The federal government has confirmed a new suite of support payments available to businesses in both New South Wales and Victoria, as Sydney enters an additional four weeks of lockdown, and Victorian businesses start to open up.
In New South Wales, the JobSaver program has been extended, with the maximum weekly payment for businesses increased from $10,000 per week to $100,000.
The turnover threshold for eligibility has also been increased from $50 million to $250 million.
Businesses that have seen a dip in turnover of 30% or more will be eligible for funding to cover 40% of their payroll. They will only be eligible if they do not reduce headcount.
The minimum payment for businesses will be $1,500 per week, and sole traders can also apply for support of $1,000 per week.
The package is intended to ensure “the cash flow and financial support is there so [businesses] can get through this,” NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said.
“We want to make sure that workers remain connected to their businesses as we move through this lockdown period.”
Payments for individuals have also been increased, and equal the value of the original JobKeeper scheme.
However, speaking at a press conference today, Prime Minister Scott Morrison maintained JobKeeper is “not the right solution” in the current lockdown.
The current support scheme is “faster, more effective, more targeted, and is getting help where it’s needed much more quickly”, he claimed.
JobKeeper was a “great scheme”, he added
“But you don’t play last year’s Grand Final this year.”
Support for Victorian business
In Victoria, businesses are able to reopen from today, but with capacity limitations remaining in place. New support extends government support for businesses that are still seeing reduced revenues, and that may not have been eligible for previous funding.
Small Business COVID Hardship Fund
This new $85 million funding is intended to support businesses that were not eligible under previous support packages.
Small businesses with a payroll of up to $10 million, that have experienced a drop in revenue of 70% or more will be eligible for grants of up to $5,000.
Further eligibility criteria for this funding is not yet clear.
Business Continuity Fund
A $156 million Business Continuity Fund will offer $5,000 grants for businesses that remain affected by capacity limits and other restrictions that are still depressing revenues.
These grants will be available for businesses in 24 eligible sectors, including gyms, cafes, restaurants, catering businesses and hairdressers.
Businesses based in the CBD, which will be affected by a drop in foot traffic while restrictions remain on office capacity, will be eligible for an additional $2,000.
To be eligible, businesses must have also been eligible for Victoria’s previous Business Cost Assistance Program.
Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund
A further $70 million has been allocated to the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund in Victoria, with grants of up to $20,000 being made available to businesses that are still operating under density restrictions.
Again, to be eligible, businesses must have been eligible for the funding previously.
Businesses in the CBD will also be eligible for another $2,000.
Alpine Business Support Program
The existing Alpine Business Support Program has also received an additional $9.8 million to help support businesses in alpine regions that are affected by ongoing travel restrictions.
Grants of between $5,000 and $20,000 will be available.
An additional $5 million has also been directed towards supporting alpine resort operators and management boards.
Commercial tenancy relief
Finally, the Victorian and federal governments has pledged $80 million to support landlords in offering rent relief to their commercial tenants.
More details on how this scheme will work are expected to be revealed soon.