Hardship and grant options for struggling businesses

With the pandemic once again tightening its grip around many parts of Australia, a number of hardship and grant options have been made available.

So what schemes, hardship and grant options are available to small businesses and individuals this time around?

Let’s run through the COVID support options below.

Loan deferral on home and business loans
Impacted small businesses with loans in good standing are being supported by the banks with repayment deferrals of up to three months. Banks are also providing a range of support measures, including loan deferrals on a month-by-month basis for home loan holders.

“Support is available to all small businesses and home loan customers significantly impacted by current lockdowns or recovering from recent lockdowns, irrespective of geography or industry,” says Anna Bligh, CEO of the Australian Banking Association.

Since July 8, more than 14,500 home loans have been deferred, while more than 600 business loans have been deferred.

Business grants and payments
As you’ll see below, each state and territory has their own schemes, hardship and grant options available for businesses and individuals.

NSW: If you’re a business, sole trader or not-for-profit organisation in NSW and you’ve been impacted by the recent COVID-19 restrictions, you may be eligible for a one-off grant of $7,500, $10,500 or $15,000. Apply here by September 13.

Victoria: There are several grants in Victoria for employing and non-employing businesses. The Small Business COVID Hardship Fund provides $10,000 grants for eligible SMEs that have experienced a reduction in turnover of at least 70%. Apply here by September 10. The Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two offers grants of $4800 to eligible businesses in specific industries. Apply here by August 20.

Queensland: Lockdown-impacted businesses in Queensland can apply to receive a grant ranging from $10,000 to $30,000, depending on the size of their annual payroll. Grants of $1,000 are also available for non-employing sole traders. Apply here by November 16.

Western Australia: The Small Business Lockdown Assistance Grant: Round Two provides $3000 cash flow support to small businesses in industry sectors most impacted by the recent circuit-breaker four-day lockdown and interim restrictions. Apply here by August 31.

South Australia: Small and medium-sized businesses forced to close as a result of the state’s lockdown (beginning 20 July 2021) may be eligible for a $3,000 emergency cash grant. Sole traders may be eligible for $1000. Apply here by October 17.

ACT: COVID-19 Business Support Grants will provide up to $10,000 for employing businesses and up to $4,000 for non-employing businesses that experienced a turnover decline of 30% or more as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown health restrictions. Find out more here.

As the situation is constantly evolving, it’s worth double-checking to see if your business is eligible for any other grants or payments not listed.

For individuals
The federal government’s COVID-19 Disaster Payment is a lump sum payment to help workers unable to earn income due to a COVID-19 state public health order. This may involve a lockdown, hotspot or movement restrictions.

How much you can get however, depends on your location and circumstances. It’s available to eligible ACT, NSW, QLD, SA and Victoria residents.

Tenant and landlord support
NSW landlords who reduce rents for tenants hard-hit by the pandemic will be able to access up to $3,000 per tenancy agreement.

For landlords to be eligible, their tenant’s take-home weekly income must have fallen by 25% or more. The tenant also needs to continue to pay at least 25% of the rent payable.

Meanwhile, the Victorian Government has made it a requirement for commercial landlords to provide rent relief that matches their tenants’ fall in turnover in response to coronavirus, where the tenant is eligible for commercial tenancy relief support.

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