The COVID-19 pandemic and recent lockdown orders have continued to place Victorian businesses in compromising and challenging situations. Both State and Federal Governments have announced they will be providing further economic assistance to help businesses navigate these uncertain circumstances. Whilst the support is certainly welcome, keeping up with the latest assistance packages has placed an additional strain on impacted individuals and businesses in understanding what options are available to them.
The following information will provide a snapshot of some of the most recently announced COVID-19 assistance packages that have been made available in Victoria. This will provide an outline of the assistance measure, along with the relevant eligibility criteria.
The Commonwealth COVID-19 Disaster Payment
Announced on 3 June 2021, the COVID-19 Disaster Payment was in response to the May and June 2021 Victorian lockdown. Its aim is to provide weekly assistance to eligible individuals who have lost hours of paid work due to state-imposed health restrictions.
The eligibility criteria and the value of the COVID-19 Disaster Payment have continuously changed as they have been applied to subsequent COVID-19 hotspots and the resulting public health orders. The Disaster Payment an individual receives will depend upon factors such as the location of the applicable health order, the period the individual is claiming for and the hours of work they lost.
As of August 16 2021, the current version of the COVID-19 Disaster Payment will see eligible recipients generally receive:
- $750 each week if a person has lost 20 hours or more of work a week (increased from previous amounts of initially $500 and later $600); or
- $450 each week if a person has lost between 8 and 20 hours of work, or a full day of their usual work if less than eight hours (increased from previous amounts of initially $325 and later $375).
Business Costs Assistance Program Round Three (‘BCAP3’)
Announced on 6 August 2021, eligible businesses will be automatically paid a ‘Business Costs Assistance Program’ Round Three (‘BCAP3’) grant of $2,800.
This is in addition to the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two (‘BCAP2’) which looked to pay grants of up to $7,000 (plus two additional “Top-Up Payments” in July 2021, totalling another $4,800) to eligible small and medium businesses in sectors most affected by the May-June 2021 COVID-19 Victorian restrictions. Businesses that missed out on the BCAP2 may instead be eligible under a “BCAP2 July Extension” to receive a grant of up to $4,800. These payments will generally be tax-free.
A business eligible for the BCAP2 or BCAP2 July Extension should automatically receive the BCAP3 by mid-August 2021
A New Business Continuity Fund
On 28 July 2021, it was announced that a new ‘Business Continuity Fund’ will be established to deliver $5000 grants to businesses impacted by capacity limits placed on businesses by necessary public health restrictions. Additionally, businesses located in the CBD will continue to be impacted due to restrictions on the number of staff allowed in office buildings and therefore be eligible to receive an additional $2000 CBD grant.
Businesses eligible for either the BCAP2 or BCAP2 July Extension will be contacted from mid-August 2021 and this payment will be processed automatically.
Small Business COVID Hardship Fund
On 28 July 2021, it was announced that a new fund would be set up to pay grants of up to $10,000 to small businesses that:
- are not eligible for support under existing programs;
- have experienced at least a 70% reduction in turnover; and
- have a payroll of up to $10 million.
Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund
On 28 July 2021, it was announced that automatic payments of up to $20,000 will be made to Victorian hospitality venues that received funding from the ‘Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund’ through the May and June 2021 lockdowns.
Additionally, businesses that are located within Melbourne’s CBD will also have a $2,000 grant made available. On 6 August 2021, it was announced that new automatic payments of $5,000 to $20,000 will be made to hospitality venues that received funding support from the Licenced Hospitality Venue Fund through the May, June and July 2021 Lockdowns.
Sole traders or microbusinesses seeking information or advice about COVID-19 business support in Victoria, can now call a dedicated concierge service to understand what support is available to them. This service is relevant for individuals who work for themselves or have 1 to 2 employees and an annual turnover of less than $75,000, and are not eligible for Victorian Government COVID-19 business support grants.
For more information refer to the Business Victoria ‘Grants and programs’ for further detail on all available VIC Government COVID-19 business assistance. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us.