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Victorian Government Announces $3 Billion Business Support Package

The package includes more than $1 billion in cash grants for small and medium-sized businesses, as well grants of up to $30,000 for licensed hospitality venues.

The Victorian government has announced a $3 billion support package for struggling businesses in response to coronavirus lockdowns and the grim economic forecast for the state. The package, which Premier Daniel Andrews described as the “biggest package of business support” in Victoria’s history, will be delivered in the form of tax relief, cash grants and cash flow support.

More than $1 billion in cash grants will go to small- and medium-sized businesses that are most affected by Victoria’s coronavirus restrictions, and businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million will have their payroll tax deferred for the 2020-21 financial year.

Grants between $10,000 and $30,000 will be available to licensed venues such as bars, clubs, pubs, restaurants and hotels, and charges such as the liquor licensing fee and the congestion levy will be eligible for waiving or deferral. A 50 per cent stamp duty discount for commercial and industrial properties will come into effect in 2021.

There will also $44 million invested in helping businesses adapt to a new Covid-normal, including $20 million for small businesses to access digital platforms such as Shopify and training workshops.

Support is targeted mostly at the hospitality and tourism sectors, where business owners fear they won’t survive the current lockdown. Victorian hospitality heavyweights have already expressed their frustration at the lockdown measures and penned an open letter to the premier in the hopes that the state government will revise its restrictions roadmap.

The current plan means hospitality will re-open to punters for outdoor service on October 26, but only if the state’s averages less than five new coronavirus cases a day, as measured over the 14 preceding days.

Andrews also announced a $100 million package for sole traders, where grants of up to $3000 will be available for around 33,000 people in accommodation and tourism, some non-permitted retail, media and film production, gyms, creative studios, outdoor entertainment, private museums, galleries and more.

Photography: Kate Shanasy

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