The current lockdowns in NSW and Victoria have prompted the federal and state governments to jointly fund and provide assistance to businesses and workers in affected areas.
Depending on your which state you reside in, you may be eligible for support. Breakdowns of the support packages have been provided below:
Increased Support for Workers
Workers in both Victoria and NSW will now be eligible for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment, with the Prime Minister announcing increases to existing support. Traditionally, a recurring weekly payment was nominated to be given to workers within areas of NSW where restrictions had caused individuals to lose over 20 hours of work per week.
Under the revised system, individuals who have lost between 8 and less than 20 hours of work during the period of the lockdown will now be eligible to receive financial support from the government provided they satisfy other eligibility criteria as listed on the Services Australia website.
The nominated amounts for individuals falling in either category are set to be paid in arrears, 7 days after the commencement of lockdown (Friday, 23 July 2021), covering up to 7 days of work missed throughout that week. Additionally, the payment was previously made available on a one-off basis, for Victorian workers affected by the state’s lockdown but will now be offered as a recurring payment to affected individuals.
Other Changes to Eligibility Criteria
A number of important changes to who can receive the payment, with some barriers to eligibility being lifted. The changes include:
- The eligibility of the Payment will not be dependent on a liquid assets test.
- The Commonwealth Government will fund payments for eligible workers who work in areas declared as a Commonwealth Hotspot by the relevant State Government and the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer.
- Specific support regarding Victorian workers will be updated on the Services Australia website. Currently, declared hotspots include Greater Melbourne, Moorabool Shire, City of Greater Geelong, Borough of Queenscliff and Surf Coast Shire.
As it stands, the COVID-19 Disaster Payment will provide:
- Individuals prevented from working 20 or more hours of work receive a payment of $600 per week.
- Individuals prevented from working between 8 and under 20 hours of work will receive a payment of $375 per week.
- Individuals within NSW and Victoria unable to work their normal hours as a result of restricted movement orders in affected areas may also be eligible for payments.
The COVID-19 Disaster Payment is considered as taxable income by the ATO.
Financial Support for Businesses
Both NSW and Victorian state governments have nominated support packages for eligible businesses and sole traders. The expansion of support for eligible businesses will be covered in the form of support payments for payroll and loss of income, additional business grants and business tax relief.
The COVID-19 Business Grant
Businesses eligible for the COVID-19 Business Grant must have earned a revenue between the amounts of $75,000 and $50 million across the 2019-2020 financial year, while holding an active ABN. Businesses must also demonstrate their operations and physical location reside NSW for the majority of business activities, with the wages of employees totaling no more than $10 million. Business must maintain their current employee headcount as of 13 July 2021.
Additional information about available business support can be found at the Services NSW website.
Micro Business Grants
A payment of $1,500 per fortnight may be available to eligible sole traders and small business owners with annual turnover of between $30,000 and $75,000, if they suffer a decline in turnover of at least 30% as a result of restrictions. What the “restriction period” is and how the “decline in turnover” is to be measured for the purposes of these grants are yet to be announced.
Information regarding the Micro Business Grant and updates will be available on the Services NSW website.
The Victorian Government will provide support for businesses affected by the ‘snap lockdown’ in the form of business grants to eligible sole traders and businesses across Victoria. Up to 90,000 businesses will receive automatic payments through the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund and Business Costs Assistance Program in payments of $4,200 and $2,800 respectively for each fund.
Businesses that had chosen not to apply for the above support programs in relation to the May/June lockdown or had been previously ineligible but now are, will be able to apply for July lockdown support payments and will be considered outside of the automatic top-up process.
The Victorian Government has also announced additional support:
- Microbusinesses not registered for GST will now be eligible for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment of $600/$375 per 7-day period with support available from the state government to assist businesses in accessing support.
- Businesses that were eligible for grants of up to $15,000 will receive an extra $3,000 through a fresh $1.2 million injection, on top of any entitlements under the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund or Business Costs Assistance Program.
- Eligible public events and public events suppliers affected by the lockdown will receive support of up to $25,000 and $10,000 respectively through an extension of the Impacted Public Events Support Program.
- A new round of the Live Performance Support programs, with funding of up to $7,000 for presenters and up to $2,000 for suppliers.
- A new round of the Sporting Clubs Grants Program will provide $2,000 grants for community sport and active recreation organisations for events that have been unable to proceed or will have to be cancelled or postponed.
Further information can be found on the Premier’s website.
To discuss your eligibility for support available in NSW and Victoria, contact a Morrows adviser today.