Small and medium-sized businesses in Victoria with a payroll of up to $10 million will be eligible for grants of up to $20,000 each, under the state government’s latest stimulus package.
To be eligible for the grants, which are part of Victoria’s wider $3 billion investment and is the state’s third round of support, applicants must operate a business in Victoria, participate in JobKeeper, employ people, be registered for GST and hold an ABN.
If annual payroll is less than $650,000, business will receive $10,000. The grant increases to $15,000 if payroll is between $650,000 and $3 million, and caps out at $20,000 if annual payroll is between $3 million and $10 million.
Applications for the grants have not opened yet, but businesses can subscribe to the Business Victoria Update newsletter to be notified when they open.
Licensed hospitality businesses like pubs, clubs, hotels, bars and restaurants will also be eligible for grants of up to $30,000 based on their venue capacity and location.
Business chambers and trader groups will also be eligible for a slice of $3 million via a grants program to support metropolitan and regional groups. Alpine businesses will also be able to apply for grants of up to $20,000 to help pay a service charge to Alpine Resort Management Boards.
The package also includes a $20 million voucher program to assist sole traders and small businesses in building their digital capacity, $15.7 million towards helping Victorian exporters get their products to market, and an $8.5 million expansion to the ‘Click for Vic’ campaign.
Industry spokespeople have welcomed the government’s grant, saying the financial boost couldn’t come soon enough.
“I’m somewhat relieved to finally see the Andrews Government announcing critical cash support to Victorian business today,” Chrissie Maus, general manager of the Chapel Street Precinct said.
“They needed help and hope. It is now also important that we as a community do everything we can to support our local businesses, so each and everyone of us can together help get every single business to the other side of this pandemic.”
The grant comes as Victoria records 35 new cases of coronavirus and seven more deaths, with some regional businesses set to reopen as early as this week.
"That light of the end of the tunnel is growing bigger by the day," deputy chief medical officer, Nick Coatsworth, told ABC.
The extension of restrictions to 28 September was dubbed a “highway to hell”, rather than a “roadmap to recovery”, with the Institute of Public Affairs estimating a further 260,000 jobs would be lost as a result.
"Daniel Andrews is crushing jobs, small business, and the spirit of mainstream Victorians with continued lockdown measures," IPA research fellow Cian Hussey said in a statement.
But evidently, the lockdown has been successful in reducing the number of cases in the state, with restrictions being eased slightly from 11:59pm Sunday 13 September.
Now, the curfew in metropolitan Melbourne extended from 9pm to 5am, and restrictions on public gatherings eased to the extent that two people or a household can meet outdoors for two hours.
Stage Four lockdown in Victoria is set to remain in place until 28 September, while Premier Daniel Andrews reinstated the State of Emergency and State of Disaster for a further four weeks, to end on 11 October.
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