Explained: The COVID-19 support payments available to businesses in the Northern Territory

A shuttered shop front in Darwin. Source: Harry Down/Unsplash.

For businesses in the Northern Territory affected by the continuing lack of domestic and international travel, and the snap lockdown in July, there is COVID-19 support available. 

Here are some of the government support measures. 

Territory Business Lockdown Payment

The NT state government launched a new round of the Territory Business Lockdown Payment, to provide $1,000 grants to businesses affected by the most recent lockdown in Greater Darwin and Katherine.

However, applications for this funding close at 5pm on Friday, 27 August.

In order to be eligible for this, businesses must have an annual turnover of between $75,000 and $10 million, and have fewer than 20 full-time employees. They must also have had to cease or significantly reduce trading, with the example benchmark being given as a 50% drop in revenue as a result of the lockdown.

Extended Closure payment

Businesses that have been approved for the Territory Business Lockdown Payment and have been directed to remain closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, such as gyms, may be eligible for an additional $2,000 Extended Closure payment.

This payment is only available to businesses that applied for the second round of the Territory Business Lockdown Payment, and were successful.

These businesses can expect to be contacted with regards to the payment, but not much more information is available, at the moment.

Targeted grants

The NT state government is also offering three targeted grant programs:

  • The Tourism Survival Fund;
  • The Visitation Reliant Small Business Support Program; and
  • The Arts and Culture COVID-19 Interruption Support Program.

Small businesses must choose just one of the above programs to apply for. The first two are available in addition to the Territory Business Lockdown Payment.

The Arts and Culture program is designed for businesses that are not eligible for the business lockdown payment.

Tourism Survival Fund

The Tourism Survival Fund is a $1.3 million package designed to support those operators that rely on international visitors, but have not necessarily benefited from earlier tourism voucher schemes.

That includes touring companies, conference organisers, exhibition build businesses and some attractions.

The funding is available to businesses with an annual turnover of between $75,000 and $10 million.

Depending on turnover, grants of between $5,000 and $30,000 are available.

In order to be eligible, businesses must be able to prove a decline in revenue of at least 30% for July 2021, compared to July 2019.

They must also have had a valid ABN and have been registered for GST as of July 1, 2019.

Finally, businesses must be listed on the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse, or have applied for a listing.

Applications close on September 30.

Visitation Reliant Small Business Support Program

The $9 million Visitation Reliant Small Business Support Program offers grant funding to other businesses that are reliant on international and interstate travel.

Employing businesses can apply for a $3,000 grant, and sole traders can apply for $1,000.

To be eligible, a business must have a turnover of between $75,000 and $10 million.

Businesses must prove they have seen at least a 30% reduction in turnover during July 2021, compared to the same period in 2019.

Businesses must also have held a valid ABN, and have been registered for GST, as of July 1, 2019.

Applications close on September 30, 2021.

Arts and Culture COVID-19 Interruption Fund

This fund provides grant funding for both individuals and organisations that have lost revenues through cancelled performances, due to the latest lockdown. That includes the Darwin Festival, as well as theatre productions and live music.

Entities can apply for funding to cover fees or income lost from cancelled work, including things like presentations, tours and workshops. It can also be used to cover travel, venue hire, equipment costs and labour cost, for example.

For cancellations at the Darwin Festival, individuals can apply for $2,000 and organisations can apply for $6,000.

For other cancelled performances, individuals can apply for $1,000, and organisations can apply for $4,000.

In order to be eligible, groups must be incorporated, and organisations must be legal entities with an annual turnover of less than $75,000.

Individuals must be over 18, an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and a current NT resident.

Applications close at 2pm on Monday, September 13, 2021.

Small Business Financial Fitness Fund

This $2 million program is designed to help businesses access financial sustainability training specific to their needs.

Organisations that have been selected to provide the training are:

  • The Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation, which will be offering a financial literacy course for Arnhem Land entrepreneurs, manages, leaders and board members;
  • The Adding Value CEO, which will be offering a ‘basic bean counting’ course designed to introduce accounting concepts to business leaders; and
  • Response Employment and Training, which will be offering workshops designed to help business owners better understand their financial position.

Applications are open for businesses to attend this training, and businesses are invited to contact the providers directly.

More information and contact details can be found here.

A list of additional grants available to SMEs, including those not related to COVID-19, is also available here.

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