Update: New restrictions apply in Victoria
From 5 pm on 31 December the following restrictions will be in place in Victoria:
- The limit of people gathering in the home will be reduced to 15 from 30.
- Masks will be mandatory indoors. If you are planning to leave your home – take a mask and it needs to be worn anytime you are inside apart from when you’re eating or drinking.
We all need to be COVID Safe – don’t go into the city unless you have a booking, wear a mask indoors, practice good hand hygiene and if you are sick – stay at home. Visit coronavirus.vic.gov.au for more details.
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.
Victorian Government assistance for businesses in response to coronavirus (COVID-19).
$3 billion economic survival and jobs package
Victorian Export Recovery Package
On 13 September, 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.
Initiatives under the Export Recovery Package
Global Gateway Program
The Global Gateway program will support established Victorian exporters to help them stabilise their business and adapt their export strategies in response to the challenges created by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Grant applications are now open and will close at 11.59 pm on Sunday 17 January 2021. Find out more.
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 Virtual Trade Mission to help your business go global.
The eCommerce program will provide Victorian businesses with opportunities to increase their export potential by engaging an eCommerce platform within a designated international market and through other eCommerce channels. Learn more.
Business Resilience Package
BusinessSupport Fund – Third Round
A third round of the Business Support Fund will provide grants of $10,000, $15,000 or $20,000 (depending on business size) to around 75,000 eligible businesses with payrolls up to $10 million. Many sectors will remain closed, restricted or heavily restricted as metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria reopen. Grants from this program will help businesses in these sectors survive the extended period of restricted trading. This program is in addition to the first round of the Business Support Fund, which closed on 1 June, and the Business Support Fund – Expansion, which closed on 14 September 2020. More information.
Sole Trader Support Fund
The $100 million Sole Trader Support Fund provided grants of up to $3000 to eligible sole traders working in sectors of the economy affected by restrictions, like media and film production, creative studios, outdoor entertainment and in private museums and galleries – as well as gym owners. Applications closed on 30 December. More information.
Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund
The $251 million dedicated Licensed Venue Fund supported eligible hospitality businesses with grants of up to $30,000 based on the location of their premises and maximum patron capacity. Those eligible received an invitation to apply from Business Victoria at the email address linked to their Liquor Portal account. Applications closed on 30 November. More information.
Support for Business Chambers and Trader Groups
The $5 million Grants for Business Chambers and Trader Groups program provides funding to Victorian business chambers and trader groups for initiatives that will help support their members as we move into recovery and COVID Normal. Grants of $10,000, $20,000 or $50,000 will be awarded to eligible groups through a competitive application process. Interested Victorian business chambers and trader groups were invited to submit an expression of interest no later than 12 October 2020.
Eligible groups are now being invited to provide a detailed project proposal for further assessment. More information.
Support for alpine businesses
The Government has announced support for businesses in alpine resorts with grants of up to $20,000 to be made available to help cover their resort fees, saving them a combined $4.3 million. This is in addition to the Regional Tourism Accommodation Support Program which closed on 14 September and provided accommodation providers in regional Victoria affected by cancellations arising from the metropolitan local lockdown with direct financial support.
Business Adaptation Package
Melbourne City Recovery Fund
Recognising that Melbourne’s CBD has suffered under restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus, the Victorian Government has announced a $100 million fund to reshape Melbourne’s CBD in partnership with the City of Melbourne. Small and medium businesses will be able to apply for $30 million worth of grants to help them move outdoors with COVIDSafe events. $30 million will support COVIDSafe events and cultural activities to attract visitors back to the CBD when it’s safe to do so. Another $40 million will go towards providing physical improvements to the CBD streetscape.
Applications for business grants of up to $10,000 have now closed and recipients are being announced. Visit City of Melbourne website to find out more.
Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package
The Victorian Government will provide $87.5 million to councils and businesses outside of Melbourne’s CBD to support widespread outdoor dining. Councils will be eligible for up to $500,000 for metropolitan and regional councils or $250,000 for rural councils to deliver reduced or waived permit fees, or invest in new infrastructure and equipment to support outdoor dining. $58 million is being provided for grants of up to $5,000 for hospitality businesses with an annual payroll of less than $3 million to help them adapt to outdoor dining. Applications are open until 11 December or until funds are exhausted, whichever is earlier.
Applications have now closed. More information.
Small Business Digital Adaptation Program
The $20 million Small Business Digital Adaptation Program will allow eligible businesses to trial and receive access to digital products, tools and training to build digital capability in their day-to-day operations. Once businesses have purchased a product, they can apply for a rebate of $1200 to access the product for 12 months. The program also offers free digital adaptation training and workshops to help registered businesses adopt and implement online tools in their business.
Registrations for digital product trials and workshops will remain open until funds are exhausted or until 28 February 2021, whichever is earlier. Applications for purchase rebates will be open from 1 December 2020 to 31 March 2021, or until funds are exhausted. Register now.
COVIDSafe Plans and adapting to COVID Normal
Develop your COVIDSafe Plan and find sector guidance for your business by visiting the Business Victoria 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 e-commerce 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.
Stamp duty discount for commercial and industrial property in regional Victoria
The 50 per cent stamp duty discount for commercial and industrial property across all of regional Victoria will be brought forward to 1 January 2021. More information.
$33 million will go towards a 25% waiver of the Congestion Levy this year, with the outstanding balance deferred. More information.
$30 million will go towards a 25% waiver of the 2020 Congestion Levy, with the outstanding balance deferred until 31 March 2021. 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 closing date for 2020 land tax relief applications is 31 March 2021.
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. More information. 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.
The Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund offered grants of up to $3,000 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 fund has now closed. The Victorian Government is also working directly with commercial tenants in government buildings who can apply for rent relief.
Support for Victorian hospitality businesses
The 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. Learn more.
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. Apply now.
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.
Experience Economy Survival Package
The Victorian Government is backing Victorian sport, tourism and creative industries, with $150 million to support sporting clubs and competitions across the state – from grassroots to elite – as well as major tourist attractions, galleries and museums, and the racing industry. More information.
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 (COVID-19) call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15 or visit the 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 6 October, the Federal Government announced it is committing an additional $317.1 million in funding for the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM). With $95 million to directly address upcoming seasonal demand and $222.1 million to extend IFAM to the middle of 2021, the funding injection will 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.
Extension to JobKeeper Payment
The Government has extended the JobKeeper Payment by a further six months to 28 March 2021. Support will be targeted to businesses and not-for-profits that continue to be significantly impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19). There are two payment rates depending on the number of hours an eligible employee works or an eligible business participant is actively engaged in the business. Other eligibility rules remain unchanged.
Jobmaker Hiring Credit
On 6 October 2020 as part of the 2020–21 Budget, the government announced a new incentive for businesses to employ additional young job seekers called the JobMaker Hiring Credit. Eligible employers will have access to a JobMaker Hiring Credit for each new job they create over the 12 months from 7 October 2020, for which they hire an eligible employee, for a maximum claim period of 12 months from their employment start date. An employer cannot claim JobKeeper and JobMaker Hiring Credit at the same time. More information.
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.
Supporting apprentices and trainees wage subsidy
Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage from 1 January 2020 to 31 March 2021. Medium-sized businesses are now also eligible for the subsidy, for wages paid from 1 July 2020 to 31 March 2021. Any employer (including all small, medium or large businesses and Group Training Organisations) who re-engages an apprentice or trainee displaced from an eligible small or medium business may also be eligible for the subsidy. 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 relief for financially distressed businesses
The Commonwealth Government is temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will tailor solutions for owners or directors of business that are currently struggling due to coronavirus. 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 disruptionthrough 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.
For further information for exporters, send us an email or call 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 7 January 2021