A new jointly funded package from the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments will give small businesses the extra support and confidence they need to recover from the recent lockdown that was eased in late July[i].
Five key elements make up the support package to help businesses deal with ongoing public health restrictions.
Business continuity fund
A $156 million Business Continuity Fund will deliver $5,000 grants to up to around 30,000 businesses still impacted by capacity limits due to necessary public health restrictions. This funding is available to 24 eligible sectors, including gyms, cafes, restaurants, catering services and hairdressers.
Moreover, businesses located in the Melbourne CBD still impacted by restrictions on the number of staff allowed in office buildings are eligible for an additional $2,000. This support recognises these restrictions mean reduced foot traffic and hence customers until these employment restrictions lift.
All recipients must have received or been eligible for the previous Business Cost Assistance Program.
Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021
Undoubtedly licensed venues have done it tough in Melbourne, and as such, eligible venues can claim grants of up to $20,000 through the $70 million Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund.
The Victorian Government says these grants recognise that larger venues depend more on dine-in customers, have higher operating costs, and therefore require more support than smaller operations. Again, an additional $2,000 is available for businesses located in the Melbourne CBD.
To receive this additional funding, venues will need to have received or been eligible for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021.
Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme and Landlord Hardship Fund
To be fully funded by the Victorian Government, this package will deliver $80 million to provide support to landlords that provide rent relief to their tenants.
The Commercial Tenancies Relief Scheme will also be reinstated to provide rent relief for small to medium commercial tenants and their landlords, with more details to be provided by the Victorian Government soon.
Tenants and landlords can contact the Victorian Small Business Commission for further information on 13 87 22 or visit vsbc.vic.gov.au.
Small Business COVID Hardship Fund
A new $85 million fund will be established to support small businesses that have not been eligible under existing business support funds.
Small businesses with a payroll of up to $10 million with a 70% or greater reduction in revenue will be eligible for grants of up to $5,000.
Alpine Business Support Program
Alpine Business Support will receive a further $9.8 million to deliver grants of between $5,000 and $20,000 to 430 Alpine-based businesses affected by restricted inter and intra-state travel during the peak winter season.
The funding also includes an additional $5 million support to alpine resort operators and management boards.
Regarding the suite of grants for small businesses, the Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas said, “We’re supporting Victorian businesses each step of the way as we continue to fight this pandemic.”
“We know small businesses have been doing it tough and this new fund will give them the support they need to recover.”
Brokers can play a role is assisting and mentoring small business clients
Nick Reily, National Channel Manager at OnDeck Australia says brokers can continue to work with their small business clients to let them know about the extra financial assistance available from the Victorian and Federal Government.
“Most microbusinesses, for example, not registered for GST are eligible for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment of $600 or $375 per week[ii],” he said. The Victorian Government has a concierge service to help sole traders access this support.
As a dedicated small business lender OnDeck Australia is making it easy for brokers to help their SME clients rebound from the latest round of restrictions. “OnDeck has recently launched Lightning Loans, which are unsecured loans up to $100,000. As the name says, Lightning Loans are super-fast,” said Nick Reily.
“Finance can be approved in as fast as one hour, with funds available to eligible small businesses in as fast as two hours – or alternatives are offered without delay.
“It’s great news for small businesses looking to seize opportunities as they emerge from the restrictions in Victoria, and a big plus for brokers who can get the deal done sooner.”
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