COVID-19 Stimulus measures Victoria

Extension of Victorian COVID-19 business support

Written by Robyn Jacobson, CTA, Senior Advocate, The Tax Institute

   

Extension of Victorian COVID-19 business support as restrictions begin to ease

On 30 September 2021, in a media release, the Premier of Victoria, The Hon. Daniel Andrews MP, announced that a jointly-funded package of grants from the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments will support thousands of small- and medium-sized businesses through the next six weeks at which point Victoria is expected to reach the 80% double COVID-19 vaccination target.

The key markers of reaching the 70% and 80% double COVID-19 vaccination targets are forecast around 26 October and 5 November respectively.

Business Costs Assistance Program Round Five

Around 124,000 businesses that have previously received or been approved for a Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two or July Extension grant will be eligible for automatic grants under the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Five.

The payments will range from $1,000 to $8,400 per week across October and into the first half of November. Businesses that remain closed or severely restricted over the first two weeks of November will also receive automatic payments for that period.

Eligible businesses will be eligible to receive two fortnightly payments on a rising scale for the fortnight from:

  • 1 October to 14 October 2021; and
  • 15 October to 28 October 2021.

Businesses that remain closed or severely restricted between the 70% and 80% double dose vaccination targets will receive an automatic payment for the period from 29 October to 13 November 2021.1

The payment amounts under the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Five are set out in Table 1 below.

TABLE 1: Business Costs Assistance Program Round Five grant — payment schedule

Weekly amount

Fortnight payment

Total maximum support2

Eligible non-employing businesses $1,000

$2,000

$6,000

Employing businesses with an annual payroll of:

   
  • Up to $650,000

             $2,800

$5,600

$16,800

  • $650,000 to $3 million

             $5,600

$11,200

$33,600

  • $3 million to $10 million

             $8,400

$16,800

$50,400

 

Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 

More than 9,000 eligible cafés, restaurants, hotels and bars across Victoria will receive automatic payments of between $5,000 and $20,000 per week under the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund until the end of October. Payments will continue for the first half of November, set at reduced rates to reflect lower restrictions in place at that stage under Victoria’s Roadmap.

Between the 70% and 80% double dose vaccination targets, payments for licensed premises in metropolitan Melbourne will be reduced by 25%, and in regional Victoria by 50%, as the economy continue to progress to greater levels of freedom.

The additional, automatic payments will be available to businesses that have received the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 or Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 July Extension.

The payment amounts under the extended Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund are set out in Table 2 below and depend on the patron capacity3 of the premises.

TABLE 2: Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund — payment schedule

Period

Capacity for 0-99 patrons or patrons not specified

Capacity for 100-499 patrons

Capacity for 500+ patrons

1 October to 29 October 2021

$5,000 per week

$10,000 per week

$20,000 per week

29 October to 13 November 2021 - Metropolitan Melbourne

$3,750 per week

$7,500 per week

$15,000 per week

29 October to 13 November 2021 - Regional Melbourne

$2,500 per week

$5,000 per week

$10,000 per week

 

Small Business COVID Hardship Fund

A further 30,000 businesses will be able to receive a one-off $20,000 payment under the Small Business COVID Hardship Fund (Fund), taking the number of recipients to 65,000.

The existing $700 million funding pool for the Fund has been fully subscribed. Additional funding of $600 million has been added to the Fund, taking the total support under the program to $1.3 billion. The new allocation means 65,000 businesses will now be supported with one-off grants of $20,000.

Background

The Fund offers grants of $20,000 to eligible small and medium businesses, including employing and non-employing businesses that have suffered significant losses due to the pandemic. This includes businesses that are legally allowed to operate but are restricted in their ability to generate revenue, and have previously fallen between the cracks in terms of government support as they have not been eligible for other Victorian government support programs.

Earlier applications for the Fund closed on 10 September 2021. More information about the extension to the Fund will be available soon.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible, businesses must:

  • Not have received funding under any of the Victorian Government COVID‑19 support packages launched on or after 27 May 2021;
  • Be located within Victoria;
  • As a direct consequence of COVID‑19 restrictions since 27 May 2021, have experienced a reduction in turnover of at least 70% for a minimum consecutive two-week period comparable to a benchmark period in 2019;
  • Have the reduction in turnover endorsed by a qualified agent (see below);
  • Have an annual Victorian payroll of up to $10 million in 2019–20 on an ungrouped basis;
  • Have been registered for GST on and from 28 July 2021;
  • Hold an ABN and have held that ABN on and from 28 July 2021;
  • Be registered with the responsible Federal or State regulator;
  • Employing businesses must:
    • Be registered with WorkSafe Victoria; and
    • Attest that the business is supporting its workers to access any paid leave entitlements, or that if a person can work from home, to     work from home during the COVID‑19 restrictions, and supporting their casual workers, where possible.

Who is a qualified agent:

A qualified agent is either a:

  • Qualified accountant who belongs to one of the following professional bodies at the declared membership classification:
    • CPA Australia (CPA and FCPA)
    • Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA, ACA and FCA)
    • Institute of Public Accountants (AIPA, MIPA and FIPA)
      and complies with the body’s continuing professional education requirements; or
  • A registered BAS agent who belongs to one of the following associations at the declared membership classification, including:
    • Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (FICB, MICB, AICB)
    • Australian Bookkeepers Association (Member)
    • Association of Accounting Technicians (Australia) Limited and complies with the body’s continuing professional education requirements.
      and complies with the body’s continuing professional education requirements; or
  • A registered tax agent who belongs to one of the following professional bodies at the declared membership classification, including:
    • The Tax Institute
    • National Tax Agents Association
    • Tax and Super Australia
      and complies with the body’s continuing professional education requirements.

The qualified agent cannot be an employee or director of the applicant, or an associated entity of the applicant, or a director or employee of an associated entity of the applicant.

This period is 16 days, not 14 days. It is unclear whether 13 November as advised in the Premier’s media release should instead be 11 November.
From 1 October to 13 November 2021.
Patron capacity will be as reflected on the liquor licence for the premises in July 2021.

Further guidance and information 

Further guidance and information on the various grants and programs in Victoria is available from the Business Victoria website.

If you have any specific concerns that have not been outlined above, please email taxpolicy@taxinstitute.com.au.

DISCLAIMER: The material and opinions in this article should not be used or treated as professional advice and readers should rely on their own enquiries in making any decisions concerning their own interests.

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