Premier Daniel Andrews on Wednesday announced an injection of $282.5 million to the state’s business support package, which will now swell to $484.3 million and support some 90,000 Victorian businesses and sole traders for the duration of the state’s fifth lockdown.
Businesses eligible for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund will receive an additional $4,200, taking the total payment to $7,200, while those eligible for the Business Costs Assistance Program will receive a top-up of $2,800, taking the grant’s total to $4,800.
Further to the across-the-board top-ups, businesses in the alpine hospitality sector, retail and accommodation, and experience operator sector which were pre-eligible for grants of up to $15,000 will receive an extra $3,000 to shoulder some of the burden that restrictions have imposed on high-season earnings.
Eligible public events and events suppliers affected by the lockdown will receive support of up to $25,000 and $10,000, respectively, as part of another grant extension, this time to the Impacted Public Events Support Program.
The Live Performance Support programs, too, will receive a new round of funding, which will see eligible presenters receive $7,000 and suppliers receive $2,000.
Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula said boosting the business support grants was vital in ensuring businesses re-emerge from the pandemic able to resume driving the state’s economy.
“We’re making sure the businesses most affected by the lockdown have a chance to emerge from it in decent shape, so they can continue to play their vital role as employers and drivers of Victoria’s economy,” Mr Pakula said.
Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson said the state’s arts industry had been hit particularly hard, explaining the need for added support.
“Our live-performance sector has been doing it tough, with events being cancelled and gigs lost — that’s why we are providing additional support for those who work on stage and behind the scenes,” the minister said.
Minister for Community Sport Ros Spence said the support to local clubs was vital to organisations who have lost revenue from events that may only occur once every year.
“Local clubs rely on annual and one-off events to fund their everyday operations, which benefits players, supporters and the wider community,” Mr Spence said. “We’re proud to be backing these important organisations in tough times.”
The Premier’s office urged businesses that had opted against applying for either of the grants at the end of May and in early June — or those who may not have been eligible — to apply this time around, as they’ll be considered outside of the automatic top-up process.
The Victorian government has also confirmed that, following discussions with the federal government, the vast majority of micro-businesses not registered for GST will be eligible for the COVID disaster payment of either $600 or $375, depending on the hours lost, over a seven-day period.
It said the Victorian government will set up a “concierge service” to help these micro-businesses access the support.
“The Victorian government has provided almost $7 billion in direct economic support for businesses over the course of the pandemic, including more than $500 million through the May/June restrictions period with $461.2 million allocated for the lead Business Costs Assistance Program and Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund,” Mr Pakula said.
Mr Pakula said that about $180 million has already been paid over the past two days to more than 86,000 eligible businesses across the state.
John Buckley is a journalist at Accountants Daily.
Before joining the team in 2021, John worked at The Sydney Morning Herald. His reporting has featured in a range of outlets including The Washington Post, The Age, and The Saturday Paper.