For up to date information on current restrictions and coronavirus (COVID-19), please visit the Victorian Government's coronavirus website.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Support
Advice, updates and support to help your workplace plan and respond to coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found by visiting the Business Victoria website. You can also call the Business Victoria coronavirus hotline on 13 22 15.
Mental health support for businesses
Worried about your business? Call Partners in Wellbeing on 1300 375 330 to get confidential support and advice. The service is free and available until 10pm weekdays.
Circuit Breaker Business Support Package
The Victorian Government has launched the Circuit Breaker Business Support Package to assist eligible employing and non-employing businesses most affected by the restrictions announced on Thursday 27 May 2021 and extended for metropolitan Melbourne and some business sectors in regional Victoria beyond Thursday 3 June 2021.
There are three initiatives available for eligible businesses as part of this support package.
Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two - $371 million
The Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two will assist small to medium-sized businesses, including employing and non-employing businesses, most impacted by the restrictions announced on 27 May 2021 and extended beyond 3 June 2021. This includes restaurants, event suppliers, accommodation providers, non-essential retailers, and other impacted sectors.
Eligible businesses with an annual payroll of up to $10 million can receive a one-off grant of $2500 for businesses that were subject to restrictions between 28 May and 3 June 2021, or $5000 for businesses that were subject to further restrictions after 3 June 2021.
The eligible industries in this round are broader than previous support packages in recognition of businesses no longer having access to JobKeeper or other financial support.
Applications are open from Thursday 3 June until 11:59pm on Thursday 24 June 2021.
Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 - $70 million
The Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 supports venues registered to serve food and alcohol, including bars, restaurants, pubs, clubs, hotels, cafés, and reception centres impacted by the recent restrictions in Victoria.
Eligible liquor licensees will receive an invitation from Business Victoria to apply and can receive a grant of either $3500 or $7000.
Invitations will be sent to the eLicence email registered by the licensee on the Liquor Portal account with the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation. Licensees that don’t have a Liquor Portal account can create one now and register an eLicence email.
Applications are open from Thursday 3 June until 11:59pm on Thursday 24 June 2021.
Events Support Program - $20 million
The Events Support Package helps the event industry, including large event operators and suppliers, event promoters, producers and other businesses that deliver live performance events that have had events and work cancelled due to the recent restrictions in Victoria. Further details on this program will be announced soon.
Please visit the Business Victoria website for more information on the above initiatives.
Victorian Export Recovery Package
On 13 September 2020, the Victorian Government announced a $15.7 million export recovery package to address logistics and supply chain issues caused by the pandemic, and establish new export channels. Businesses will be connected to international markets through virtual trade missions as well as assistance to adapt their export strategies to respond to the rapidly changing global market.
Current initiatives under the Export Recovery Package
Virtual Trade Missions
Global Victoria will be delivering a suite of Virtual Trade Missions (VTMs) in 2020/21 to connect businesses to global opportunities and help them conduct their international business across digital platforms. Find a VTM to help your business go global.
Export Skills Program
The Export Skills Program is part of the Victorian Government's $15.7 million Export Recovery Package (ERP) and aims to help Victorian businesses impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19) to grow and develop their export skills and capabilities.
Free to attend, the program provides online training, webinars and face-to-face workshops across four streams:
- Export 101 Training Stream
- eCommerce Training Stream
- Virtual Trade Mission Training Stream
- Freight Training Stream
Business Resilience Package
COVIDSafe Plans and adapting to COVID Normal
Develop your COVIDSafe Plan and find sector guidance for your business by visiting the Victorian Government's coronavirus website.
Further support for Click for Vic
Click for Vic, a new website and campaign aimed at encouraging Victorians to buy produce, gifts and fashion from local businesses, will be boosted with $8.5 million for more marketing and advertising and the digital platform and its partnerships with third-party eCommerce providers will be expanded to sell these strengths far and wide.
See how your business can get involved here.
Waivers and deferrals
Businesses with annual taxable wages up to $3 million had their payroll tax for the 2019-20 financial year waived, giving $550 million back to businesses. Businesses with payrolls up to $10 million can now defer their payroll tax for the full 2020-21 financial year until the 2021-22 financial year, providing a $1.7 billion cashflow boost for businesses.
Eligible employers will be entitled to a waiver of their 2020-21 and 2021-22 payroll tax after applying the New Jobs payroll tax credit against their liability for each of the financial years. The New Jobs tax credit provides eligible businesses with a tax credit of ten cents for every dollar it increases taxable Victorian wages – giving businesses the confidence they need to open their doors, hire more staff and re-emerge from the pandemic. This emergency tax relief measure will save businesses a combined $836 million over the two years. More information.
Payroll tax exemption for additional payments made under the JobKeeper program
For employers participating in the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper program, “additional payments” you make to employees are exempt from payroll tax. For payments to employees that have been stood down, the full $1,500 per fortnight is exempt. The additional payments are also excluded for the purposes of calculating WorkCover Premiums. More information.
Liquor licence fees
Renewable liquor licence fees for 2020 will be waived. Businesses who have already paid will be reimbursed. Liquor licence fees for 2021 will also be waived, saving businesses $27 million. More information.
$33 million will go towards a 25% waiver of the Congestion Levy this year, with the outstanding balance deferred. More information.
Landowners who have at least one non-residential property and total taxable landholdings below $1 million have the option of deferring their 2020 land tax payment until after 31 March 2021.
Landlords who provide tenants impacted by COVID-19 with rent relief may be eligible for a 50% waiver on the property’s 2020 land tax and payment of the remaining tax can be deferred to 31 March 2021. Owner-occupiers of commercial properties can obtain a 25% waiver of the property’s 2020 land tax and payment of the remaining tax can be deferred to 31 March 2021 if their business meets the eligibility requirements.
The Victorian Government has announced an extension of coronavirus land tax relief to 2021 for commercial landlords. Commercial landlords who provide rent relief to eligible tenants consistent with the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme between 1 January 2021 and 28 March 2021, and eligible commercial owner-occupiers of property, who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, can receive a 25% reduction on the property's 2021 land tax and defer the remaining 2021 land tax (and any 2020 land tax which was previously deferred under this measure) until 30 November 2021.
The Vacant Residential Land Tax will be waived for vacancies in 2020. More information.
First Peoples’ COVID-19 Business Support Fund
Through the First Peoples’ COVID-19 Business Support Fund, eligible Victorian Aboriginal businesses can receive a grant of up to $10,000 per ABN to help meet business costs including rent and salaries, develop marketing activities or pivot the business offering in response to the current environment. Applications are open until 29 January 2021 or until available funds are exhausted, whichever is earlier.
A full list of uses for grants and eligibility criteria are on the Business Victoria website.
Support for commercial tenants and landlords
The Victorian Government has introduced a Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme to alleviate the financial hardship faced by tenants and landlords as a result of COVID-19. The Scheme has been extended until 28 March 2021, following the extension of the Scheme to the end of 2020 announced in August together with further support. Private landlords are being encouraged to provide rent relief or holidays to help businesses. More information.
The Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund offered grants of up to $3000 per tenancy to eligible small private, individual and joint-owner landlords facing financial hardship after reducing rent for their tenants under the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme requirements. The Victorian Government is also working directly with commercial tenants in government buildings who can apply for rent relief. The fund has now closed.
Support for Victorian hospitality businesses
The Victorian Government has provided support for hospitality businesses through the $40 million Night-time Economy Business Support Initiative; the Hospitality Business Grant Program; and the CBD Small Hospitality Grant. Applications for these programs closed on 30 November 2020.
Working for Victoria Fund
Under the $500 million Working for Victoria Fund, displaced workers are eligible to apply for different types of work, and employers can find workers fast with the skills and experience they need.
As part of this, a $50-million Agriculture Workforce Plan provides targeted support for our agriculture, food processing and critical food supply chain businesses to meet their labour and operational needs during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Victorian Government has also announced $2.7 billion to build the projects that matter to Victoria, ensuring local small and medium size enterprises get an opportunity to compete for large and small government contracts. All tenderers will be required to find new employees through Working for Victoria in the first instance. Learn more.
Worker Support and Test Isolation Payments
Worker Support Payments are now offered through the Commonwealth Government. The Victorian Government is providing payments to financially support Victorian workers, including guardians and carers, while they self-isolate to wait for the results of a coronavirus (COVID-19) test. Express your interest.
Business recovery and resilience mentoring
The Victorian Government is partnering with the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to deliver a business mentoring program to help small businesses navigate the economic challenges posed by restrictions to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Eligible business owners can receive up to four 2-hour mentoring sessions with an experienced professional who will help them make informed decisions about the future of their business. Apply now.
Wellbeing and Mental Health Support for Small Businesses
Victorians dealing with the challenges of running a small business can get the mental health support they need to navigate through the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Current support under this program includes the Partners in Wellbeing telephone hotline 1300 375 330 (9 am to 10 pm weekdays).
Mental health specialists will also be embedded in industry and business associations to provide members with immediate access to expert advisors and on-the-job training for staff to identify and respond to people in distress. Roll out of these support services is expected to continue until 2022.
St John Ambulance Mental Health and Crisis Support Training closed on 18 December 2020.
Additional programs will be released with details available here.
Victorian Business Growth Fund (VBGF)
The $250 million VBGF is now open to support long‑term growth opportunities for businesses and boost employment and economic development across the State. Established by the Victorian Government and First State Super, the Fund will operate for 10 years and will help to address barriers faced by successful small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Roc Partners has been engaged to manage the VBGF. Express your interest through Roc Partners’ website.
Dairy Farm Induction Program
This program assists dairy farmers to safely, effectively and rapidly on-board new dairy farmhand workers during COVID-19 and beyond. Register your interest.
Need to know more?
For further information about the Victorian Government assistance for businesses in response to coronavirus, call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15 or visit the Victorian Government's coronavirus website.
Commonwealth Government assistance for businesses in response to coronavirus (COVID-19).
$320 billion economic response package
Increase in Export Market Development Grants
The Commonwealth Government has increased funding for the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG). Funding for the scheme will increase by $49.8 million in the 2019-20 financial year, allowing exporters and tourism businesses to get additional reimbursements for costs incurred in marketing their products and services around the world.
This increase supplements the additional $60 million already committed by the Government and brings EMDG funding to its highest level in more than 20 years at $207.7 million for the 2019-20 financial year. More information.
The Commonwealth Government has announced that the EMDG scheme will be simplified and reoriented in 2021-22 from a scheme providing assistance through reimbursement after expenditure to an upfront grant agreement. This will give eligible exporters funding certainty before they embark on their marketing and promotion activities. In the reoriented EMDG program, multi-year grants will be available for eligible SMEs at three stages of their export journey and assistance to industry bodies and alliances will be expanded to provide help for members who are new to export to become export-ready. Current EMDG arrangements remain in place for 2020-21. More information.
International Freight Assistance Mechanism
On 11 March 2021, the Commonwealth Government announced it is extending the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) to the end of September 2021, giving Australian businesses reliant on airfreight extra time to adapt to the new international trade environment. This follows the Commonwealth Government’s announcement on 6 October 2020 of funding of $95 million to directly address upcoming seasonal demand and $222.1 million to extend IFAM to the middle of 2021, to help keep international supply chains open.
IFAM keeps high-value, time sensitive and perishable exports and vital imports, such as medical supplies and other essential items, flowing as we continue the economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. It also re-establishes domestic connections for producers and growers in regional and rural areas that rely on airfreight to get their products to customers.
This funding is in addition to the $241.9 million announced in July and $110 million announced in April to establish IFAM under the $1 billion Relief and Recovery Fund, which supports regions, communities and industry sectors disproportionately affected by COVID-19. More information.
COVID-19 Export Capital Facility
The Commonwealth Government has established a $500 million COVID-19 Export Capital Facility to assist previously profitable Australian exporters whose businesses have been impacted by COVID-19.
Exporters will be able to access loans from $250,000 to $50 million under the Facility. The Facility will complement other measures announced by the Government which enable banks to support new and existing clients. Exporters should contact their banks in the first instance to determine what assistance may be available to them.
For further information visit the Export Finance Australia website or call 1800 093 724.
Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy
The $1.2 billion Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy will support businesses and Group Training Organisations to take on new apprentices and trainees, to build a pipeline of skilled workers to support sustained economic recovery. Any businesses or Group Training Organisation that engage an Australian Apprentice on or after 5 October 2020 may be eligible for a subsidy of 50 per cent of wages paid to an apprentice between 5 October 2020 and 30 September 2021, to a maximum of $7000 per quarter.
This assistance is in addition to the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees wage subsidy which is helping small and medium businesses to keep their apprentices and trainees in work and training. More information.
Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment
This payment replaces the Victorian Government’s $1500 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Worker Support payment. It is a lump sum payment to support workers in Victoria who can't earn an income because they must self-isolate or quarantine at home, or are caring for someone with COVID-19. How to claim.
Boosting cash flow for employers
Up to $100,000 will be available for eligible small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) and not-for-profits (NFPs) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000. More information.
Temporary insolvency related relief for financially distressed businesses
The temporary insolvency relief, announced by the Commonwealth on 20 March 2020, expired on 31 December 2020. This temporary insolvency relief for financially distressed companies increased the threshold at which creditors could issue a statutory demand and the time companies had to respond to statutory demands. Temporary relief was also given to directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent, with respect to debts incurred in the ordinary course of the company’s business.
This was followed by the commencement of the Government’s insolvency reforms to support small businesses on 1 January 2021. The changes introduce new insolvency processes suitable for small businesses by reducing the complexity, time and costs required. The changes will enable more Australian small businesses to quickly restructure in order to survive the economic impact of COVID-19. Where restructure is not possible, businesses can wind up faster, enabling greater returns for creditors and employees. More information.
Supporting the flow of credit - SME Guarantee Scheme
SMEs with a turnover of up to $50 million will be eligible to receive a guarantee of 50 per cent to SME lenders to support new short-term unsecured loans to be used for working capital. The Scheme will guarantee up to $40 billion of new lending. More information.
Increasing the instant asset write-off
The instant asset write-off (IAWO) threshold has been increased from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanded access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million) until 30 June 2020. More information.
Backing Business Investment (BBI)
BBI is a time limited 15-month investment incentive (through to 30 June 2021) to support business investment and economic growth over the short term by accelerating depreciation deductions. Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million will be able to deduct 50 per cent of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset’s cost. More information.
Assistance for affected regions, communities and industries
The Commonwealth Government is providing $1 billion to support regions, communities and industries most significantly affected by the coronavirus outbreak. A major relief package of up to $715 million is also available to support the airline industry. More information.
Useful links and resources for businesses impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Austrade: receive the latest insights for exporters by visiting the Austrade website.
- Australian Industry Group: explore tools and other resources by visiting the AI Group website.
- Australian Information Industry Association: Australian Business Continuity offers tools, information and free services for businesses to keep functioning with minimal disruption through technology.
- Australian Taxation Office: visit the ATO website for up-to-date information and advice to business.
- Business Victoria: find tips on how to create a continuity plan, evaluate risk and prepare a risk management plan. Learn how to respond and recover. Book a low-cost appointment with a mentor to help you work through or develop a recovery plan.
- City of Melbourne: for information on grants for SMEs and NFPs, visit the City of Melbourne website.
- Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA): explore the latest insights and webinars by visiting the CEDA website.
- CPA Australia: receive high-level tips, including access to Disaster Recovery Toolkits by visiting the CPA Australia website.
- Creative Victoria: information for the creative industries is available on the Creative Victoria website.
- Export Council of Australia: for updates on supply chains and freight and a suite of tools and resources for exporters visit the ECA website.
- Export Finance Australia: find support and resources for exporters during the coronavirus outbreak by visiting the Export Finance Australia website.
- Sport and Recreation Victoria: information for the sport and recreation industries is available on the Sport and Recreation Victoria website.
- Treasury: The Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit has been established to engage with business on a regular basis and provide updates to government on crucial issues. Visit the Treasury website to find out more.
- Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry: register for free annual membership and access coronavirus business resources by visiting the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry website.
- Visit Victoria: information for tourism and events industries is available on the Visit Victoria website.
- Workers in Transition: this support provides information, tools and resources to help both business and workers through retrenchment and into new opportunities.
Further information for exporters is available by sending us an email or calling the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15.
Media releases and statements from Victorian Government
- For all media releases from the Victorian Government, visit the media release website.
- For detailed information about coronavirus, visit the Department of Health and Human Services website
Page last updated on 8 June 2021