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COVID-19: Support and assistance

Government programs and grants available to assist businesses affected by the impacts of COVID-19 in 2021

1 October 2021

As COVID-19 continues to have a serious impact on our communities, people and businesses – here in Australia and around the world, the Federal and State government responses to the economic and social impact of the recent lockdowns across Australia include relief payments and concessions for businesses. 

We have compiled a guide outlining current State and Territory based funding and cash flow programs that may be available to your business if it has or is being affected by COVID-19 in 2021.

New South Wales

Support available Description
JobSaver Program
  • Impacted businesses in NSW can access the new JobSaver program, a joint initiative from the NSW and Federal Governments. 
  • From 18 July 2021, eligible businesses and not-for-profit organisations (NFPs) can apply to receive tax free payments of 40 per cent of their weekly payroll with a minimum payment of AUD 1,500 per week and maximum of AUD 100,000 per week (higher caps apply to businesses in the hospitality, tourism and recreation industries - see further below). These payments will continue until 10 October 2021, after which time the amount of the payment will reduce to 30 per cent of weekly payroll (minimum weekly payments of AUD 1,125 per week and maximum of AUD 75,000). When 80 per cent double vaccination rates are achieved support payments will reduce to 15 per cent of weekly payroll (weekly payments between AUD 562.50 to AUD 37,500). Eligible businesses with no employees will receive AUD 1,000 per week until 10 October 2021, reducing to AUD 750 until the 80 per cent double vaccination rates are achieved, at which time it will reduce to AUD 375 per week. All benefits will cease from 30 November 2021.
  • Broadly, an eligible business must:
    • have experienced a decline in turnover of at least 30 per cent over a minimum two-week period within the Greater Sydney lockdown (which commenced 26 June 2021), compared to: the same period in 2019 or in 2020, or the 2-week period immediately before lockdown commenced (12-25 June 2021)) (alternative rules can apply to business that have been impacted by acquisition, disposal, or restructure; natural disasters; or for sole traders or small partnerships impacted by sickness, injury or leave);
    • have aggregated turnover of between AUD 75,000 and AUD 250 million (inclusive) for the year ended 30 June 2020; and 
    • maintain employee headcount as at 13 July 2021 for the period for which the business is receiving payments under the grant.
  • Businesses in the hospitality, tourism and recreation industries with an aggregated annual turnover of more than $250 million and up to $1 billion may be eligible for support under the extension to the JobSaver scheme. To be eligible under this extension, businesses must:
    • have experienced a decline in turnover over a minimum one-month period within the lockdown (commenced 26 June), compared to the same period in 2019 or another agreed period, of:
      • 50 per cent for businesses with aggregated annual turnover of more than AUD 250 million and up to AUD 500 million; or
      • 70 per cent for businesses with aggregated annual turnover of more than AUD 500 million and up to AUD 1 billion; and
    • maintain their employee headcount from the day immediately prior to the month they first experienced the required decline in turnover for the period for which the business is receiving payments under the grant.
  • For businesses in the hospitality, tourism and recreation industries, the following higher maximum weekly payment amounts apply:
    • AUD 300,000 per week for businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of more than AUD250 million and up to AUD 500 million, and
    • AUD 500,000 per week for businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of more than AUD 500 million and up to AUD 1 billion.
  • Eligible NFPs in the social support and animal welfare sectors with a turnover between AUD 75,000 and AUD 250 million that show a minimum 15 per cent decline in turnover are also eligible for JobSaver payments.
  • Applications opened on 26 July 2021 and will close on 18 October 2021. The JobSaver program will cease on 30 November 2021.
  • For further details, refer to our one-page summary of the JobSaver program. 
Micro Business Support Grant
  • The Micro Business Support Grant of AUD 1,500 per fortnight available for eligible businesses with a turnover of between AUD 30,000 and AUD 75,000 that experience a decline in turnover of 30 per cent or more. Once NSW reaches the 80 per cent fully vaccinated target, this grant will reduce to AUD 750 per fortnight before ceasing on 30 November 2021.
COVID-19 Business Grant
  • Small and medium NSW businesses (including sole traders and not-for-profit organisations) with an aggregated turnover of up to AUD 50 million may be able to access the COVID-19 2021 Business Support Grant which covers the period up to 18 July 2021. This is a one-off grant of:
    • AUD 7,500 for businesses that have experienced a decline in turnover of 30 per cent or more;
    • AUD 10,500 for businesses that have experienced a decline in turnover of 50 per cent or more; or
    • AUD 15,000 for businesses that have experienced a decline in turnover of 70 per cent or more.
Other measures
  • Payroll tax waivers of 25 per cent for businesses with Australian wages between AUD 1.2 million and AUD 10 million that have experienced a 30 per cent decline in turnover. While businesses eligible for a 2021 COVID-19 Business Grant or JobSaver with payrolls of AUD 10 million or less will be eligible for a 50 per cent waiver in their 2021-22 payroll tax (up from 25 per cent).
  • Payroll tax deferrals (2020-21 annual reconciliations and monthly payments for July 2021 to December 2021 liabilities) until 14 January 2022 and interest free repayment plans.
  • Land tax relief and grants for landlords that provide rental waivers to COVID-19 impacted tenants.
  • Small business fees and charges rebate.
  • A short term eviction moratorium for residential tenants who suffer a loss of income of 25 per cent as a result of COVID-19.
  • Deferral of gaming tax assessments for clubs and hotels.

Victoria

Support available Description
Business Costs Assistance Program 
  • Grants of up to AUD 7,000 were available to small and medium businesses impacted by May-June 2021 restrictions in Victoria (referred to as the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two). 
  • Throughout July, August and September 2021, the Victorian and Federal Governments announced additional rounds of funding for this program, including “top up payments” for previous recipients of funding in the May-June rounds, allowing business that had chosen not to apply for these support programs when they were previously available, or had been ineligible to apply but are now eligible, to apply for lockdown support payments, and extending this program to regional businesses. Further support will be provided from 1 October 2021 until 29 October 2021 on a rising scale according to payroll for eligible businesses with annual payrolls of up to AUD 10 million. Businesses which remain closed or severely restricted during the period of between 70 and 80 per cent double vaccination thresholds will receive payments for the period from 29 October to 13 November 2021. 
  • For further information and to apply, see the Business Victoria website.
Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund
  • The Victoria Government provided grants of up to AUD 7,000 to eligible licensed hospitality venues impacted by the May-June 2021 restrictions in Victoria (referred to as the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021). 
  • Throughout July, August and September 2021, the Victorian and Federal Governments announced additional rounds of funding for this program, including “top up payments” for previous recipients of funding in the May-June rounds, allowing business that had chosen not to apply for these support programs when they were previously available, or had been ineligible to apply but are now eligible, to apply for lockdown support payments, and extending this program to regional businesses. Further support will be provided in October 2021 based on premises capacity and, during the period between 70 and 80 per cent double vaccination thresholds, payments for licensed premises in metropolitan Melbourne will reduce by 25 per cent and in regional Victoria by 50 per cent. 
  • For further information and to apply, see the Business Victoria website.
Other measures

Support is also available to:

  • Eligible public events and public events suppliers affected by the lockdown through the Impacted Public Events Support Program .
  • Live performance presenters and suppliers through a new round of the Live Performance Support programs.
  • Community sport and active recreation organisations for events that have been unable to proceed or will have to be cancelled or postponed via the Sporting Clubs Grants Program.
  • Alpine hospitality, retail, accommodation and experience operators, referred to as the Alpine Business Support Program.
  • Small businesses (i.e. those with a payroll of up to AUD 10 million who have experienced a 70 per cent or greater reduction in revenue) who have not been eligible under existing business support programs, referred to as the Small Business COVID Hardship Fund.
  • Business in certain sectors that remain impacted by capacity limits, referred to as the Business Continuity Fund.
  • Commercial tenants and landlords through the reinstatement of the Commercial Tenancies Relief Scheme.
  • Universities, which are able to defer payroll tax for the 2021-22 year, and continue to defer amounts due as a result of deferrals granted in 2020.

For further information on business grants available in Victoria, visit the Business Victoria website.

South Australia

Support available Description
Business Support Grant
  • The South Australian Government will provide AUD 3,000 emergency cash to eligible small and medium-sized businesses who have suffered at least a 30 per cent reduction in turnover in the week of 20 to 26 July 2021 (inclusive) (compared to the prior week) due to restricted trading conditions as a result of the state’s COVID-19 lockdown. 
  • Eligible businesses must have an annual turnover of at least AUD 75,000 in 2020-21 or 2019-20, employ people in South Australia, and have an Australia-wide payroll of less than AUD 10 million in the 2019-20 financial year.  
  • Otherwise eligible small businesses who do not employ staff (i.e. sole traders) may be eligible for a grant of AUD 1000. 
  • Applications for the Business Support Grant must be submitted by 30 September 2021.
  • For more information, visit the Business SA Information Hub.
COVID-19 Additional Business Grant
  • This jointly funded grant with the Federal Government includes AUD 3,000 cash grants for employing businesses and AUD 1,000 for non-employing businesses (e.g. sole traders) in eligible industry sectors that have experienced a decline in turnover of 30 per cent or more over a two-week period as a result of the COVID-19 trading restrictions introduced from 28 July 2021.
  • An additional CBD grant of AUD 1,000 will be available for eligible businesses (both employing and non-employing) with a commercial premise in the Adelaide CBD (postcode 5000), in recognition of the increased impact on city businesses as a result of people working from home.
Major Events Support Grant
  • Grants of up to AUD 100,000 for eligible events that were either cancelled, or suffered a significant financial loss, as a result of having to be cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 lock down in July or further restrictions to 4 August 2021.
COVID-19 Tourism and Hospitality Support Grant
  • Additional grants for businesses in eligible tourism and hospitality sectors (and other sectors such as performing arts, creative artists, taxis and car rental) that have already received the COVID-19 Additional Business Support Grant as follows:
    • AUD 3,000 for employing businesses with turnover less than AUD 2 million
    • A grant of AUD 10,000 for employing businesses with turnover of greater than AUD 2 million
    • A grant of AUD 20,000 for employing businesses with turnover of greater than AUD 5 million, and
    • A grant of AUD 1,000 for non-employing businesses.
COVID-19 Small Business Hardship Grant
  • Grants of AUD 6,000 for employing businesses with annual payrolls below AUD 10 million and AUD 2,000 for non-employing businesses who have experienced a minimum 50 per cent reduction in turnover over the eligible period and have not been eligible for previous business grant support since July 2021.

Queensland

Support available Description
2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grant
  • The Queensland Government will provide AUD 5,000 grants to small and medium businesses affected by lockdowns that commenced on 31 July 2021. 
  • The 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grant is available to small and medium businesses (defined as businesses that have a turnover of more than AUD 75,000 and an annual payroll in Queensland of up to AUD 10 million) across all industries across the state, and to large tourism hospitality businesses (defined as businesses with a turnover greater than AUD 10 million) affected by the lockdowns, that have experienced a 30 per cent or more reduction in turnover as a result of the lockdown. 
  • Applications for the grant opened 16 August 2021.
  • A joint Queensland and Federal Government package will provide a AUD 1,000 one-off grant to non-employing sole traders across Queensland that have had a decline in turnover of more than 30 per cent.
  • The joint package will also offer the following additional tiered payments based on payroll size for businesses across Queensland that have had a decline in turnover of more than 30 per cent:
    • AUD 5,000 one-off, top-up grant to small business with payroll of less than AUD 1.3 million
    • AUD 10,000 one-off, top-up grant to medium sized business with payroll between AUD 1.3 million and AUD 10 million.
  • For more information, visit the Business Queensland website.
Support for tourism and hospitality industry
  • Under a new joint Queensland and Federal Government package, one off grants of AUD 15,000, AUD 25,000 and AUD 50,000 for small, medium and large employing businesses across the state that have experienced a reduction in turnover of at least 70 per cent for at least seven consecutive days between 1 July and 30 September.
  • One-off Hardship Scheme grants of AUD 5,000 for employing businesses and AUD 1,000 for non-employing sole traders that are recipients of the COVID-19 Business Support Grants in the NSW border zone in the event of an extended border closure.
  • A six-month deferral of payroll tax payments for eligible tourism and hospitality businesses across the state impacted by current lockdowns. Payroll tax liabilities to be paid in August (or if already paid, the next monthly liability) can be deferred for a period of six months.
  • Waiving, refunding or deferring a range of fees and charges for eligible tourism and hospitality businesses.
  • Liquor licensing fee waivers and refund.
  • COVID-19 Cleaning Rebate to cover up to 80 per cent of cleaning costs, capped at $10,000 per incident, where a business is a confirmed COVID-19 exposure site.
  • 12-month deferral of state lease fees for eligible tourism operators for the period between 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022.
  • 12-month fee waivers or refunds of inbound tour operator fees. This support is available for fee renewals up to 30 June 2022.
  • A second round of the COVID-19 Marine Tourism Rebate in for the 2021-22 financial year to offset berthing fees for marine tourism vessels at privately owned or privately operated marinas in eligible Local Government Areas.

Tasmania

Support available Description
2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grant
  • A jointly funded package by the Tasmanian and Federal Governments targeted at businesses operating in tourism, hospitality, arts and events, seafood and transport (hire car, coach tours) sectors, as well as those that have been impacted directly by reduced interstate visitation.
  • Initial grants of between AUD 2,000 and AUD 10,000 available to businesses that have suffered a 30 per cent decline in their turnover.
  • A second round of grants will be automatically paid to recipients in November, bringing the total grants available across the two rounds to up to AUD 50,000 based on annual turnover.
  • Further information will be available on the Business Tasmania website.
Other measures
  • Payroll tax relief for tourism and hospitality industry businesses where there has been a 30 per cent reduction in turnover in the September 2021 quarter.
  • Waiving vehicle registration and passenger transport accreditation fees for vehicles including taxis, luxury hire cars, tour operator buses and rental car operators for renewal notices received between 1 July until 31 December 2021.
  • Waiving the license fees payable to Parks & Wildlife which removed a significant burden for tourism businesses operating within Tasmania’s Parks.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

Support available Description
COVID-19 Business Support Grant
  • A jointly funded package from the ACT and Federal Government initially provided grants of AUD 10,000 for employing businesses and AUD 4,000 for non-employing businesses.
  • This has since been extended to provide additional payments to both employing and non-employing businesses as the ACT lockdown has been extended. Businesses that have already applied will not need to reapply, they will automatically be paid under the program extensions. Support is expected to cease mid-October 2021 at which point the ACT is expected to reach 80 per cent double vaccination rate.
  • Available to local ACT businesses that have experienced at least a 30 per cent reduction in turnover due to restricted trading conditions.
  • In addition, businesses must be registered in the ACT and able to demonstrate their primary operation in the ACT, have an annual turnover of more than AUD 75,000, be registered for GST and have a total payroll of less than AUD 10 million.
COVID-19 Small Business Hardship Scheme
  • Eligible ACT businesses can apply for credits on the cost of eligible fees and charges of up to AUD 10,000 (inclusive of GST) per ABN.
  • This program will provide credits for payroll tax, utilities, rates and certain business licences for small to medium businesses that can demonstrate a 30 per cent revenue loss in revenue. 
  • Small businesses with a turnover between AUD 30,000 and AUD 10 million per annum can apply.
COVID‑19 Tourism, Accommodation Provider, Arts and Events and Hospitality Grant
  • One‑off grants (jointly funded by the ACT and Federal Government) to businesses in the Tourism, Accommodation Provider, Arts and Events and Hospitality industries will be provided at the following rates:
    • AUD1,000 for non‑employing businesses (increased to AUD 5,000)
    • AUD3,000 for employing businesses with turnover less than AUD2 million (increased to AUD 8,000)
    • AUD10,000 for employing businesses with turnover greater than AUD2 million and less than AUD5 million (increased to AUD 15,000)
    • AUD20,000 for employing businesses with turnover greater than AUD5 million (increased to AUD 25,000)
  • The eligibility criteria will match the eligibility criteria for the COVID‑19 Business Support Grant.
Other measures
  • Land tax and commercial rates relief to landlords who provide rent relief to tenants through to 31 December 2021.
  • Rent waivers until 31 December 2021 for any business and community sector tenants of government-owned properties that have been significantly affected by the COVID-19 lockdown.
  • A short term eviction moratorium for residential tenants who are in financial distress due to a loss of income or working hours as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown.
  • A temporary commercial leases declaration that prevents commercial landlords from taking prescribed actions against tenants impacted by COVID-19 such as terminating their lease without first engaging in good faith negotiations.

Northern Territory

Support available Description
Visitation Reliant Support Program
  • A jointly funded program from the Northern Territory and Federal Government providing payments to tourism and hospitality businesses reliant on international and interstate visitation.  
  • Employing businesses will receive a AUD 3,000 payment, while sole traders will receive a AUD 1,000 payment. 
  • Eligible businesses must have an annual turnover of between AUD 75,000 and AUD 10 million, and will need to demonstrate a minimum of 30 per cent decrease in turnover as a result of lockdown – particularly relating to visitation.  
  • Applications will open on 25 August 2021.
Tourism Survival Fund
  • A jointly funded program from the Northern Territory and Federal Government for touring, professional conference organisers, exhibition build companies and eligible attractions, providing highly targeted support to those operators most impacted by the lack of international visitors and who have not benefited from tourism vouchers. 
  • Eligible businesses will be able to access payments between AUD 5,000 and AUD 30,000 depending on their annual turnover which must be less than $10 million and must be able to demonstrate a minimum 30 per cent decrease in turnover, compared to the same period in 2019, as a result of the lockdown. 
  • Applications will open on 25 August 2021.
Territory Small Business Lockdown Payment
  • The Territory Business Lockdown Payment provides financial support to businesses during lockdown periods. 
  • This payment is an amount of AUD 1,000 and is broadly available to entities that:
    • are located within a declared lockdown area,
    • provide goods and / or services to the public wholly or substantially in the Northern Territory ,
    • are actively trading with an annual turnover of at least AUD 75,000 and less than AUD 10 million,
    • have fewer than 20 full-time equivalent employees, and
    • have had to temporarily cease or significantly reduce trading (i.e. suffers a drop of 50% or more in turnover) as a direct result of the lockdown.

Western Australia

Support available Description
Commonwealth-State Tourism Assistance Grants
  • Western Australian tourism businesses impacted by COVID-19 are able to apply for funding support under a new joint Commonwealth-State program. The amount of the grant  varies, ranging from AUD 2,000 for sole traders and employing businesses with an annual turnover of between AUD50,000 and AUD100,000, through to AUD10,000 for employing businesses with an annual turnover between AUD 1 million and AUD 10 million.
  • Applicants must demonstrate at least a 30 per cent reduction in turnover by comparing the period 15 May - 25 June 2021 with 10 July - 20 August 2021 to be eligible for support.
  • In order to be eligible, businesses must have an active and valid ABN, be located in Western Australia and be:
    • registered with Tourism WA as a previous grant recipient or as part of the agency’s marketing campaigns in 2020 or 2021; or
    • a member of, or accredited through, a relevant tourism organisation; or
    • a travel agent that has been offering domestic product to travellers.

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