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Your Updated COVID-19 Small Business Support Services Guide


| By Bridget de Maine | August 25, 2020

Small business support packages have changed since the COVID-19 response moved to Stage 4 restrictions in Victoria. Here’s our guide to the newest initiatives.

Updates to COVID-19 small business support for Stage 4 lockdown restrictions.

Unpredictability is part and parcel of being a small business owner but in the age of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and it’s constantly shifting restrictions, there’s even more uncertainty about where your business is headed. Both Federal and State governments have implemented a range of business support services to assist with doing business during this stressful time, many of which have been revised since the introduction of Stage 4 business restrictions in response to the COVID surge in Melbourne. Here’s your comprehensive guide to business support services that could be available to you.

What Assistance Is Directly Available to Small Business Owners?

New and existing small business support services available during COVID-19

The most up-to-date information regarding support for Australian businesses can be found at the Federal Government’s COVID-19 (coronavirus) support page.

Eligible businesses could receive an additional tax-free cash flow boost of an amount between $20,000 and $100,000 when activity statements are lodged for the months of June to September 2020, in addition to those offered in quarters 3 and 4 of last financial year (2019-2020). The payment will be delivered through credits in the activity statement system when business activity statements are lodged, meaning there’s no application process necessary.

An increase to the instant asset write-off threshold to $150,000 is also still available for eligible purchases, up until December 2020.

What Support Services Could Help Me Keep My Staff?

The JobKeeper payment, originally implemented by the Federal government to assist small business owners (including sole traders, partnerships, trusts, not-for-profits and charities) to keep their current staff employed until September 2020, has now been extended until 28 March 2021. Reassessment for eligibility for JobKeeper will now be necessary after 28 September 2020 and again after 4 January 2021.

The original rate of $1500 per employee per fortnight will be lowered to $1200 per fortnight from 28 September 2020, then again to $1000 per fortnight from 4 January 2021. Also beginning 28 September 2020, lower payment rates will be implemented for employees who work less than 20 hours a week.

The apprentice wage subsidy, which can account for 50% of a trainee employee’s wage, has also been extended until March 2021.

Is There Assistance for My Business’s Running Costs?

A guide to new and existing COVID-19 small business support services

Initial additional support services for businesses struggling to pay energy bills have now been extended until 31 October 2020. Also, if your business is part of the agriculture and seafood export industry, help for the transport of your produce through the International Freight Assistance Mechanism has been extended until the end of the year.

Could I Get Help With My Rent?

Small businesses and SMEs affected by COVID-19 should check out the Federal government’s relief for commercial tenants initiative in which the government introduced a mandatory code of conduct for small to medium sized commercial tenancies (including retail, office and industrial) that are eligible for JobKeeper. At the time of publishing, it is expected that these measures will remain in place due to the rise of coronavirus cases in Melbourne.

Are There State Variations in Small Businesses Support?


  • Under the new Business Support Fund introduced by the Victorian government following a second wave of coronavirus, Victorian businesses impacted by Stage 3 and 4 restrictions could be eligible for up to $10,000 in additional grants (which will be automatically distributed if you received the original Business Support Fund grant.)
  • CBD-based small hospitality businesses can apply for up to $15,000 worth of grants, depending on eligibility.
  • If you have not received funding through the Business Support Fund Expansion program, you could apply for the Hospitality Business Grant Program, which offers assorted grants, including a one-off $25,000 to eligible food service businesses with a payroll of $3-$10 million.
  • Businesses with wages up to $3 million could be eligible for a full refund and waiver of payroll tax for the 2019-2020 financial year for and a deferral of payroll tax for the first three months of the current financial year.

See VIC eligibility requirements and more information.

New South Wales

See NSW eligibility requirements and more information.


See QLD eligibility requirements and more information.

Australian Capital Territory

See ACT eligibility requirements and more information.

Western Australia

See WA eligibility requirements and more information.

South Australia

See SA eligibility requirements and more information.


  • There is a payroll tax waiver for the entire 2019-2020 financial year for small businesses in the hospitality, tourism and seafood industries.
  • If you get in quick, you could apply for the second round of the COVID-19 Small Business Continuity Grant program, offering $750 to eligible businesses to get professional advice on business continuity (closes 7 September 2020).
  • The Business Vehicle Registration Relief Package provides a registration freeze for light and heavy vehicles not being used, and taxis, as well as heavy vehicle registration and motor tax waivers.
  • Business Tasmania (1800 440 026 or ask@business.tas,gov.au) offers free advice and support through Enterprise Centres Tasmania.

See TAS eligibility requirements and more information.

Northern Territory

  • Until 30 September, small businesses with a turnover less than $50 million and a reduction in turnover of 30% or more due to COVID-19 can apply for the Business Hardship Package, which could entitle eligible SMEs to all kinds of benefits, including reducing utilities bills and reducing or deferring rates.
  • Look out for the Small Business Rebound and Adaption Grant, set to open 1 September 2020.

See NT eligibility requirements and more information.

This is general information only and does not constitute taxation or legal advice. Other requirements under the tax law apply. Seek professional tax and/or legal advice to determine whether you are eligible to claim a deduction for any purchases.