There is support available to help businesses through the coronavirus pandemic.
Council has launched a package of assistance measures to help residents and business operators survive these difficult times.
- A deferral of commercial rent payments in Council owned buildings and facilities for two months, to be further assessed as the situation progresses.
- Business ratepayers are able to enter into a payment arrangement or apply for financial hardship consideration regarding rates. Each case will be assessed on individual circumstances with outcomes customised according to the need of each case.
- All fees associated with Food Act registrations have been waived for the 2020 calendar year and it is proposed in the draft Budget to extend this to the 2021 calendar year;
- All fees associated with Public Health and Wellbeing Act registrations have been waived for the 2020 calendar year and it is proposed in the draft Budget to extend this to the 2021 calendar year;
- All fees associated with Residential Tenancies Act registrations due this year have been waived, not due again until December 2022.
- Fees associated with businesses obtaining permits under Council’s Local Law have been waived for the 2019/20 financial year, and it is proposed in the draft Budget to extend this to the 2020/21 financial year.
Information on support for residents is available on our Coronavirus COVID-19 information page.
A hotline is available for businesses dealing with the significant challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The pandemic is creating issues for businesses large and small who are facing a downturn in trade, bans on events and restrictions on indoor gatherings, as well as challenges in dealing with employee safety and entitlements.
Given the rapidly changing nature of the crisis, businesses need quick access to accurate information on how to keep their workplace safe, and advice on how to plan to deal with the current situation and anticipate likely developments.
Businesses across the state can now access information on dealing with COVID-19 by calling the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15.
Operators calling the hotline will be able to get information about support services, including those available through Business Victoria, which offers mentoring to help operators develop business continuity and recovery plans.
The hotline will provide the latest information on the response to COVID-19 and how this affects businesses, including how to access financial support available through the national stimulus package.
In addition to calling the Business Victoria hotline, business operators can also find information at business.vic.gov.au.
It is mandatory for every Victorian business to have a COVIDSafe Plan.
Information and resources to help businesses prepare a COVIDSafe Plan are available at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/covidsafe-plan.
The roadmaps for reopening and industry restrictions are available at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covid-19-restrictions-roadmaps.
The Victorian Government has announced new, stronger requirements for businesses in regional Victoria to prevent future outbreaks of COVID-19 and keep regional Victoria safe.
Some businesses in regional Victoria are now required to refuse seated service or bookings for residents from metropolitan Melbourne. This applies to hospitality businesses, accommodation, beauty and personal services and tourism operators.
Businesses must sight a photo ID (such as a driver’s licence or proof of age card containing place of residence) and match the appearance and details of the customer or visitor (name and address) to ensure the individual is not from metropolitan Melbourne.
If the individual is a resident in metropolitan Melbourne, businesses must inform them that they will be refused service.
Where a prospective customer or visitor does not have photo ID or their ID does not match their ordinary residence or principal residence — the prospective customer or visitor must sign a written form confirming their primary place of residence is not in metropolitan Melbourne.
If a business refuses service and bookings from people living in metropolitan Melbourne, they have met their obligations for this requirement.
The existing infringement penalties for failing to comply with Chief Health Officer directions will be applicable to businesses that fail to comply with the new requirements. Businesses that do not comply will face a penalty of $9,913 where they are a body corporate or $1,652 in the case of individuals.
Where police or authorised officers consider that specific cases are particularly serious, they can determine to prosecute the matter through the courts where the maximum fine available is $19,826.40 for individuals and $99,132 for bodies corporate.
Regional Victoria is well along the road to COVID Normal after lots of hard work to slow the spread of COVID-19. But we need to keep working together.
We must do everything we can to keep our communities safe and prevent unexpected cases of COVID-19.
To learn more about these new requirements and how to make your workplace COVIDSafe, visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/business-owners-and-managers.
- Download a poster for use in your hospitality business
- Download a Declaration for accessing regional business form
Applications are open for a number of State Government grants to support businesses impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.
The Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund program will provide grants of up to $30,000 for eligible liquor licensees with hospitality venues impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.
The Sole Trader Support Fund provides grants of $3,000 to eligible non-employing sole traders who are impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.
The third round of the Business Support Fund will provide grants of up to $20,000 to eligible businesses, ensuring they continue to receive the support they need to make it through restricted trading.
Applications are now open for Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund grants - supporting small, private landlords who may not have the capacity to provide rent reductions to their tenants under the requirements of the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme.
Local businesses can now apply for a grant of $5,000 to establish or expand their outdoor dining offering through the Victorian Government’s $58 million Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package.
Grants are available to licensed and unlicensed hospitality businesses, including restaurants, cafes, pubs/taverns, bars, clubs and takeaway food venues.
Funds can be used to pay for practical things like umbrellas, outdoor furniture, screens and other equipment.
This will help move the indoor dining and cafe experiences outdoors. Recipients can also use grants for training, marketing and other costs of adapting new, expanded or enhanced outdoor dining.
Applications are now open - apply here.
Applications will remain open until funds are exhausted or until 11.59pm on 11 December 2020, whichever is earlier.
If your business is not eligible for a grant under this program, you may be eligible for support under the Victorian Government’s Business Resilience Package. Information about other support for businesses is available on the Business Victoria coronavirus (COVID-19) business information page.
The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Victoria Tourism Industry Council are offering free memberships valued up to $700.
They support businesses, offering training, workplace relation advice, tools and templates (fact sheets, human resources, policy and letter templates and position descriptions).
$5,000 grants for businesses
The Victorian Government's Business Support Fund has been extended. We encourage local businesses to check their eligibility and apply for a $5,000 grant available to regional Victorian businesses impacted by ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.
Businesses which have already received a Business Support Fund - Expansion grant, or have applied for one, will not need to re-apply. Successful applicants will automatically receive this additional allocation.
Applications for the program will be extended until 14 September 2020. Updated guidelines and information will be provided by the Victorian Government in the coming days.
The Government has announced a $130 billion JobKeeper payment to help keep more Australians in jobs and support businesses affected by the significant economic impact caused by the Coronavirus.
Around 6 million workers will receive a fortnightly payment of $1,500 (before tax) through their employer. The payment ensures eligible employers remain connected to their workforce and will help businesses restart quickly when the crisis is over.
Economic Survival Package
The Victorian Government has established an economic survival package to support Victorian businesses and workers through the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The $1.7 billion Economic Survival Package complements the work of the Federal Government.
The package includes the following key programs:
Payroll Tax Refund
Businesses with annual taxable wages up to $3 million will have their payroll tax for the 2019-20 financial year waived. This will support 24,000 businesses and up to 400,000 workers.
Liquor licence fees waived
Renewable liquor licence fees for 2020 will be waived. Businesses that have already paid will be reimbursed.
Business Support Fund
The $500 million Business Support Fund will support the hardest hit sectors, including hospitality, tourism, accommodation, arts and entertainment, and retail.
Working for Victoria Fund
Under the $500 million Working for Victoria Fund, displaced workers will be eligible to apply for different types of work. This presents opportunities for paid work and an opportunity to contribute to Victoria’s ability to manage this event and support the community.
Land tax deferral
Landowners that have at least one non-residential property and total taxable landholdings below $1 million have the option of deferring their 2020 land tax payment until after 31 December 2020.
Fast tracking outstanding supplier invoices
The Government will pay all outstanding supplier invoices within five business days – releasing up to $750 million into the economy earlier.
Rent relief for commercial tenants in government buildings
The Government will work directly with commercial tenants in government buildings who can apply for rent relief. Private landlords are also being encouraged to provide rent relief or holidays to help businesses.
The Commonwealth Government has also announced its economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The support for business includes:
• Boosting cash flow for employers
• Increasing the Instant Asset Write-off
• Backing business investment
• Supporting apprentices and trainees
• Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
• Supporting access to credit
Early access to superannuation
Individuals affected by the coronavirus can access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. You will be able to apply for early release of your superannuation from 20 April 2020.
To apply for early release you must satisfy any one or more of the following requirements:
- You're unemployed
- You're eligible to receive a JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance for job seekers, Parenting Payment (which includes the single and partnered payments), Special Benefit or Farm Household Allowance on or after 1 January 2020
- You were made redundant
- Your working hours were reduced by 20 per cent or more
- If you're a sole trader, your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20% or more
People accessing their superannuation will not need to pay tax on amounts released and the money they withdraw will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.
You will be able to apply for early release of your superannuation from 20 April 2020.
Applications for early release of superannuation will be accepted through myGov from 20 April, 2020.
The temporary Coronavirus Supplement provides an extra $550 a fortnight payment on top of income support payment.
You’ll automatically get the supplement if you’re getting one of these payments:
- JobSeeker Payment, Partner Allowance, Widow Allowance, Sickness Allowance and Wife Pension
- Youth Allowance for job seekers
- Youth Allowance for students and apprentices
- Austudy for students and apprentices
- ABSTUDY for students getting Living Allowance
- Parenting Payment partnered and single
- Farm Household Allowance
- Special Benefit
If you’re already getting one of these payments Centrelink will pay you automatically from 27 April 2020, and will continue to pay you the supplement each fortnight if you’re eligible for up to 6 months.
Payment for Employees
Staff may be able to get a Centrelink payment if they are isolated at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. To get a payment, the individual needs to meet all the eligibility rules including residence rules and income and assets. Payments may be available for individuals who are unable to work due to being in isolation or hospitalised or caring for children.
- Youth Allowance
- JobSeeker Payment
- Parenting Payment
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will assist businesses (including sole traders) experiencing financial difficulty. Contact the ATO directly to discuss your circumstances.
Small businesses with a turnover of less than $10 million are eligible to use instant asset write-off if they meet the criteria.
The Australian Banking Association (ABA) has stated all small businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic will be able to access a six-month deferral of all loan repayments.
Assistance can include:
- A deferral of scheduled loan repayments
- Waiving fees and charges
- Interest free periods or no interest rate increases
- Debt consolidation to help make repayments more manageable
If your business is affected by COVID-19 speak directly to your bank to receive a six month business loan payment deferral.
The Small Business Victoria website provides advice, updates and support to help your workplace plan in responding to coronavirus COVID-19. Everything is covered in a simple step-by-step fashion, from what to tell your employees to developing a recovery plan for your business.
The page will also be updated as new information becomes available. Please check back regularly to stay up-to-date with the latest advice for your business.