Insights + Resources

April 27, 2020

COVID-19+ What Government Grants can SMEs piggy-bank?

In the last few months, COVID-19 has disrupted tens of thousands of businesses across the country, from large listed conglomerates to sole traders and everything in between. In response, the Australian government and State and Territory governments have introduced a number of financial assistance grants to assist businesses detrimentally impacted by the pandemic. This article distills the main grants that are available to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) as at the date of this article at both a federal and state level.

Table of Contents:

Federal Grants
  1. JobKeeper
  2. JobSeeker
State Grants
  1. NSW
  2. Victoria
  3. Queensland
  4. South Australia
  5. Northern Territory
  6. Western Australia
  7. Tasmania

Federal Grants

1. JobKeeper

The JobKeeper subsidy is a $1,500 per fortnight payment of eligible employees that enables businesses to continue paying their workers despite declines in revenue.

You can enrol for the initial JobKeeper period until 31 May 2020 by clicking here. For more information, read our article on the JobKeeker payment.

2. JobSeeker

The JobSeeker payment is a $565.70 per fortnight welfare payment for eligible persons who have experienced unemployment or reduced salary (less than $1,075 per fortnight) as a result of COVID-19. This payment was due to increase to $1,115.70 per fortnight on 27 April.

To apply for the JobSeeker payment, click here.

State Grants 

1. NSW

NSW Small Business Support Grant (up to $10,000)

This grant is available to all eligible NSW small business owners. To be eligible, your business must:

  • have between 1-19 employees;
  • have an annual turnover of $75,000 or more;
  • have a payroll below the NSW Government 2019-20 payroll tax threshold of $900,000;
  • have an ABN as at 1 March 2020;
  • be based in NSW;
  • be ‘highly impacted’ by the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 issued on 30 March 2020;
  • use the grant for essential business expenses; for example, legal costs, financial advice, utilities and overheads; and
  • provide the requisite documentation.

With respect to the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020, read our article here. To be ‘highly impacted’ by this Order you must have experienced a 75% decline in turnover compared to the same two-week period in 2019 as a result of COVID-19. Thus the test is much stricter than the 30% turnover decline test for the Jobkeeper program.

If you think your business may be eligible, you can click here to apply.

City of Sydney Small Business Grants (up to $10,000)

 This grant is for businesses located within the City of Sydney local government area. You are eligible for this grant if:

  • You’re a for-profit organisation with an ABN;
  • You employ between 1 and 19 full-time staff; and
  • You can demonstrate how the grant will help support your business.

Click here to apply.

Canterbury – Bankstown Smart City Smart Business Grants (up to $2,000)

This grant is for small businesses that have an ABN registered in Canterbury Bankstown and is intended to fund activities to develop and/or improve e-commerce capabilities and online marketing. Eligibility requirements include:

  • Being a business registered for GST;
  • Conducting more than 50% of trade from within the Canterbury Bankstown Local Government Area;
  • Having an annual turnover below $5 million; and
  • Being able to complete their e-commerce and online marketing activity before 31 December 2020.

E-commerce and online marketing activities include:

  • Developing a new website;
  • Improving an existing website;
  • Undertaking paid online and social media advertising; and
  • Developing an online ordering system and/or service for your product or service.

Click here to apply.

2. Victoria

Victorian Business Support Fund (up to $10,000)

Victoria is offering funding of $10,000 for eligible businesses that have been subject to closure or are highly impacted by the shutdown restrictions announced by the Victorian Government as a result of COVID-19. To be eligible, the business must:

  • Employ staff;
  • Have been subject to closure or is highly impacted by Restricted Activity Directions issued by the Deputy Chief Health Officer;
  • Have a turnover of more than $75,000;
  • Have a payroll of less than $650,000;
  • Hold an ABN and have held that ABN at 16 March 2020; and
  • Have been engaged in carrying out the operation of the business in Victoria on 16 March 2020.

Click here to apply.

City of Melbourne Quick Response Business Grants (up to $10,000)

 Melbourne is providing a number of grants, including:

  • Up to $5,000 for investing in online and e-commerce activities;
  • Up to $2,000 for training and professional development; and
  • Up to $10,000 for capital works projects (matching dollar-for-dollar) to adapt to changing conditions.

Applications will be open here from Monday 6 July 2020 at 9am until 3 August 2020.

3. Queensland

Queensland Small Business Digital Grants Program (up to $10,000) 

This grant helps small businesses access digital technologies and services to help them grow and make the most of online business opportunity. Matched funding of up to $10,000 is available to eligible businesses for the purchase of hardware, software and services. To be eligible, a business must:

  • Have less than 20 employees;
  • Have an ABN and be registered for GST;
  • Have its headquarters located in Queensland;
  • Have a turnover of $2 million or less in the last financial year; and
  • Declare if any owners or directors of your business are an undischarged bankrupt or insolvent.

This grant is currently closed, however is expected to open here in mid-2020.

4. South Australia

South Australia Emergency Cash Grants for Small Businesses ($10,000)

Eligible small business in South Australia affected by COVID-19 may receive a $10,000 grant to support the operation of their business.

To be eligible, a business must:

  • Have an ABN;
  • Have been operating a business in South Australia as at 1 March 2020;
  • Employee people in South Australia;
  • Have an annual turnover of $75,000 or more;
  • Have a total Australian payroll of less than $1.5 million, and not be entitled to a payroll tax waiver under COVID-19 support measures introduced by the South Australian Government; and
  • Have been subject to closure or highly adversely impacted by the COVID-19 related restrictions.

Click here to apply.

5. Northern Territory

Northern Territory Business Survival Guide (up to $50,000)

 The Northern Territory is providing a number of grants to support businesses affected by COVID-19. The grants are as follows:

  • $2,000 for businesses with 1 full-time employee/sole traders;
  • $5,000 for businesses with 2 to 5 full-time employees;
  • $20,000 for businesses with 6 to 19 full-time employees; and
  • $50,000 for businesses with more than 20 full-time employees.

To be eligible, companies must:

  • Hold an ABN as at 23 March 2020;
  • Operate in the Northern Territory;
  • Be a Territory enterprise;
  • Have a significant permanent presence in the Northern Territory;
  • Employ Northern Territory residents;
  • Usually operated in one of the industries affected by the social gathering restrictions announced on 22 March 2020 and 24 March 2020; and
  • Have been directly financially affected by the social gathering restrictions.

Click here to apply.

6. Western Australia

WA One-Off Payroll Tax Grant ($17,500)

WA is introducing a number of payroll tax measures, including:

  • A one-off grant of $17,500 to employers whose annual Australian taxable wages are more than $1 million and less than $4 million;
  • Increasing the payroll tax threshold to $1 million on 1 July 2020; and
  • Waiving payroll tax for March to June for employers with Australian taxable wages of less than $7.5 million at 30 June 2020.

7. Tasmania

Tasmanian Small Business Emergency Support Grant (up to $2,500)

As at 27 April 2020, the Tasmanian government is introducing Round 2 of this Emergency Support Grant, which provides $2,500 to businesses under severe hardship.

To be eligible, the business must:

  • Have less than 25 full time employees; and
  • Have experienced a loss in revenue of greater than 30%.

Click here to apply.

 Tasmanian Small Business Hardship Grant (up to $15,000)

 Tasmanian is also offering grants of up to $15,000 to businesses who:

  • Employer 50 full-time employees or less;
  • Meet the hardship test (a loss in revenue of greater than 30%); and
  • Can demonstrate an ability to continue to operate in the current environment and provide products or services necessary for the Tasmanian or Australian community; or
  • May need to temporarily cease operation but can demonstrate strong prospects for future jobs sustainment or growth.

Click here to apply.

City of Hobart eCommerce Support Grants (up to $300)

Hobart is providing a $300 eCommerce grants to assist small retail businesses with marketing activities.

Click here to apply.

Concluding Remarks

Please contact us if your SME requires advice about these grants or your business in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. This article is not intended to be comprehensive or a substitute for legal advice – if you need advice, please get in touch.

Stay well.

This article is part of our “law in the time of corona” series of business law articles.

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