Victorian Government’s Lockdown Recovery Aid: New Business Support Package

Following issues raised by the business in Victoria, Premier Daniel Andrews recently announced a relief package with an aim to improve the State's economy during the prolonged COVID-19 "lockdown". Under the package, Victorian businesses will be able to access a $3 billion program, which includes cash grants and tax relief.

The economic package is aimed at supporting businesses survive the current challenging economic conditions and preserving jobs. Declared as the State's biggest business support package, the payroll tax deferral is aimed at providing a $1.7 billion cashflow boost to Victorian businesses.

From a State-wide economic perspective, the support package includes:

  • $1.1 billion in cash grants for small and medium sized businesses;
  • $251 million for the establishment of Licensed Venue Fund with grants of between $10,000 and $30,000;
  • deferred Payroll tax for businesses with payrolls up to $10 million for the financial year 2020-2021;
  • further tax relief of $137 million in addition to an existing $1.5 billion program of tax relief;
  • $20 million to assist small businesses in accessing digital programs for training, workshop and operation of business online;
  • export Recovery Package of $15.7 million to address logistics and supply chain issues caused by the pandemic and establish new export channels;
  • $27 million worth of savings for businesses from the waiving of liquor license fees;
  • 50% cut in stamp duty for commercial and industrial properties in Victoria – resulting in $41 million savings for businesses; and
  • grants of up to $20,000 to businesses in alpine resorts.

Businesses heavily affected by the impact of the lockdown, such as hospitality, retail, accommodation and tourism operators, hair and beauty services, repairs, maintenance, domestic cleaning, outdoor entertainment, and passenger vehicles operations have been named as the primary recipients of the funding.

The Business Council of Australia welcomed the package, in the hopes that it would assist keep small businesses afloat, particularly those which have been severely affected by the restrictions. However, the policy of deferring, rather than waiving, payroll tax payments has seen opposition from some within the business community. Further, the need to lift restrictions and allow businesses to open is still being pursued by the business community. Many are of the view that the self-sufficiency of businesses cannot be restored without the removal of restrictions – that is, until the lockdown is lifted, businesses will only be able to economically survive with the financial assistance of Government.

The Government has acknowledged the need for businesses to reopen and re-emphasised the medical requirements in getting past the second COVID-19 wave. The Victorian Government will discuss the business support further with Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

At Burke Lawyers, understand our clients' needs to protect their business and commercial interests during these challenging and uncertain times. For peace of mind, contact any of our business lawyers, Meghan Warren, Kristy Muhlhan, or Rosy Dean (nee Rosy Roberts) on +61 3 9822 8588 or via email HERE.

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