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New $196 million payments to 70,000 Victorian workers

·2-min read
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews speaking at a press conference and a person removing $100 notes from a wallet.
The Victorian government has announced new payments to workers in the construction industry suffering from lockdowns (Source: Getty)

The Victorian Government has announced a new payment package for construction businesses most affected by lockdown restrictions.

The $196.6 million package of cash grants will go to thousands of operators as the industry prepares to reopen next week.

The new support package will provide a one-off payment to eligible businesses, including sole traders, covering the restrictions period from 21 September to 4 October.

More than 70,000 construction businesses in Melbourne, the City of Greater Geelong, Surf Coast Shire and Mitchell Shire could be eligible for the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Four – Construction grants.

Eligible non-employing sole trader businesses will receive a one-off payment of $2,000, increasing to $2,800 for businesses with an annual payroll of up to $650,000, $5,600 for a payroll of $650,000 to $3 million and $8,400 for a payroll of $3 million to $10 million.

In making the announcement the Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas took a swipe at the Commonwealth Government for refusing to contribute.

“The Victorian Government will go it alone with construction industry support and give businesses the help they need to get back on their feet as our state moves along our roadmap to reopening,” he said.

“It’s up to Josh Frydenberg and the Prime Minister to explain why construction businesses in Victoria have been treated differently to those in NSW.”

Up until the point at which Victoria reaches 80 per cent full vaccination, construction workers who lose hours of work due to restrictions can access these payments under the Commonwealth‘s scheme, as can sole traders who are not registered for GST, lose work and do not qualify for state support.

The payment is currently set at $450 for people who have lost from eight to 20 hours work or a full day of work, over seven days, and $750 for 20 hours or more of work lost.

Applications will open in mid-October and to be eligible, businesses must be registered under a relevant construction-sector ANZSIC codes, have a Victorian payroll of less than $10 million a year, have incurred direct costs due to restrictions, and be registered for GST.

Businesses must also have not previously received support under the Business Cost Assistance Program or the Small Business Covid Hardship Fund.

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