Cash payment reprieve for Victorian businesses impacted by lockdown

By Melissa Coade

Monday July 19, 2021

Businesses eligible for the payment include cafes, restaurants, bars, event suppliers, tourism and accommodation providers, and non-essential retailers.
Businesses eligible for the payment include cafes, restaurants, bars, event suppliers, tourism and accommodation providers, and non-essential retailers. (Image: Adobe/ korkorkusung)

A statement from the Victorian government said that up to 90,000 businesses can receive support payments of $3,000 through the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund and $2,000 through the Business Costs Assistance Program.

“People start needing support from day one – hour one – of a lockdown. We know this is tough on Victorian businesses and we’re standing with them, just as we’ve done from the very start of the pandemic,” Premier Daniel Andrews said about the business payments. 

Businesses eligible for the payment include cafes, restaurants, bars, event suppliers, tourism and accommodation providers, and non-essential retailers.

Andrews said that the ‘decisive’ lockdown, which was announced for five days last Thursday but has been extended following positive COVID-19 figures of 13 new cases on Monday and another four to be officially reported. 

“We have to be on our guard and we have to make sure that we make the best calls because you kind of only get one chance to do that,” the premier said on Monday.

“We do not want to be back and forth, having not dealt with this outbreak, and fooling ourselves that we have.”

Small business minister Jaala Pulford said that the payments were essential for small businesses who have been fighting to survive for the last 18 months.

“Victoria’s small businesses […] continue to do the right thing to protect the community. We know it’s really hard and we thank each and every one of them,” Pulford said. 

“Local businesses across Victoria are the backbone of our economy. This critical support will make sure business owners can weather this new challenge and recover strongly,” Industry support and recovery minister Martin Pakula added. 

A statement from the Victorian government said that 22,000 applicants to the Business Costs Assistance Program were being finalised by the department of jobs, precincts and regions. Public servants from within the department were seeking missing information or further detail from these businesses to confirm their eligibility for the scheme.

“It is expected thousands of these applicants will be successful and paid by the end of [this] week,” the statement said.

Income support payments for workers, to be paid starting from the first day of lockdown on Friday, are also possible by a deal that the state struck with the commonwealth. Workers who are impacted by the latest public health orders can receive the same payments available to workers in NSW.

No liquid assets test will apply for people seeking the weekly payment, which will be $375 for those who lose between 8-20 hours of work, and $600 for those who lose 20 hours of work or more during the lockdown period.

Citizens are being told to apply for the payments via the Services Australia website, with the commonwealth funding payments for those who live or work in federally declared hotspots and the state government funding payments for all other Victorians. 

A new date for the end of Melbourne’s latest lockdown is yet to be announced. More to follow.

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