Further support payments of $2,000 or $3,000 will be available to small businesses affected by the Victorian lockdown, Premier Daniel Andrews has announced.
As part of a $201.8 million package, businesses that were eligible for the payments for the last lockdown, which ran for two weeks over the end of May and beginning of June, will automatically receive the ‘top-up’ payments.
Hospitality venues — those that were eligible for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund —will receive $3,000. Those that were eligible for the Business Costs Assistance Program will receive $2,000.
Businesses that received payments previously do not have to reapply.
The government will aim to distribute the funds as quickly as possible, Andrews said, suggesting the money could be received by the time this lockdown is scheduled to lift at 11.59pm on Tuesday, July 20.
The Premier also announced income support available from the Commonwealth government, for workers affected by the restrictions.
Those that will lose 20 hours of work or more will be eligible for payments of $600, and those that lose between 8 and 20 hours will be eligible for $375. These payments will not be subject to a liquid asset test.
The announcement follows a suggestion from Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday that federal support could be made available as soon as any lockdown extends to 14 days.
However, Andrews clarified the payments will be available in Victoria immediately.
In a statement, Victorian Minister for Small Business Jaala Pulford said SMEs have been “important players” in the fight against COVID-19 over the past 18 months.
“They continue to do the right thing to protect the community,” she added.
“We know it’s really hard and we thank each and every one of them.”
The support announcement brings little relief, however, to Victorian businesses that are still waiting on payments for the last lockdown.
SmartCompany has spoken to business owners that are still waiting on the support, despite being eligible. Others only received payments relating to the last lockdown this week.
In a statement, the state government said 90% of the funding allocated to business support packages has been distributed.
Victorian Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade Martin Pakula conceded there are some 22,000 businesses “whose applications are still being processed because more details are being sought”.
“Not every application is as simple or as straightforward as each other,” he said.
There is also still no support for businesses excluded by the grants scheme.
Businesses that don’t pay GST — including many that have a turnover of $75,000 or less, and many sole traders — are not eligible for the funding.
More information about the support available for Victorian businesses can be found here.