With the latest lockdown in Victoria entering its second month, there is some more support news for small and medium-sized businesses hardest hit by the current public health measures.

The Commonwealth and Victorian Governments together will fund a support package to provide a four-week boost to small and medium-sized Victorian businesses. The package – of up to $2.34 billion – is expected to support around 175,000 Victorian businesses. Most payments will be deposited automatically into businesses’ bank accounts, whereas a new tiered payments system for the Business Costs Assistance Program will be for higher payments to businesses with larger workforces.

Dependent on payroll size, Business Costs Assistance Program payments will be automatically made at rates of $2,800 (annual payroll below $650,000), $5,600 (payroll of $650,000 to $3 million) and $8,400 (payroll of $3 million to $10 million) a week over September to cover ongoing costs such as wages, rent, utilities and insurance.

Other support news

Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund

  • Eligible cafes, restaurants and bars will continue to receive Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund payments of between $5,000 and $20,000 per week. Hospitality businesses will remain eligible while they are unable to operate due to public health restrictions.

International Education Resilience Fund

  • The Victorian Government has announced a $50 million International Education Resilience Fund alongside additional payroll tax measures to provide cash flow support to universities. Universities will have more time to repay existing payroll tax deferrals worth $130 million that were granted in 2020. Universities will also be granted further payroll tax deferrals worth approximately $135 million for tax payable for 2021-22. These payments will be repaid in two instalments in 2024.

Small Business COVID Hardship Fund

  • The Small Business COVID Hardship Fund will increase the grant amount to $20,000 for around 35,000 businesses. The deadline for applications has also extended where applications will close on 10 September. This program supports businesses that have been ineligible for Victorian Government business support programs since May but have experienced a reduction in revenue of at least 70 per cent. This includes businesses that are legally allowed to operate but are restricted in their ability to generate revenue.

Alpine Support Package

  • The Alpine Support Package will help support resorts through the remainder of the season and September school holidays with an automatic top-up payment of between $10,000 and $40,000. The amount is dependent on business location and staff employed.

The state’s lockdown will remain in some capacity until 70 per cent of Victorians have had at least one dose of the vaccine – which is expected to be achieved around 23 September.