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14 September 2020

Victorian Government Business Survival and Adaption Package

On 13 September 2020 a $3 billion support package for Victorian businesses in cash grants, tax relief and cashflow support will be available to those that have been most affected by the COVID-19 restrictions. This was announced by the Victorian Government in response to the extension of the lockdown period, previously due to finish on that date.

Immediate response will be a third round of Business Support Fund Grants.

An eligible business will receive:

  • $10,000 if its annual payroll is less than $650,000
  • $15,000 if its annual payroll is between $650,000 and $3 million
  • $20,000 if its payroll is between $3 million and $10 million.

Applications are due to open shortly and a full list of the eligibility criteria will be provided at that time.
A link to the application page is provided here

A summary of all proposed packages as at the current date are detailed below. 

Business Survival

  • Small and medium sized business ($822 million): The third round of the Business Support Fund will provide up to $20,000 for business with a payroll of up to $10 million:
  • Licensed Hospitality Business ($251 million): Grants of up to $30,000 for licensed pubs, clubs, hotels, bars, restaurants and reception centres, based on their venue capacity and location.
  • Business Chambers and Trader Groups ($3 million): A competitive grants program to support metropolitan and regional business chambers and trader groups.
  • Alpine businesses ($4.3 million): Grants of up to $20,000 to help alpine businesses pay a service charge to Alpine Resort Management Boards.

Business Adaptation

The package also provides additional funding, tools and resources to help businesses adapt and prepare for reopening under COVID normal settings.

  • $20 million voucher program to assist sole traders and small businesses in building their digital capability
  • $15.7 million package to help Victorian exporters get their products to market and establish new trade channels.
  • $8.5 million expansion to the ‘Click for Vic’ campaign to encourage more Victorians to support local businesses.

Waivers and deferrals

The Government is also providing $1.8 billion in tax and cashflow support.

  • $1.7 billion in payroll tax deferrals for the full 2020-21 financial year
  • $41 million to bring forward the 50% stamp duty discount for commercial and industrial property for all of Regional Victoria.
  • $33 million to defer the planned increase in the landfill levy for six months
  • $30 million to waive 25% of the Congestion Levy this year, with the outstanding balance deferred.
  • $27 million in liquor license fee waivers for 2021
  • $6 million to waive Vacant Residential Land Tax for vacancies in 2020.

Should you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact our office.

14 August 2020

JobKeeper Scheme – URGENT Action Required

A legislative instrument was registered on 14 August 2020 amending the current JobKeeper rules to allow businesses to claim the subsidy in respect of new employees with a revised eligibility date of 1st July 2020 (previously 1 March 2020).  These same rules will also apply for eligible business participants where applicable.

These changes apply to JobKeeper payments beginning on or after 3 August 2020 (FN 10 & 11 onwards).

This means you may be able to claim JobKeeper for more employees.

Full details are available on our dedicated JobKeeper page https://hotchkinhughes.com.au/jobkeeper-payment/

7 August 2020

Expanded JobKeeper 3.0 Scheme

In light of the recent introduction of Stage 4 Restrictions to the Melbourne Metro area and Stage 3 Restrictions for the rest of Victoria and the affect that this will have on businesses over the next 6 weeks and beyond, two major changes have been announced today by the Federal Government as this scheme moves beyond September 27 – now to be called JobKeeper 3.0.

Full details are available on our dedicated JobKeeper page https://hotchkinhughes.com.au/jobkeeper-payment/

Victorian Government Business Support Grant Expansion

To support businesses impacted by these restrictions, one-off grants will be made available to eligible businesses under the Business Support Fund – Expansion program:

  • $10,000 for employing businesses in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire in recognition of spending longer under restrictions
  • $5,000 for employing businesses in regional local government areas (except Mitchell Shire)

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.

This program is in addition to the first round of the Business Support Fund, which closed on 1 June 2020.

Please refer to the link below for further information in relation to this grant and to commence the application process, or alternatively if you would like us to apply on your behalf, contact our office .

https://www.business.vic.gov.au/support-for-your-business/grants-and-assistance/business-support-package/business-support-fund

To be eligible for the Fund, businesses must meet ALL of the following criteria:
a) Operate a business located within Victoria; and
b) Be a participant in the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper Payment scheme; and
c) Employ people and be registered with WorkSafe on 30 June 2020; and
d) Have an annual payroll of less than $3 million in 2019-20 on an ungrouped basis; and
e) Be registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST) on 30 June 2020; and
f) Hold an Australian Business Number (ABN) and have held that ABN at
30 June 2020; and
g) Be registered with the responsible Federal or State regulator.

Owners of businesses that do not employ people (non-employing businesses) are not eligible for funding.

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Summary of State and Commonwealth Victorian Business Assistance Packages

Victorian Government assistance for businesses in response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

$3 billion economic survival and jobs package

Business Support Fund

The $500 million Business Support Fund supported Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) within the hardest hit sectors, including hospitality, tourism, accommodation, arts and entertainment, and retail. A one-off $10,000 grant was available to businesses. Applications are now closed.

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 a chance to contribute to Victoria’s ability to manage this event and support the community. Apply now.

Payroll Tax Refund

Businesses with annual taxable wages up to $3 million will have their payroll tax for the 2019-20 financial year waived, giving $550 million back to businesses who need it. Eligible businesses must continue to lodge returns but do not need to make further payments for this financial year. These businesses can also defer paying payroll tax for the first quarter of the 2020-21 financial year. More information.

Payroll tax exemption for additional payments made under the JobKeeper program

For employers participating in the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper program, “additional payments” you make to employees are now exempt from payroll tax. For payments to employees that have been stood down, the full $1,500 per fortnight is exempt. The additional payments are also excluded for the purposes of calculating WorkCover Premiums. More information.

Commercial tenancies relief scheme

The Victorian Government will immediately introduce a commercial tenancy relief scheme to alleviate the financial hardship faced by tenants and landlords as a result of COVID-19. More information.

Rent relief for commercial tenants in government buildings

The Victorian 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.

Land tax relief

Landowners who 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. Landlords who provide tenants impacted by COVID-19 with rent relief may be eligible for a 25 per cent reduction on the property’s 2020 land tax. More information.

Liquor licence fees waived

Renewable liquor licence fees for 2020 will be waived. Businesses who have already paid will be reimbursed. More information.

Experience Economy Survival Package

The Victorian Government is backing Victorian sport, tourism and creative industries, with $150 million to support sporting clubs and competitions across the state – from grassroots to elite – as well as major tourist attractions, galleries and museums, and the racing industry. More information.

Night-time Economy Business Support Initiative: support for pubs, clubs and restaurants

This Initiative recognises that these venues, unlike many other commercial tenants, have complex licencing and leasing arrangements. $40 million from the Business Support Fund will be made available to provide rent relief for licenced venues with an individual annual turnover of up to $50 million, but who are not covered by the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme. Register your interest.

Sustaining Creative Workers initiative

The initiative delivers quick-response funding to professional independent creative practitioners, sole traders, freelancers, collectives and micro-organisations/businesses whose work and livelihoods have been negatively impacted by coronavirus. Applications are now closed.

Victorian Business Growth Fund (VBGF)

The $250 million VBGF is now open to support long‑term growth opportunities for businesses and boost employment and economic development across the State. Established by the Victorian Government and First State Super, the Fund will operate for 10 years and will help to address barriers faced by successful small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are ready to grow their business but can’t access the funds or find the right partner they need to take the next step. Roc Partners has been engaged to manage the VBGF. Express your interest through Roc Partners’ website.

For further information about the Victorian Government assistance for businesses in response to coronavirus (COVID-19) call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15 or visit the website.

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Commonwealth Government assistance for businesses in response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

$320 billion economic response package

JobKeeper Payment

Under the JobKeeper program, businesses will be able to access a wages subsidy to continue paying their employees: a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum of six months. More information.

Boosting cash flow for employers

Up to $100,000 will be available for eligible small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) and not-for-profits (NFPs) that employ people, with a minimum payme­­­nt of $20,000. More information.

Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses

The Commonwealth Government is temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will tailor solutions for owners or directors of business that are currently struggling due to coronavirus. More information.

Supporting the flow of credit – SME Guarantee Scheme

SMEs with a turnover of up to $50 million will be eligible to receive a guarantee of 50 per cent to SME lenders to support new short-term unsecured loans to be used for working capital. The Scheme will guarantee up to $40 billion of new lending. More information.

Increasing the instant asset write-off

The instant asset write-off (IAWO)threshold has been increased from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanded access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million) until 30 June 2020. More information.

Backing Business Investment (BBI)

BBI is a time limited 15-month investment incentive (through to 30 June 2021) to support business investment and economic growth over the short term by accelerating depreciation deductions. Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million will be able to deduct 50 per cent of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset’s cost. More information.

Supporting apprentices and trainees

Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Where a small business is not able to retain an apprentice, the subsidy will be available to a new employer that employs that apprentice.

More information.

Assistance for affected regions, communities and industries

The Commonwealth Government is providing $1 billion to support regions, communities and industries most significantly affected by the coronavirus outbreak. A major relief package of up to $715 million is also available to support the airline industry. More information.

For further information visit the Treasury website and business.gov.au.

Assistance for exporters in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Increase in Export Market Development Grants

The Commonwealth Government has increased funding for the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG). Funding for the scheme will increase by $49.8 million in the 2019-20 financial year, allowing exporters and tourism businesses to get additional reimbursements for costs incurred in marketing their products and services around the world.

This increase supplements the additional $60 million already committed by the Government and brings EMDG funding to its highest level in more than 20 years at $207.7 million for the 2019-20 financial year. More information.

International Freight Assistance Mechanism

The new $110 million International Freight Assistance Mechanism will assist Australia’s agricultural and fisheries sector by helping them export their high-quality produce into key overseas markets, with return flights bringing back vital medical supplies, medicines and equipment.

Exporters wishing to access the mechanism can register their interest or call the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment on (02) 6272 2444.

COVID-19 Export Capital Facility

The Commonwealth Government has established a $500 million COVID-19 Export Capital Facility to assist previously profitable Australian exporters whose businesses have been impacted by COVID-19.

Exporters will be able to access loans from $250,000 to $50 million under the Facility. The Facility will complement other measures announced by the Government which enable banks to support new and existing clients.  Exporters should contact their banks in the first instance to determine what assistance may be available to them.

For further information visit the Export Finance Australia website or call 1800 093 724.


Useful links and resources for businesses impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • Austrade: receive the latest insights for exporters by visiting the Austrade website.
  • Australian Industry Group: explore tools and other resources by visiting the AI Group website.
  • Australian Information Industry Association: Australian Business Continuity offers tools, information and free services for businesses to keep functioning with minimal disruptionthrough technology.
  • Australian Taxation Office: visit the ATO website for up-to-date information and advice to business.
  • Business Victoria: find tips on how to create a continuity planevaluate risk and prepare a risk management plan. Learn how to respond and recoverBook a low-cost appointment with a mentor  to help you work through or develop a recovery plan.
  • City of Melbourne: for information on grants for SMEs and NFPs, visit the City of Melbourne website.
  • Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA): explore the latest insights and webinars by visiting the CEDA website.
  • CPA Australia: receive high-level tips, including access to Disaster Recovery Toolkits by visiting the CPA Australia website.
  • Creative Victoria: information for the creative industries is available on the Creative Victoria website.
  • Export Council of Australia: for updates on supply chains and freight and a suite of tools and resources for exporters visit the ECA website.
  • Export Finance Australia: find support and resources for exporters during the coronavirus outbreak by visiting the Export Finance Australia website.
  • Sport and Recreation Victoria: information for the sport and recreation industries is available on the Sport and Recreation Victoria website.
  • Treasury: The Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit has been established to engage with business on a regular basis and provide updates to government on crucial issues. Visit the Treasury website to find out more.
  • Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry: register for free annual membership and access coronavirus business resources by visiting the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry website.
  • Visit Victoria: information for tourism and events industries is available on the Visit Victoria website.
  • Workers in Transition: this support provides information, tools and resources to help both business and workers through retrenchment and into new opportunities. For more information, visit the Business Victoria website.

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