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Victoria unveils massive $3 billion business support package

A new support package will see $3 billion in cash grants, tax relief and cashflow support delivered to businesses, taking the Victorian Government's total Covid-19 business support to over $6 billion - the single biggest package of its kind in the history of the state. 

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Over $1.1 billion in cash grants will support small and medium sized businesses that are most affected by coronavirus restrictions, including $822 million as part of the third round of the Business Support Fund, said a press release on Sunday from the office of Premier Daniel Andrews. 

“For our state to recover, we need our businesses to recover too. As we take our first safe and steady steps towards COVID Normal, this support will help make sure we get through this together. We’ll continue meeting with and listening to businesses, so we can do everything we can to support them and their workers," Andrews said.

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    "We’ll continue meeting with and listening to businesses": 
                    Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews

The announcement came as the Government extended Victoria's state of emergency and state of disaster for another month.

However, some restrictions will ease from 11.59pm on Sunday night.

"Essentially from midnight tonight, Melbourne moves from Stage 4 restrictions to the first step of our roadmap which brings small changes that allow for more social interaction and more time outside," the Premier said.

According to the statement on Sunday titled Supporting Victorian Businesses On Our Road To COVID Normal, around 75,000 eligible businesses with payrolls up to $10 million will receive grants of $10,000, $15,000 or $20,000 depending on their size.

A package offering “considerable support” for sole traders is still being worked on and is expected to be announced in the coming days.

The Government will also partner with local business groups and chambers of commerce, with grants of up to $20,000, “so they can help their members adapt and find their feet in a COVID Normal world.”

The Government will establish a $251 million Licenced Venue Fund, with grants of between $10,000 and $30,000 for licenced venues of all sizes. Liquor license fees will be waived for 2021. Businesses in alpine resorts will receive grants of up to $20,000 to help cover their resort fees, saving them a combined $4.3 million.

To date, almost 20,000 Victorian businesses have received payroll tax refunds in the last financial year worth more than $540 million – and thousands more received a full waiver. “To provide a much needed $1.7 billion cashflow boost for businesses, the Government will now defer payroll tax for businesses with payrolls up to $10 million for the full 2020-21 financial year," the Premier said.

“Building on that support, the Government will also provide a further $137 million in waivers and deferrals of charges including liquor licence fees, the congestion levy and increases to the landfill levy. The 50 per cent stamp duty discount for commercial and industrial property across all of regional Victoria will be brought forward to 1 January 2021 and the Vacant Residential Land Tax will be waived for properties that are vacant in 2020.

“Even after we reach COVID Normal, many businesses will be required to change the way they do things, so we can keep cases low and protect our hard-won gains. That’s why the Government will invest $44 million to equip businesses with the support they need to thrive under a COVID Normal. It includes $20 million for small businesses to access off-the-shelf digital programs such as Shopify or Squareonline, training and workshops designed to help businesses adapt to online operations.

“Victoria is home to some of the best fresh food, wine, galleries and homewares in the world – but the pandemic has hit many small producers hard. The Government has already rolled out Click for Vic, a new website and campaign aimed at encouraging Victorians to support these hard-working local businesses. Already the website has generated 211,000 leads to businesses featured – now we’ll boost that effort with $8.5 million for more marketing and advertising, and expanding the digital platform and its partnerships with third-party e-commerce providers to sell these strengths far and wide.

"Exports are vital to Victoria’s economy – contributing 12 per cent to Victoria’s GSP and 330,000 Victorian jobs. That’s why we’re launching a $15.7 million export recovery package to address logistics and supply chain issues caused by the pandemic, and establish new export channels. Businesses will be connected to international markets through virtual trade missions as well as assistance to adapt their export strategies to respond to the rapidly changing global market."

Additional details about support for businesses will be made available at www.business.vic.gov.au