Businesses struggling under Victoria’s extended lockdowns have been given some reprieve in a $3 billion government assistance package.
Announced yesterday, the package includes a mix of cash grants, tax relief measures and cash flow support, including $1.1 billion in cash grants allocated to small and medium sized businesses. Of this, $822 million will be distributed to SMEs with a payroll up to $10 million, who can apply for grants of between $10,000-$20,000, through the Business Support Fund. It’s expected close to 75,000 businesses will benefit from the scheme.
Local chambers of commerce and business groups will also be handed grants up to $20,000 to assist their members. While payroll tax has also been deferred for the 2020-21 financial year for businesses with payrolls up to $10 million.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the measures were aimed at helping businesses both through the extended lockdown and through the transition back to the ‘new normal’.
“For our state to recover, we need our businesses to recover too. As we take our first safe and steady steps towards COVID Normal, this support will help make sure we get through this together,” Mr Andrews said.
“We’ll continue meeting with and listening to businesses, so we can do everything we can to support them and their workers.”
Businesses will also be given the opportunity to upskill via training in off-shelf digital programs such as Shopify and Squareonline to better equip themselves for online trading. Which comes as the government announces it will expand its Click for Vic online marketplace and partner with third-party e-commerce platforms.
The hospitality sector and businesses in Victoria’s ski fields, both of which have been significantly impacted by the measures, will also received targeted assistance.
The measures are a welcomed relief to many businesses who have been struggling through the latest lockdown. Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive, Paul Guerra said it included much needed, targeted support for businesses as they looked to readjust their operations in the coming months.
“It will be a lifeline for those businesses in desperate need that are not likely to be able to open for some time under the current Government roadmap.”
“This is what the business community has been calling for, a forward-looking announcement that provides confidence in being able to manage without cashflow for now, and how businesses can begin to reskill and recover when the virus is under control,” Mr Guerra said.
“We will work with our members to ensure all businesses know what support is available to them to get through to the other side of the health and economic crisis.