is why safely opening up in line with the plan agreed at National Cabinet is so important,” he says.

“We can’t eliminate the virus. We need to learn to live with it in a Covid-safe way. Our economy has bounced back strongly before once restrictions are eased and is well positioned to do so again when lockdowns lift.”

Victorian government’s support

The Victorian government has to date provided more than $10 billion in direct financial support for businesses over the course of the pandemic (before today’s new $1.1 billion commitment to the joint package).

Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas says the funding will ensure businesses have the best chance of sustaining the final weeks of lockdown and recovering strongly.

“Victorian businesses have endured so much over the past 20 months, and they’ve been amazingly resilient as we’ve faced challenge after challenge,” he says.

“We are opening up and our roadmap shows us how we get there – this jointly funded package will underpin businesses across the state, help them to keep their workers on and plan for a really positive future.

“We know that the bills don’t stop just because revenue does, and we are proud to stand with the businesses that form the backbone of our economy.”

Victorian Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula says the funding for business was an important part of a comprehensive plan for re-opening.

“Vaccination is our way out of the pandemic and as more and more Victorians roll up their sleeves, those key double-dose targets are in sight,” he says.

“Once we open up, it’s vital for everyone that we can stay open. That’s businesses owners, their workers and suppliers and their customers.

“The vaccinated economy trials starting in little over 10 days will be another important step for businesses as we move steadily and safely to greater freedoms.”

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