Cash grants for Melbourne small businesses rely on JobKeeper, and won’t be available for sole traders


Sole traders will not be eligible for the $5000 grants for businesses in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, the Victorian State government has confirmed, and small businesses will only be eligible if they are signed up for JobKeeper.

The Business Support Fund initially set out to provide $5000 grants to businesses in the 36 Melbourne suburbs that went back into Stage 3 COVID-19 lockdown restrictions on July 1.

When the restrictions were rolled out to all of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire a week later, Premier Daniel Andrews promised support for local businesses.

On July 10, a $534 million support package was unveiled, extending the Business Support Fund grants program to the whole lockdown area.

The government suggested some 80,000 businesses would be eligible for the grants.

Eligibility criteria has been released, clarifying that sole traders will not be able to claim the grant support, and it will only be available to businesses that are registered for the federal government’s JobKeeper wage subsidy program.

A small business is eligible for the $5000 grant if:

  • It operates within metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire, and is therefore subject to the return of Stage 3 restriction;
  • It participates in the JobKeeper scheme;
  • It employs people, and was registered with WorkSafe as of June 30;
  • It has an annual payroll of less than $3 million for the 2019-20 financial year, on an ungrouped basis;
  • It was registered for goods and services tax, and held an ABN as of June 30; and
  • It is registered with the responsible state or federal regulator.

Businesses can apply for the $5000 grant here. Applications will be open until 11.59pm on August 19, 2020.

In the application, business owners must prove evidence of their business address, using either a utility bill, lease agreement or council rate notice.

They must also prove their participation in the JobKeeper program.

According to the government guidelines, evidence provided by applicants may be cross checked with data from other government agencies, such as the State Revenue Office and WorkSafe.

Support for accommodation providers

More details have also been released about the support available for regional accommodation providers, which have been affected by cancellations as state borders close and city folk are forced to stay at home.

Accommodation providers who have had bookings cancelled because of the restrictions can apply for funding of $225 per booking, per night cancelled, up to a maximum of $1125 per booking. This only applies if the provider is unable to refill the cancelled booking.

The rebate will also only be made if the accommodation provider has refunded 100% of the booking cost to the would-be customer, and no cancellation fee was charged.

The government has pledged $40 million to this funding program. Applications are open now, and will remain open until either restrictions come to an end, or the funds are exhausted.

Payments are available to accommodation providers in the 48 regional and rural council areas, plus the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, Frankston City Council, Yarra Ranges Shire, Nillumbik Shire Council, Cardinia Shire Council, Victoria’s six Alpine Resorts, French Island, Lady Julia Percy Island and Gabo Island.

You can find a complete list of areas covered, and more information, here.

The government has also pledged $20 million to support businesses in Melbourne’s CBD and $30 million to support hospitality businesses. It is not yet clear how this funding will be distributed.

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Paul Dubois
Paul Dubois
1 year ago

Luckily, according to Dangerous Dan, sole traders and people who have companies and only employ themselves are not effected by his reversal into Stage 3 lockdowns.

I know the impact may not be as great – but in actual fact a $5k grant to a sole trader is likely to go a lot further than a $5k grant to a cafe owner who has had to pivot back to takeaways.

A smarter way would be a tiered approach based on the amount of people you employ.