Victoria unveils support package for small businesses smacked by ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown

New support has been announced for small businesses, including sole traders, most impacted by Victoria’s recent ‘circuit-breaker action’.

New $200 vouchers for travel in regional Victoria and Melbourne are being introduced to further bolster tourism businesses and workers, while licenced venues and accommodation businesses will receive dedicated new assistance.

The $143 million Circuit Breaker Support Package is expected to help more than 50,000 Victorian businesses, including restaurants and accommodation providers, who incurred costs during the snap five-day lockdown.

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 for this program.

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.

A further $10 million will expand Victoria’s Regional Travel Voucher 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.

Dean Long, CEO of the Accommodation Association, welcomed the Victorian government’s new funding package.

“Hotels and motels simply aren’t businesses that can stop and start suddenly,” he said.

“This most recent shutdown ahead of the Valentine’s Day weekend, one of the busiest times of the year, came after most dining and bar facilities and hotels had stocked up in anticipation.

“It would be great to get to the point where we had greater transparency around the decision frameworks all state and territory governments are using, including Victoria, so that we can appropriately plan.”

Featured image source: iStock/oonal