When asked recently about whether the Federal Government would give additional support to Victoria given lockdowns are still in place and JobKeeper amounts will be scaled back, Prime Minister Scott Morrison played hardball, indicating he would wait for Premier Daniel Andrews' (pictured) next move.
Today that move has come in the form of a new $3 billion support package from the Victorian Government comprising cash grants, tax relief and cashflow support, doubling the state's business support to $6 billion.
More than $1.1 billion in cash grants will support SMEs, including $822 million as part of a third round of the Business Support Fund.
A cash grant scheme that has already given $1.47 billion to 108,000 businesses will also be expanded, with the government expecting around 75,000 eligible businesses with payrolls up to $10 million will receive grants of $10,000, $15,000 or $20,000 depending on their size.
Other support measures in the new package include:
- A $251 million dedicated Licenced Venue Fund with grants of between $10,000 and $30,000 for licenced venues, along with the waiving of liquor license fees for 2021;
- $4.3 million worth of $20,000 grants to alpine resorts affected by COVID-19 restrictions;
- Grants of up to $20,000 for local business groups and chambers of commerce to help members adapt and find their feet in a "COVID-normal" world;
- A deferral of payroll tax for businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million in FY21, adding to refunds totalling $540 million to 20,000 businesses to date;
- A further $137 million in waivers and deferrals of charges including liquor licence fees, the congestion levy and increases to the landfill levy;
- 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 and the Vacant Residential Land Tax will be waived for properties that are vacant in 2020.
- A $44 million investment in business support to adapt to a COVID-normal environment, including $20 million for small businesses to access off-the-shelf digital programs such as Shopify or Squareonline, training and workshops designed to help businesses adapt to online operations; and
- An additional $8.5 million for the 'Click for Vic' campaign to support the state's food, wine, galleries and homewares, through marketing and advertising as well as expanding the digital platform and its partnerships with third-party e-commerce providers. To date the initiative has already generated 211,000 leads to the businesses featured.
"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," says Premier Andrews.
"We'll continue meeting with and listening to businesses, so we can do everything we can to support them and their workers."
"We're helping business to endure during these difficult times, and then to rebuild on the other side. This package comes on the back of extensive consultation with businesses in every sector," adds Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula.
Updated at 2:57pm AEST on 13 September 2020.
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