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The support available to individuals and businesses has been constantly evolving and changing. Here’s a summary of where support stands around the country.
From 2 August 2021, the COVID-19 Disaster Payment has increased to a maximum of $750 per week for those who have lost 20 hours of work or more, and $450 for those who have lost between 8 and 20 hours of work. In most cases, the payment now applies from day 1 of a lockdown. In general, you need to be living in, or impacted by Commonwealth declared lockdown to receive the payment although some States have funded an extension of the payment beyond hotspot areas.
A special separate $200 a week ‘top-up’ payment has been added for those currently receiving an income support payment through social security, ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Dad and Partner Pay or Parental Leave Pay in addition to their existing payment if they can demonstrate they have lost more than 8 hours of work and meet the other eligibility requirements for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment. The payment was put in place because people receiving income support payments are not eligible for the COVID-19 Disaster payment.
New South Wales business
In New South Wales, the following grants and payments are accessible:
- Up to $100,000 in weekly JobSaver cashflow support payments. Payments are based on 40% of your NSW payroll payments. Eligible businesses without employees that meet the eligibility criteria (such as sole traders with no employees), can access payment of $1,000 per week.
- Up to $15,000 through the expanded NSW 2021 COVID-19 business grants program
- NSW micro-business grants
The decline in a turnover test required for the JobSaver, COVID-19 business and micro-business grants has been causing a lot of angst but some additional flexibility has been provided. Businesses and non-profit entities can now pass this test if they can show a decline in turnover of at least 30% due to the Public Health Order over a minimum 2-week period within the relevant test period compared to:
- The same period in 2019;
- The same period in 2020; or
- The 2-week period immediately before the start of the relevant test period.
The test period depends on which payment you are looking at:
- COVID-19 business grant: 26 June 2021 to 17 July 2021 (this is changed to 27 May 2021 to 17 July 2021 for entities on the NSW border with Victoria);
- JobSaver and the micro-business grant: 26 June 2021 until the Greater Sydney lockdown ends.
This additional flexibility is helpful for businesses that started after the comparison period in 2019 and for those that have undertaken an acquisition, disposal or restructure.
For businesses that did not access previous grants, the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two July Extension offers grants of $4,800 for employing and non-employing businesses depending on your sector. For those in the hospitality sector, a new Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 July Extension is available offering grants of up to $7,200 for each eligible premises. Applications for both grants close 13 August 2021.
A new Small Business COVID Hardship Fund grant of up to $8,000 has been announced for businesses that are not eligible for existing support funding. To access the grant, your business must be severely impacted by the COVID-19 lockdowns with a decline in turnover of 70% or more. No further details are available at present.
Rent relief for commercial tenants is also now in place for businesses that have suffered a decline in turnover of at least 30% as a result of COVID-19. Landlords will be required to provide proportional rent relief in line with a business’s reduction in turnover and mediation is available through the Victorian Small Business Commission. A hardship fund will be established for landlords providing rent relief although no details are available as yet.
Download our latest HCG Fact Sheet with all the latest information available.
Please reach out to the HCG Team here if you would like support to prepare for, or to access, the support you need.