Circuit Breaker support for Victorian small business

Roelof van der Merwe

The Victorian Government has released a new $143 million Circuit Breaker Action Business Support Package to assist more than 50,000 Victorian businesses that were impacted by the five-day COVID-19 lockdown from 12 -17 February 2021.

The package, which contains four key initiatives, provides financial support targeted especially at small and micro businesses to help them manage the impact of the circuit breaker action.

1. $92 million Business Costs Assistance Program

Upon application, the Business Costs Assistance Program offers grants of $2,000 to small businesses with an annual payroll of up to $3 million in highly impacted sectors such as:

  • Hospitality.
  • Food wholesaling.
  • Tourism.
  • Events.
  • Selected retail.

The program is open to small businesses, including sole traders, regardless of whether they employ people, and provides support to businesses that have incurred direct costs as a result of the circuit breaker action, such as the loss of perishable goods, flowers and booking cancellations, and cancellation fees and charges.

2. $24.9 million Circuit Breaker Action Payment - Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund

The Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund was established to support liquor licensees operating restaurants, hotels, cafes, pubs, bars, clubs or reception centres that serve food and alcohol. Eligible businesses who received a grant through this program may automatically receive a one-off payment of $3,000 to help with costs incurred because of the circuit breaker action.

There is no need to apply for this payment, Business Victoria will contact the relevant liquor licensees. Businesses that receive this payment will not be eligible to receive a grant from the Business Costs Assistance Program.

3. $16.2 million Victorian Accommodation Support Program

The Victorian Accommodation Support Program supports tourism accommodation providers that incurred booking cancellations fees during the five-day circuit breaker action. Accommodation providers with demonstrated cancellations between Friday 12 February and Wednesday 17 February 2021 can apply for funding of:

  • $2,250 (ex GST) if the accommodation provider has experienced 10 or fewer cancelled nights; or
  • $4,500 (ex GST) if the accommodation provider has experienced 11 or more cancelled nights.

4. $10 million Melbourne Travel Voucher Scheme

The soon to be launched Melbourne Travel Voucher Scheme expands the Regional Travel Voucher Scheme and will offer over 40,000 vouchers valued at $200 for travel in greater Melbourne and an additional 10,000 vouchers to support travel in regional Victoria.

If your business operates in any of the identified highly impacted sectors and you were impacted by the recent circuit breaker action in Victoria, please speak to your adviser or get in touch with the Crowe Tax Advisory team to learn more about potential government grants that may be available to you or your business.