Explained: The COVID-19 support payments available to small businesses in the ACT

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr. Source: AAP/Lukas Coch.

The ACT reported 17 local cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and the Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the territory would strengthen compliance around essential businesses.

“If you need to go to the hardware store, get in and get out quickly. And most people shouldn’t need to go to the hardware store today or tomorrow, or the rest of this week,” Barr said.

“Please stay at home.”

Canberrans are required to stay at home until September 2 after the initial one-week lockdown was extended.

In response to the lockdown, the ACT government announced a business support package jointly funded by the federal government.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Business support grants

The ACT COVID-19 Business Support Grant will give employing businesses one-off cash payments of $3,000 and non-employing businesses $1,000 payments.

To be eligible, local businesses must experience at least a 30% decline in turnover due to the restrictions. The ACT is currently revising the timeframes for the decline in turnover test in light of the extension of the lockdown. 

Businesses must be registered in the ACT under their ABN and have an annual turnover of more than $75,000, excluding GST.

Eligible businesses are also required to be registered for GST before April 2021 and have a total Australian payroll of less than $10 million.

COVID-19 small business hardship scheme

The small business hardship scheme offers businesses up to $10,000 in credits for payroll tax, utility charges, rates and other government fees.

To be eligible for credits, businesses must be able to demonstrate 30% loss in revenue.

This scheme is for small businesses with an annual turnover between $30,000 and $10 million.

Access Canberra will provide more details about the scheme and application dates soon. In the meantime, you can register your interest online.

Accommodation and tourism support program 

Accommodation providers and tourism operators can choose to apply for one of two support programs.

The Accommodation and Tourism Venue Operator support program offers up to $75,000 to businesses that have experienced a 30% decline in turnover in July 2021 compared to April 2021. They can also receive a full rebate on their fixed water and sewage changes for the first two quarters of 2021-22.

Businesses can lodge their applications via this online form until September 17.

Small tourism operator recovery payment

The second support program available to accommodation providers and tourism operators offers businesses up to $15,000.

Under the small tourism operator recovery payment program, businesses can apply for reimbursement of up to $15,000 for each ABN for eligible expenses incurred in June and July.

To be eligible for the rebate, the applicant must be able to demonstrate a 30% decline in turnover in July 2021 compared to April 2021.

The grant covers seasonal tourism businesses as well as businesses with an annual turnover between $30,000 and $10 million.

The payments can be used to cover ACT government rates, fees and charges, fuel and mortgage repayments, as well as perishable goods.

Applications are now open and will close on September 17.

Hire car and charter bus registration fees

The ACT business support package includes vehicle registration fee waivers for hire cars and charter buses registered in the ACT until March 31, 2022.

Tourism businesses are intended to benefit from the fee waivers which they can receive by contacting Access Canberra.

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