Lockdown Support: August Update
The lockdown support for individuals and business has been constantly evolving and changing. For Victorians, we recommend subscribing to the Business Victoria mailing list to receive direct email notifications when applications for new funds open.
Here’s a summary of what support is available around the country.
From 12 August 2021, the COVID-19 Disaster Payment is set at $450 for people who have lost from eight and up to 20 hours work or a full day of work (over seven days), and $750 for 20 hours or more of work lost.
The same applies for individuals who are sole-trader businesses who lose work and that do not qualify for Victorian Government support programs.
In most cases, the payment now applies from day 1 of a lockdown. In general, you need to be living in, or impacted by Commonwealth declared lockdown to receive the payment although some States have funded an extension of the payment beyond hotspot areas.
A special separate $200 a week ‘top-up’ payment has been added for those currently receiving an income support payment through social security, ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Dad and Partner Pay or Parental Leave Pay in addition to their existing payment, if they can demonstrate they have lost more than 8 hours of work and meet the other eligibility requirements for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment. The payment was put in place because people receiving income support payments are not eligible for the COVID-19 Disaster payment.
The COVID-19 Disaster Payment is available via Services Australia.
For Victorian Businesses
There are two main streams for grants in Victoria:
- Those who qualified for the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two or the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021; and
- Businesses that previously did not access grants
Existing grant beneficiaries
If your business previously received the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two or the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021, additional grants of have been announced. Your business cannot retrospectively apply for these grants. See Helping Victorian Businesses Who Need It Most for more information.
Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two – July Extension
For businesses that did not access the previous grants above, the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two July Extension offers grants for employing and non-employing business depending on your sector. Applications close on Friday 13 August 2021, with automatic top up payments announced on Thursday 12 August.
Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 – July Extension
For those in the hospitality sector, a new Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 July Extension is available offering grants for each eligible venue premesis. Applications close on Friday 13 August 2021, with automatic top up payments announced on Thursday 12 August.
Small Business COVID Hardship Fund
A new Small Business COVID Hardship Fund grant has been announced for businesses that are not eligible for existing support funding. To access the grant, your business must be severely impacted by the COVID-19 lockdowns with a decline in turnover of 70% or more. A significant boost to the new Small Business COVID Hardship Fund will take the one-off payments for eligible businesses that do not qualify for existing programs to $10,000. Applications will open on Thursday 12 August 2021.
For Alpine businesses:
Additional grants between $5,000 and $20,000 will be available to 430 Alpine based businesses. See the Alpine Resorts Winter Support Program (closes 20 August 2021).
For creative, arts, theatre and music-based businesses:
More funding from the federal government will enable Support Act to broaden beyond its current support to include artists, creatives, production and technical crew across the arts sector – in addition to musicians. Applications will be open from 23 August 2021 via the Support Act website.
Organisations that are either currently or due to enter into a funding agreement with the Australian Government, either through the Australia Council or the Office for the Arts, can apply for assistance via the Sustainability Fund website.
The new Creative Enterprises and Creative Ventures programs have also been announced on 12 August 2021. Applications for both programs will open on 12 August and close on 16 September 2021. For full program details, or to register for upcoming information sessions, visit the Creative Victoria website.
Rent relief for commercial tenants is also now in place for businesses that have suffered a decline in turnover of at least 30% as a result of COVID-19. Landlords will be required to provide proportional rent relief in line with a business’s reduction in turnover and mediation is available through the Victorian Small Business Commission. A hardship fund will be established for landlords providing rent relief although no details are available as yet.
For New South Wales Businesses
In New South Wales, the following grants and payments are accessible:
- Up to $100,000 in weekly JobSaver cashflow support payments. Payments are based on 40% of your NSW payroll payments. Eligible businesses without employees that meet the eligibility criteria (such as sole traders with no employees), can access a payment of $1,000 per week.
- Up to $15,000 through the expanded NSW 2021 COVID-19 business grants program
- NSW micro-business grants
The decline in turnover test required for the JobSaver, COVID-19 business and micro-business grants has been causing a lot of angst but some additional flexibility has been provided. Businesses and non-profit entities can now pass this test if they can show a decline in turnover of at least 30% due to the Public Health Order over a minimum 2-week period within the relevant test period compared to:
- The same period in 2019;
- The same period in 2020; or
- The 2-week period immediately before the start of the relevant test period.
The test period depends on which payment you are looking at:
- COVID-19 business grant: 26 June 2021 to 17 July 2021 (this is changed to 27 May 2021 to 17 July 2021 for entities on the NSW border with Victoria);
- JobSaver and the micro-business grant: 26 June 2021 until the Greater Sydney lockdown ends.
This additional flexibility is helpful for businesses that started after the comparison period in 2019 and for those that have undertaken an acquisition, disposal or restructure.
For Queensland Business
$5,000 Business Support Grants are available for those impacted by the lockdown from Saturday, 31 July 2021.
Your business does not have to be in the local government areas locked down but needs to be impacted by it. To access the grant, you will need to show a decline in turnover of at least 30%.
The grants are available to businesses with a turnover of $75,000 or more and annual Queensland payroll of less than $10 million. Applications open mid-August. See Business Queensland for details.
For South Australian Businesses
Grants of $3,000 for employing businesses and $1,000 for non-employing businesses are available to businesses that experienced a decline in turnover of at least 30% as a result of the health restrictions from 20 July 2021.
The grants are available to those with a turnover of $75,000 or more and Australia wide payroll of less than $10 million. See COVID-19 Business Support Grant – July 2021 for details.
Reach out to Aintree Group if you need to discuss the tax and other potential implications of Covid-19 support programs, or if you need individual support and advice during this difficult time.