COVID-19 lockdowns: A state-by-state guide to business support

business-support Business Cost Assistance Program

Small business closes doors during COVID-19. Source: Unsplash/Anastasiia Chepinska.

Businesses across New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia have again been trading through coronavirus restrictions as state governments try to contain the spread of the Delta strain of COVID-19. 

Prior to the end of March, businesses experiencing a decline in turnover due to coronavirus restrictions could rely on the federal government’s $90 billion JobKeeper wage subsidy.

Since then, state governments have supported businesses with grant programs, until the federal government struck an agreement with NSW, after it became evident that Sydney’s lockdown would continue for some time.

With stay-at-home orders currently in multiple states and varying government assistance available to businesses, SmartCompany has compiled a list of what COVID-19 business support is on offer.

New South Wales 

COVID-19 business grant  

This grant program offers one-off payments of $7,500 to $15,000 to businesses depending on how much their revenue declines.

To be eligible, businesses must have annual wages less than $10 million and turnover between $75,000 and $50 million. Employers must also maintain their employee headcount as at July 13 and experience a decline in turnover of 30% to 70% over a two-week period during restrictions compared to 2019. New businesses should contact Service NSW to discuss how they can meet the decline in turnover test.

The full criteria and application form is available here

COVID-19 micro-business support grant

Businesses with annual turnover between $30,000 and $75,000 can apply for $1,500, tax-free, fortnightly payments as long as restrictions continue.

To be eligible, businesses need to show they experienced a decline in revenue of 30% or more and that a person associated with the business is reliant on the business for income. Applications are open and will close on September 13. 


This cashflow payment will see businesses receive fortnightly payments of up to 40% of weekly payroll, with a maximum payment of $100,000 per week or $1,000 per week for sole traders.

Businesses must maintain their employee headcount as at 13 July to be eligible as well as experience a decline in turnover of 30% or more, and have recorded annual revenue of between $75,000 and $250 million. Applications are open and will close on October 18.

Payroll tax relief

Payroll tax deferrals for last financial year and a 25% reduction on payroll tax for 2021-22 are available to businesses in NSW.

All businesses can defer payroll lodgement and payment for 2020-21 until October. They can also request an interest free payment plan of up to 12 months.

The reduction of 25% for 2021-22 payroll tax liabilities is only available to businesses with wages between $1.2 million and $10 million that have experienced a 30% decline in turnover.


Following a snap coronavirus lockdown that came into force on Saturday July 31, the Queensland government announced one-off cash grants of $5,000 for small and medium businesses.

Businesses don’t have to be located in South East Queensland to be eligible for 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grants but they must have experienced at least a 30% reduction in turnover because of the lockdown.

Businesses must also have an annual turnover of more than $75,000 and annual payroll in Queensland of up to $10 million to be eligible.

A grant package for large businesses in the hospitality and tourism sector operating in the 11 local government areas in the lockdown is expected to be announced in the coming days.

Applications will open in the coming days on Business Queensland’s website.


Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 

On August 12, the Victorian government pledged another $367 million in joint state and federal funding for businesses, including further payments for affected hospitality businesses under the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund.

Previously, businesses that received a grant through earlier rounds were eligible for new payments of $5,000 to $20,000 depending on the size of the venue.

Now, those eligible businesses will automatically be paid the same again. It is expected that 7,000 venues in metropolitan Melbourne will receive the payments. That’s down slightly from 8,900 Victorian businesses estimated to benefit in the last round.

Business Costs Assistance Program

Another $271 million has been allocated to the Business Costs Assistance Program, designed to help businesses continue paying overheads.

Again, previous recipients of grants under this scheme will be automatically issued additional top-up payments of $2,800.

More than 95,000 businesses in metropolitan Melbourne are expected to receive the new funding, which is scheduled to be paid by August 19.

Alpine businesses

Alpine businesses are eligible for $5,000 for off-mountain venues or $20,000 for employing, on mountain businesses, under a $10.6 million extension of the Alpine Business Support Program. The Victorian government should contact any business that is eligible for the program about the application process.

The new support package announced on August 12 did not add to this support.

Small business hardship fund 

The Small Business COVID Hardship Fund has been given a $41 million boost, bringing total support to $180 million.

This package offers grants of up to $10,000 to small businesses (that’s up from $8,000 previosuly) if they are not eligible for support under existing programs and have experienced a 70% reduction in turnover.

Commercial tenancy relief 

The Victorian government has introduced new legislation to give rent relief to commercial tenants that have experienced a fall in turnover of at least 30%.

Under the commercial tenancy relief scheme, landlords are required to offer rent relief that matches their tenant’s decline in turnover. For example, if a businesses’ turnover declines 40% compared to pre-pandemic levels, the landlord is required to charge 40% rent. At least 50% of the rent that is left unpaid must be waived and whatever is then left over must be deferred. 

There is also a moratorium on evictions, a ban on rental increases for tenants who can’t pay rent without first trying mediation, and free mediation services offered by the Victorian Small Business Commission. 

South Australia 

In response to a seven-day lockdown in South Australia, Premier Steven Marshall announced a new Business Support Package including one-off cash payments of $3,000 for businesses affected by the restrictions. 

The grants will be available to businesses with a payroll of less than $10 million and an annual turnover of $75,000 or more in 2020-21 or 2019-20. Businesses must also prove their turnover reduced by at least 30% over the seven days from July 20 as a result of the lockdown.

Grant applications are expected to open within the next two weeks and businesses can register their interest online

Western Australia

Applications for the Small Business Lockdown Assistance Grants program in Western Australia are now open to businesses that were affected by recent restrictions in Perth, Peel and regional Western Australia.

The one-off grants of $3,000 are for the lockdown between June 29 and July 2 and the associated restrictions that continued to July 6. The program is also available to eligible small businesses in regional Western Australia.

Business have until August 31 to apply online via this Small Business WA webpage

This article was updated at 1:00pm on Thursday, August 12 to include new business relief announced by the Victorian government. 


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1 year ago

Has anyone had any luck lodging a new application for the Business Costs Assistance Programme? The link provided reverts to a page that indicates applications closed on 24 June. I’ve tried to contact Business Victoria but have been unable to get through on the number provided on the website: 132 215, is hangs up as soon as it rings.

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