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COVID-19 grants and support for small business

Grants, rebates and other relief for eligible small businesses to help them deal with the impacts of COVID-19

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2022 Small Business Support Program

The NSW Government will cover up to 20 per cent of a small or medium business’s weekly payroll as part of a new package of measures to help those who have suffered a large cut to turnover during the Omicron wave.

The Small Business Support Program helps those businesses with annual turnover of between $75,000 and $50 million who suffered a decline in turnover of at least 40 per cent in January or early February 2022.

The minimum payment will be $500 per week and the maximum $5,000 per week for the 4 weeks of February, paid in a lump sum.

Businesses that do not meet all the eligibility criteria may still be able to apply.

Applications can be made online and will close 29 April 2022.

In addition, the existing Small Business Fees, Charges Rebate will be increased by 50% from the current $2,000 limit to $3,000 and employing businesses will be able to use the rebate to obtain Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs).

This measure is designed to support worker availability by helping reduce costs to small businesses and enabling healthy staff who have been exposed to COVID-19, but test negative, to return to work.

RAT rebates are expected to be available from late March.

Rent relief  

The NSW Government has introduced protections to mandate rent relief for commercial tenants (lessees) impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown and supports for landlords (lessors) who provide that relief.

The Retail and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19) Regulation 2021 has been amended to mandate rent relief for eligible tenants and the prescribed period extended to 13 March 2022. The Regulation requires landlords to provide rent relief in proportion to their tenant’s decline in turnover. Of the rent relief provided, at least 50 per cent must be in the form a waiver, and the balance a deferral.

Tenants and landlords unable to reach agreement on rent relief are required to take part in mediation conducted by the NSW Small Business Commission.

The Commission offers an efficient and cost-effective mediation service for commercial lessees and lessors. Either party can apply for mediation, and there is no application fee.  Read more about mediation and the leasing protections.  

Land tax relief is available for eligible lessors who have reduced their tenants’ rent due to COVID-19, between 1 July 2021 and 31 December 2021. Read more about land tax relief.  

Small business fees and charges rebate scheme  

Small businesses are encouraged to take advantage of the NSW Government’s $3000 rebate scheme to help cover the cost of NSW and local government fees and charges. The rebate is open to small businesses that have a total wages bill below the new 2020-21 $1.2 million payroll tax threshold. The rebate is available until 30 June 2022, for eligible fees and charges due and paid from 1 March 2021. See the fees and charges that can be claimed back through the scheme. For more information on how to apply and the eligibility criteria, visit apply for the small business fees and charges rebate.

Payroll tax waivers  

Payroll tax waivers of 25 per cent for businesses with Australian wages bills of between $1.2 million and $10 million that have experienced a 30 per cent decline in turnover, as well as payroll tax deferrals and interest free repayment plans. For more information , see Tax relief measures for eligible NSW businesses impacted by COVID-19.  

Support for COVID-affected individuals

Weekly payments are available to individuals, including business owners and operators, who can’t earn an income because they are COVID positive or are ordered to isolate by authorities.

The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment helps those who can’t earn an income because they have been directed by a State health official (or approved contact tracer) to self-isolate or quarantine, and they don’t have access to any special paid leave. Individuals can also apply for the NSW Government’s Test and Isolate Support Payment if they are required to get a COVID test and isolate until they receive a negative result. 

Vouchers

Dine & Discover NSW   

The Dine & Discover voucher program has been introduced to encourage NSW residents to go out and spend money to support small and regional businesses most impacted by COVID-19.  The program provides $25 vouchers to every NSW adult resident to spend at dining, arts and tourism businesses of their choice.   The Dine & Discover Voucher scheme has been extended to June 2022 to support hospitality, arts and tourism businesses. To sign up for the voucher or register your small business for the program, visit Dine & Discover NSW.  

Stay NSW

Stay NSW Vouchers help support accommodation providers in NSW impacted by COVID-19. NSW residents aged 18 and over can apply for one (1) $50 voucher to use towards the cost of accommodation bookings. ​

Businesses must register for the scheme to take part. Registration is now open to all eligible accommodation providers with a physical location in NSW. Businesses that register to accept Stay NSW vouchers can also automatically accept Parents NSW vouchers.

From 21 February, the Stay NSW Vouchers are being released by Local Government Area (LGA) over a 2-week period.

Outdoor dining grants

The NSW Government is trialling the easing of planning rules which will allow all pubs and small bars to apply to use the footpath and public spaces to serve diners alfresco under exempt development rules has now been made permanent. The rules for alfresco dining on public and private land are also being temporarily changed to include parks, registered clubs and open spaces.

Hospitality businesses can apply for rebates of up to $5,000 to set up outdoor dining spaces and planning rules will be further eased to make it easier for businesses to get permission. Businesses will also be able to apply to set up alfresco dining as an exempt development with landowner’s consent. These temporary measures will run for seven months until 18 April 2022. For more information on outdoor dining, see the Alfresco Restart Package.

Tourism and accommodation support grant

Accommodation providers who experienced cancellations for stays between Friday 25 June 2021 and Sunday 11 July 2021 may be eligible for the accommodation support grant of $2,000 (for cancellations of 10 nights or less) and $5,000 (for cancellations of 11 nights or more). If you have more than one accommodation property in NSW, you'll be able to submit an application for each property. Read more to apply, see accommodation support grant.

Sydney CBD Friday voucher program

The new voucher program has been introduced to encourage the community back into the Sydney CBD and support businesses. The program will offer 500,000 NSW residents 4 x $25 vouchers to spend at dining and entertainment venues in the Sydney CBD on Fridays. Eligible COVID-Safe dining and entertainment businesses in the 2000 postcode will be able to register for the program. More information will be available soon.

Support from banks and other financial institutions  

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) has announced a national support package for small businesses significantly impacted by 2021 COVID-19 lockdowns or recovery from recent lockdowns. The support includes options to pay in full, make partial payments or access further hardship assistance. Customers will need to contact their financial institutions to discuss the options available to them. Business owners and operators should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice that relates to your unique circumstances. For more information, see Australian Banking Association.  

Assistance for Indigenous businesses  

Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) is providing support to eligible Indigenous businesses impacted by COVID-19, including those that are not existing IBA customers. Assistance may include loan deferrals, grants or a combination of both to help with ongoing fixed costs through the COVID-19 crisis.  For more information, visit Indigenous Business Australia supporting COVID-19.  

 Small and medium enterprise (SME) guarantee scheme   

The Commonwealth Government will guarantee 50% of the value of eligible business loans to small and medium enterprises impacted by COVID-19.  Maximum loan value is $250,000 and there will be a repayment-free period of six months. Business can apply for 10-year loans of up to $5 million.  For more information about the scheme and the eligibility criteria, visit the SME Recovery Loan Scheme.

 Other small business grants and support   

For other support and grants for small business, see Grants and other financial support for small business.

 

More information: