Up to 80,000 eligible businesses impacted by the reinstated stage 3 restrictions across metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will now be provided with a $5,000 grant as part of a new $534-million support package announced by the Victorian government.
As part of the package, the hardest hit businesses in hospitality will also be given access to a new $30-million dedicated support program.
A new $20-million central business district business support fund will also be established, in recognition of the sustained shock to small businesses in Melbourne’s CBD.
The Victorian government will also establish a $10-million business mentoring program, pairing small-business owners with experienced professionals who can help them navigate their way through the crisis.
Victorians dealing with the challenges of running a small business will also be given access to a $26-million investment in mental health support.
Details of the new programs have yet to be released.
A further $40 million will be provided to regional tourism businesses to cover the costs of refunds as well as marketing campaigns to boost region-to-region visitation while Melbourne is locked down.
Eligible operators will be able to claim up to $225 per night for up to five nights for every room cancelled due to the return of stage 3 restrictions, provided they refund the booking in full.
Businesses with payrolls up to $10 million can also defer their liabilities for the first half of the 2020-21 financial year.
“This is a blow for the Victorian economy and our hard-working businesses, but our economy is robust enough to help us get through to the other side,” said Treasurer of Victoria Tim Pallas.
“Many businesses will need to change the way they do things in order to remain sustainable, while others are dealing with challenges such as cash flow, reduced sales and debt for the very first time.”
Minister for Small Business Jaala Pulford added: “This pandemic is hard for so many of our small businesses, and that’s why we’re making sure they have the support they need to survive, adapt and keep their employees on – so more Victorians can stay in jobs.”
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