There is support available to help businesses through the coronavirus pandemic.
Business Concierge Service
As we all navigate the newest changes to COVID-19 restrictions, help is on hand for our local businesses.
We know the Government’s increased identification checking and QR code record keeping requirements will place a strain on local businesses and staff.
We know it can be confusing to understand exactly what you, as a business operator, need to do.
That’s where Council’s Business Concierge can help.
Our Business Concierge is here to support businesses to implement COVIDSafe practices, ensure their customers check-in correctly and understand the importance of the check-in processes for contact tracing in case of outbreaks.
If you’re a small business operator who needs help to review your COVIDSafe plan, or advice on the checking in of patrons, please contact Council on 5755 0555 to be referred to our Business Concierge.
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.
The Victorian Government has launched the free Partners in Wellbeing helpline to offer small businesses and their employees free and confidential one-on-one access to wellbeing coaches, financial counsellors and business advisors.
The 1300 375 330 Helpline is available seven days a week.
The Victoria Tourism Industry Council has established a dedicated Small Business Wellbeing Program for the tourism industry, including Alpine resorts.
The program offers free and confidential one-on-one access to a highly experienced wellbeing and mental health consultant and free financial counselling and business advice.
Learn more: https://hub.vtic.com.au/topic/wellbeing/
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 launched a $250 million Circuit Breaker Business Support Package to assist small to medium businesses and sole traders.
The package will support businesses unable to operate due to the necessary circuit breaker restrictions announced on 27 May 2021, including targeted support for the events industry.
The program will open for applications on Wednesday, 2 June 2021 and will remain open for three weeks.
Details of the program can be found at https://business.vic.gov.au/grants-and-programs/circuit-breaker-business-support-package.
Business Costs Assistance Program
This program will assist small to medium-sized businesses, including employing and non-employing businesses, in eligible sectors impacted by the recent COVID restrictions.
This includes restaurants, event suppliers, accommodation providers, non-essential retailers, and other impacted sectors.
The Victorian Government will provide new cash grants for businesses affected by the July 2021 lockdown.
Local businesses that have and will receive payments through the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund and Business Costs Assistance Program relating to the May-June lockdown will automatically receive the new support payments of $3,000 and $2,000 respectively.
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.
To find out what other grants may be available to you or your business/group, go to the Indi Funding Finder.
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).
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 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.