Support for business and workers

Circuit Breaker Business Support Package

The Victorian Government has launched the $250 million Circuit Breaker Business Support Package to assist small to medium businesses and sole traders under the circuit breaker restrictions announced on 27 May 2021. 

The program will open for applications on Wednesday 2 June 2021. The program will remain open for three weeks. 

Details of the program can be found at business.vic.gov.au/grants-and-programs/circuit-breaker-business-support-package

Building on the $250.7 million Circuit Breaker Business Support Package announced Sunday 30 May, a new allocation of up to $209.3 million will flow to small and medium-sized businesses, including sole traders, increasing the total support package to $460 million.

The Business Costs Assistance Program grants for eligible businesses located in metropolitan Melbourne will be doubled from $2500 to $5000.

  • Regional businesses unable to open due to the ongoing restrictions, such as nightclubs and amusement parks, will also be eligible for the extended payment.

  • Metropolitan businesses that will have restrictions eased from Friday will not be eligible for the extended payment.

Applications for the Business Costs Assistance Program are open until 11.59pm on Thursday 24 June 2021.

 

Help for workers

Are you unable to work because of the COVID-19 pandemic? Have your hours been reduced?

 

 

More information about government assistance

The Australian Government has released an overview on their economic response to COVID-19 and we continue to keep you informed as it rolls out. For more information, refer to the Australian Government's Economic Response to the Coronavirus.

In the meantime, there are a number of resources available to you and your business. These resources are there to help you navigate through current challenges while ensuring the health and wellbeing of your staff and visitors.

 

 

QR Code - new requirements

QR code record keeping requirements will now be mandatory in retail settings, like supermarkets and shops.

Retailers must use the Service Victoria QR Code Service.

The 15-minute threshold will also be removed so anyone entering a shop or a cafe will need to check-in, regardless of how long they visit the premises.

 

 

COVIDSafe Plans

It is mandatory for every Victorian business to have a COVIDSafe Plan.

To ensure compliance, random spot checks are occurring in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.

 These resources are available to assist businesses develop and maintain a COVIDSafe Plan:

For further information on COVIDSafe Plans, including downloadable templates, visit: COVIDSafe Plan at coronavirus.vic.gov.au/covidsafe-plan.

My Busines Covid-safe Plan is another free online tool developed by Worksafe can help you develop a plan to keep employees, customers and the community safe as you reopen or increase activities in the weeks and months ahead.  It does compliment resources through the Safe Work Australia online hub www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au

 

Support for commercial tenants and landlords

The Victorian Government’s Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme ended on 28 March 2021. If you think you will have trouble paying rent after this date, the VBSC recommends following these steps:

  • Review your finances and keep paying what rent you can afford.
  • Contact an accountant or a business advisor or mentor for advice as soon as you can.
  • Try to negotiate a new agreement on rent with your landlord that will apply beyond 28 March 2021 by:
    • talking with them about your situation, what rent you can afford and the rent relief you are requesting (how much and for how long)
    • being prepared to provide documents showing your fall in turnover for the leased premises (e.g. extracts from your accounting records).
  • Look after yourself – if you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, call the Partners in Wellbeing helpline on 1300 375 330 (9am–10pm weekdays, 9am–5pm weekends) for free mental health support and financial counselling.

 

Landlords and tenants who can’t reach an agreement

If a landlord or tenant can’t reach an agreement or get a response from the other party, they can apply for free and impartial mediation to help resolve their dispute, using the retail leases dispute form.

Visit the VBSC website for more information.

 

 

Business Resilience Program

This Melbourne Innovation Centre program is designed to assist Victorian small businesses affected by COVID-19. Support includes free access to virtual mentoring, online workshops, and resources.

Topics covered in both mentoring and workshops are pertinent to the impacts of COVID-19 on small business. This includes strategy and resilience, finance and technology, customers and marketing, human resources, and mental health and wellbeing.

For more information, please call 9490 1402, email getsupport@melbourneinnovation.com.au, or visit the Business Resilience program website.

Business Resilience Mentors

The Melbourne Innovation Centre also has mentors experienced in business resilience.  With your mentor, you might choose to cover:

  • Developing a business continuity plan
  • Identifying new directions and income streams
  • Transitioning your business activities online
  • Staying connected with customers during lockdown
  • Financial assistance for small businesses impacted by COVID-19
  • Apps to boost your productivity

Visit the Business Resilience Mentors page to view all their experts, their unique expertise and to book you appointment.

 

 

Upskill your business

The impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) are being felt by many of Victoria’s small businesses. Get practical help with free online courses, live and on-demand events and a range of business resources to help you prepare for a strong recovery. Go to upskill.business.vic.gov.au

Free online digital workshops

All face to face business seminars have been cancelled for the forseeable future due to COVID-19 distancing measures.  

Free replacement online workshops are being offered three times a week by ASBAS and Melbourne Innovation Centre. This is a great opportunity to keep (or get) up-skilled in the comfort of your own home or office. Visit the Melbourne Innovation Centre website for more information.

 

 

Workplace impacts

The Australian and Victorian Chambers have produced an Employer Guide for managing the workplace in the face of the outbreak.

 

 

Working for Victoria

The Victorian government's Working for Victoria initiative helps Victorians, including people who have lost their jobs as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19), find paid work that supports our community.

The program currently has three components:

Working for Victoria – Businesses
Provides assistance to employers to identify their business needs and will help with finding people across Victoria with the right skills and experience.

Working for Victoria – Jobseekers
Working for Victoria is working with the public, private and not-for-profit sectors to identify employment opportunities for jobseekers. A new jobs and skills matching portal is now operational.

Agriculture Workforce Plan
The $50 million Agriculture Workforce Plan supports the agriculture, food production and food supply chain sectors meet their labour needs. Support will be provided to relocate and accommodate new workers if required. Assistance with training to induct workers into new job roles will also be available. Visit Working for Victoria for more information.