NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Wednesday that the ongoing lockdown in Greater Sydney to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak will be extended for a further two weeks — probably because she didn’t want to say a month and crush our spirits further.
The lockdown is now in its third week and businesses have been crying out for some kind of financial assistance as stores and hospitality venues are forced to close.
On Tuesday, a joint announcement was made between the Federal and State Government of NSW to announce a raft of new measures targeted at businesses that have been affected by the lockdown.
It’s not JobKeeper, something the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg ruled out reinstating recently, but it is cash payments based on loss of income in exchange for keeping the jobs of employees (definitely, definitely not JobKeeper).
Not all the details and application processes have been finalised but here’s a rundown of what we know is, or will soon be, available and how to claim it.
Small business support grant
If you’re a business, sole trader or not-for-profit organisation impacted by the current Greater Sydney COVID-19 restrictions, you may be able to apply for a grant of up to $15,000 per fortnight from July 19, 2021.
The grant can be used for business expenses such as rent, utilities and wages, for which no other government support is available.
Three different grant amounts will be available depending on the decline in turnover experienced during the restrictions:
- $7,500 for a decline of 30% or more
- $10,500 for a decline of 50% or more
- $15,000 for a decline of 70% or more.
Micro-business support grant
If you’re a micro-business impacted by the current Greater Sydney COVID-19 restrictions, you may be able to apply for a grant of up to $1500 per fortnight from July 26, 2021.
Micro-businesses means businesses or sole traders with an annual turnover of more than $30,000 but under $75,000.
To be eligible, you must be able to show a decline in revenue of 30% or more.
Small business fees and charges rebate
If you are a sole trader, the owner of a small business or a not-for-profit organisation in NSW, you may be eligible for a small business fees and charges rebate of $1500.
Eligible businesses or not-for-profits only need to apply for the rebate once but can submit multiple claims until the full value of $1500 is reached.
Funds can be used to offset the costs of eligible NSW and local government fees and charges due and paid from March 1, 2021. See the full list of eligible fees and charges here.
The rebate will be available until June 30, 2022.
Saving jobs programme
Definitely not JobKeeper, the Saving Jobs Programme is a new support programme funded jointly by the NSW and Commonwealth Governments to maintain the employment of staff for small and medium businesses impacted by the current health restrictions.
Businesses with a turnover of between $75,000 and $50 million per year will be eligible to apply for payments of 40% of their payroll up to a maximum of $15,000 per week.
In order to be eligible, businesses will have to show that they have kept their pay-rolled employees as of July 13 and that revenue has declined by 30% or more.
Applications will open on July 26.
Payroll tax deferrals
All businesses paying payroll tax will be eligible for a deferral of their payments for the 2020-2021 period.
The deferral will be for those wages paid during the July and August months.
Interest-free repayment programmes will be available with plans of up to 12 months.
Payroll tax concessions
The tax-free threshold for businesses has increased from $900,000 to $1 million from July 1, 2020.
Businesses receiving either business support or job saver with payrolls between $1.2 and $10 million will be eligible for a 25% reduction in payroll tax.
An additional three-month deferral has also been made available for businesses with payrolls of $10 million or less who received a three-month waiver on payroll tax in the first package.
Businesses with payrolls over $10 million will be able to defer the payment of their payroll tax by six months.
There is a deferral of gaming taxes owed for clubs, pubs, casinos, and hotels with gambling facilities for six months to improve the liquidity of these businesses.
The lottery tax will also be deferred for six months.
Landlords of commercial and retail tenants will no longer be allowed to lockout or evict their tenets before having the decision mediated by a tribunal.
Landlords who offer rental reductions or relief to their tenants will be eligible for a 100% land tax reduction.
Those working in the tourism sector who have lost bookings during the school holiday period will be eligible to apply for grants of up to $5000 based on the number of cancellations they experienced.
Live music and performing arts
Live music and performing arts venues will be able to apply for cash grants based on lost revenue.
The NSW Government has announced a $75 million package for select not-for-profit and commercial performing arts organisations, and some live music organisations impacted by the cancellation of shows due to current COVID-19 restrictions.
The package will be delivered in two stages:
- Immediate support to provide relief to eligible organisations who were staging performances during the period covered by the Public Health Orders.
- Funding available to support eligible organisations to reschedule performances once it is safe for restrictions to ease.
This package is intended to assist performing arts organisations and live music venues to continue paying staff and performers and provide support for loss of box office income where shows have been affected by Public Health Orders.
Applications will open on this website from July 23, 2021, and more information will be available shortly.
Taxi industry support package
The NSW Government is providing support for registered owners of wheelchair accessible taxis and currently operational taxis who have been impacted by COVID-19.
The package will provide eligible owners with a subsidy per vehicle to assist with on-road costs such as CTP insurance and registration.
There is no need to apply. A cheque for $2900 will be automatically paid to eligible registered taxi operators.
Support for independent breweries
Government funding is available through the Independent Brewers Association (IBA).
NSW independent brewers can have one year’s annual membership funds to the IBA covered by the government. This applies to both eligible new and existing members.