Economic support for city businesses

Melbourne businesses are the lifeblood of our city.

To keep Melburnians in jobs and to support city businesses affected by COVID-19, we have announced an initial local economic support package valued at more than $10 million.

This support will help businesses and workers affected by the emergency measures, which include social distancing and closure of non-essential businesses.

Deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood said: ‘We recognise that cash flow management will be a pressing issue for small businesses in the coming weeks and months.’

‘We’re developing an investment package to provide direct support to businesses.’

The package includes grants for small and medium sized businesses, rent and rate relief, one-on-one advice through our COVID-19 Business Concierge Hotline and much more.

We will also host a virtual Business Support Summit to share information about the crisis, the support available from all levels of government, and build resilience, mental health and wellbeing.

‘This Support Summit is about bringing together all levels of government to create a plan of action to support our city’s $100 billion economy,’ Lord Mayor Sally Capp said.

‘Melbourne is facing one of its greatest challenges and our business communities are suffering. It is vital that we all work together and plan a way forward as we tackle a problem which could last for months.

‘We are in constant close contact at both the state and federal levels as the coronavirus situation continues to change. We must continue to cooperate effectively if we are to ride out this crisis.’

COVID-19 Business Concierge Hotline
Has your business been affected by coronavirus? To get one-on-one advice and support, call 9658 9658 and press 1 for business.

Local businesses play a vital role in Melbourne’s economic prosperity. About 80 per cent of these are small businesses.

‘These are sole operators, family operations and small firms with just a few employees. They are Melburnians who have taken a risk to turn their idea into a livelihood and provide work for others. Real people will be severely impacted,’ the Lord Mayor said.

‘I am asking Melburnians to be considerate of the huge challenges being faced by local businesses.

‘The speed and strength of the city’s economic recovery will depend on how well we can support and save businesses through this period.

‘Being caring and creative are two of Melbourne’s greatest strengths – and we will need both to get through the coronavirus pandemic.’

Practical ways to support small business

  • Purchase home-delivery meals from local restaurants.
  • Shop local online.
  • Purchase fresh produce from Queen Victoria Market.
  • Search for City of Melbourne on Spotify to discover music created by local artists.
  • For more tips, visit 8 ways to enjoy Melbourne from home.

A person standing in an art and craft storeSupport at a glance

The City of Melbourne, the Victorian Government and Australian Government have moved quickly to put in place support for Australian people, workers and businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Here is a quick snapshot of some of the support announced.

Please note that this situation is changing regularly, so please check each source carefully for up-to-date details.

Melbourne magazine is for information only, and does not constitute financial or legal advice.

City of Melbourne

We have announced a local economic support package valued at more than $10 million. Our support includes:

  1. $5 million in grants for small to medium sized businesses, including:
    • Grants of up to $10,000 (matched dollar-for-dollar) to fund capital works associated with producing income, such as purchasing equipment and remodeling premises
    • Grants of up to $5000 for costs associated with online and e-commerce activities, including websites, apps and digital promotion
    • Grants of up to $2000 for training and professional development opportunities that will enhance worker capability to better prepare for return-to-business activities
  2. $2 million in grants of up to $4000 for individual artists or small arts organisations to develop new work, or for digital presentation of artistic works and performances
  3. A trader support package for Queen Victoria Market’s more than 600 small businesses including rent relief and a range of additional measures
  4. Temporary suspension of fees such as street trading and outdoor dining area permits. Food businesses will be able to apply for a reduced registration fee under our Hardship Policy.
  5. Halving of rent for eligible tenants in Council-owned properties
  6. Opportunities to defer, reduce or waive rates for property owners experiencing genuine financial hardship – call 9658 9658 to discuss your individual circumstances
  7. One-on-one advice and support through our expanded COVID-19 Business Concierge Hotline (call 9658 9658 and press 1 for business)

For more information on City of Melbourne support, visit Business.

Victorian Government

The Victorian Government has announced an economic survival package worth at least $1.7 billion. The support includes:

  1. Refunding 2019-20 payroll tax for businesses with annual taxable wages of up to $3 million, supporting 24,000 businesses and up to 400,000 workers, and deferral of payroll tax for the first three months of the 2020-21 financial year
  2. A $500 million Business Support Fund to support the hardest-hit sectors, including hospitality, tourism, accommodation, arts, entertainment and retail
  3. $500 million to establish a Working for Victoria Fund to find employment for workers who have lost their jobs
  4. $437 million to support our health system during this unprecedented time
  5. Waiving of 2020 liquor licence fees for affected venues and small businesses
  6. Land tax payment deferral options for eligible small businesses
  7. Rent relief for eligible commercial tenants in government buildings
  8. Fast-tracking of outstanding supplier invoices, small business mentoring, and industry-specific voucher programs
  9. Provision of information and support for businesses through Business Victoria’s hotline (call 13 22 15)

For more information on Victorian Government support, visit Business Victoria or call 13 22 15.

Australian Government

The Australian Government is injecting at least $320 billion into the economy. The support includes:

  1. A $130 billion JobKeeper program to help employers keep workers on the payroll. Businesses that have been significantly affected by COVID-19 can claim a fortnightly payment of $1500 per eligible employee for up to six months.
  2. Tax-free cash flow boost for employers, providing cash payments to businesses that pay salary and wages with an aggregated annual turnover under $50 million
  3. A 50 per cent loan guarantee scheme for small to medium enterprises to support new short-term unsecured loans to meet cash flow needs
  4. Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses to avoid unnecessary insolvency, and assistance from the Australian Taxation Office
  5. $4 billion for a Household Cash Payment, offering a one-off $750 stimulus payment to 6.5 million lower-income Australians, including people receiving family tax benefits or JobSeeker payments, and pensioners
  6. An increase in the instant asset write-off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000, and expanding access to include more businesses
  7. An Apprentice Fund offering wage assistance of up to $7000 per quarter for small businesses with fewer than 20 full-time workers
  8. A 15-month investment incentive to support economic growth over the short term, by accelerating depreciation deductions for businesses with turnover of less than $500 million
  9. Individuals affected by COVID-19 can apply to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21

For more information on Australian Government support, visit Treasury.

Get the latest news

The Australian Government has released an official app with the information you need to know about coronavirus. Search ‘Coronavirus Australia’ in the Apple App Store and on Google Play.

You can also send a WhatsApp message to 0400 253 787 and follow the instructions to receive the latest news.

The information contained in this communication is general in nature only. No reader should rely on it without seeking professional advice specific to their needs and circumstances, especially legal, health and financial matters