New support has been announced for small businesses, including sole traders, most impacted by the coronavirus circuit-breaker action – with hospitality, tourism, events and creative industries operators to benefit from grants.
“Victorian businesses played their part in the circuit breaker action and this package recognises that the impact for many was severe,” said Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula.
New $200 vouchers for travel in regional Victoria and Melbourne will further bolster tourism businesses and workers, while licenced venues and accommodation businesses will receive dedicated new assistance as vibrancy returns to our night-time and visitor economies.
“We know it hurt businesses to shut their doors, but the long-term benefits are clear. A temporary pause has meant businesses can now get on with their rebuilding – with our full support,” said Minister for Small Business Jaala Pulford.
The $143 million Circuit Breaker Support Package is expected to help more than 50,000 Victorian businesses – including restaurants, florists, confectioners, hairdressers, accommodation providers, musicians and performers – who incurred costs such as the loss of perishable goods, cancelled gigs and foregone trading.
The package contains four initiatives targeted at businesses, including small and micro businesses.
The new $92 million Business Costs Assistance Program will offer grants of $2,000 for eligible employing and non-employing businesses in the hospitality, food wholesaling, tourism, events and selected retail industries. Businesses with an annual payroll of up to $3 million will be eligible.
A $24.9 million injection to the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund will give previous recipients of this grant an automatic one-off $3,000 per premises payment. More than $165 million has already been paid to about 7,500 businesses through this fund.
The Victorian Accommodation Support Program recognises the impact of cancellations on regional and metropolitan accommodation providers through a $16.2 million commitment. Accommodation providers who had 10 or fewer cancellations can apply for $2,250 per business while providers with more than 10 booking cancellations can apply for $4,500 per business.
Building on the success of the Regional Travel Voucher Scheme, a further $10 million will expand the scheme to include a new Melbourne Travel Voucher Scheme, offering 40,000 vouchers for $200 for travel in greater Melbourne, and an additional 10,000 vouchers to support travel in regional Victoria.
The Regional Travel Voucher Scheme and Melbourne Travel Voucher Scheme now spans 200,000 vouchers for eligible Victorians, providing a vital boost to the tourism sector as the state resumes its recovery.
The Andrews Labor Government has provided more than $6 billion in direct economic support for businesses and workers to help them get through the pandemic and recover strongly, including $2.6 billion alone in Business Support Fund grants to 134,000 businesses – more than half of all employing businesses in Victoria.