We’re all starting to feel the pandemic fatigue setting in again. It’s been well over a year of this and Australian businesses are feeling bloody tired.
As SMEs across the east coast starting to tread water financially, the mood amongst business owners right now is one of uncertainty. But relief may be on the horizon, with an expansion of business financial support announced on Wednesday by the Federal Government.
Financial support for both states is being massively expanded.
In an attempt to stem the growing crisis and help businesses keep their doors open, the Commonwealth is working with State Governments to greatly increase the amount of business support available.
Because the available financial support has been increasing gradually over the past few weeks across several programs, it’s definitely starting to feel hard to follow what’s actually going on.
We’ve broken down what’s now available for Victoria and NSW so that it’s easier for businesses to understand.
The 5 programs now available for Victorian Businesses
Announced by the Prime Minister on Wednesday, there are several new or expanded support programs now available for Victorian Businesses. These are:
- Business Continuity Fund
A $156 million Business Continuity Fund will be established to deliver $5,000 grants to up to around 30,000 businesses that remain impacted by capacity limits.
24 eligible sectors are covered by the fund including gyms, cafes, restaurants, catering services and hairdressers. Businesses in the CBD will be eligible to receive an additional $2,000, due to reduced foot traffic from office density limits. To be eligible, you must have received or been eligible for the previous Business Cost Assistance Program.
- Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021
The Licenced Hospitality Venue Fund will receive a $70 million boost, with grants of up to $20,000 to be made available to support licensed venues as their operations continue to be impacted by current restrictions.
Again, an additional $2,000 will also be made available to businesses in the CBD. To receive this funding, venues will need to have received or been eligible for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021.
- Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme and Landlord Hardship Fund
This package, to be fully funded by the Victorian Government, will deliver $80 million to provide support to landlords that provide rent relief to their tenants.
The Commercial Tenancies Relief Scheme will be reinstated to provide much-needed rent relief to small to medium commercial tenants and their landlords. More details on the rollout to be provided by the Victorian Government soon.
- Small Business COVID Hardship Fund
A new $85 million fund will be established to support smaller businesses that have not been eligible under existing business support funds.
Small businesses with a payroll of up to $10 million, who have experienced a 70 per cent or greater reduction in revenue, will be eligible for grants of up to $5,000.
- Alpine Business Support Program
Alpine Businesses will receive a further $9.8 million, delivering grants of between $5,000 and $20,000 to 430 Alpine based businesses. This grant aims to offset the effects of restricted inter and intra-state travel during the peak winter season.
The funding also includes an additional $5 million of support to alpine resort operators and management boards.
Further information about each of these 5 support programs can be found on the Victorian Government Website.
The 5 programs available for NSW businesses
The centrepiece of the newly announced support for New South Wales is a massive expansion of the payments and eligibility requirements on the existing Jobsaver support program. There’s also a couple of tax breaks around payroll, and grants for smaller businesses.
Here’s what’s available:
- JobSaver – Payment Amounts & Eligibility Requirements Have Been Expanded
What began in June as a once-off grant has gradually been expanded and rebranded into the Jobsaver payment, paid out weekly to eligible Sydney businesses. This includes NFPs.
The changes announced on Wednesday saw the eligibility cap raised significantly. Previously, JobSaver was available for businesses with an annual turnover of up to $50 million. It’s now capped at $250 million, with the minimum turnover remaining at $75,000. This doubles the number of eligible businesses to 460,000 and ensures larger businesses can still receive support.
The maximum payment amount has also risen drastically, from $10,000 up to $100,000. The exact amount you’ll receive will depend on the decline in turnover (30% or more) and the number of employees you have. The payment will be calculated to cover 40% of payroll costs.
Non-employing businesses, such as Sole Traders, will also receive $1000 a week, provided they can prove a 30% drop in turnover from the previous year.
Crucially, businesses will only be eligible if they keep on all their employees. And if you’ve already applied, then you don’t need to do anything. Your payment will be automatically re-adjusted to reflect the expanded program.
- One-off COVID-19 Business Grants
The forerunner to the JobSaver program, the one-off COVID-19 business grant is still listed as available on the Business NSW website, Applications are open until the 13th of September.
This grant is to help businesses cover costs accrued during the first 3 weeks of lockdown. Three different grant amounts will be available depending on the decline in turnover experienced over a minimum 2-week period from 26 June 2021 to 17 July 2021, compared to the same period in 2019:
- $7,500 for a decline of 30% or more
- $10,500 for a decline of 50% or more
- $15,000 for a decline of 70% or more.
These one-off payments will be available to businesses with a turnover between $75,000 and $10 million. As with the JobSaver program, businesses will only be eligible if they don’t lay off any employees.
- COVID-19 Micro Business Grants
For smaller businesses with an annual turnover between $30,000 and $75,000, fortnightly payments of $1,500 are available.
To be eligible, you’ll need to prove a loss in revenue of 30% or more, and the business must provide the primary source of income for the person associated with the business. (This means no side-hustles!)
- Payroll Tax Deduction
For NSW businesses with grouped Australian wages of no more than $10 million, a 25% reduction to 2021-22 payroll tax liability will be made available to help reduce overheads.
Once again, eligible businesses will have to prove a 30% decline in turnover.
- Payroll Tax Deferral
Businesses will also have the option to defer their payment of the 2020-21 annual reconciliation, as well as the July and August 2021 monthly return periods, until the 7th of October 2021. Interest-free repayment plans for up to 12 months will be available.
This deferral will be made available to all NSW businesses.
If you’re interested in finding out more, The Business NSW website provides a succinct breakdown of these 5 programs, including instructions on how to apply to each of them.
We encourage all of our NSW clients to reach out to us if you’re considering JobSaver or another grant, because you’ll need us to sign off on your decline-in-turnover test.
If you’re in Victoria and you’re likely to receive one of these support payments, then you should also get in touch. Our advisors will help you understand how it will affect the rest of your finances, including tax.
We know first-hand how difficult lockdowns can be for small businesses. If you need to talk about anything at all, even if it’s just for emotional support, we’re always here for a chat.