16 Aug

COVID HARDSHIP FUND

Posted at 10:57h

The Victorian Government’s Small Business COVID Hardship Fund will assist eligible small and medium businesses:

  • whose operations have been severely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions that have been in place between 27 May 2021 and August 2021
  • that have experienced at least a 70% reduction in turnover as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions
  • that are ineligible for other key COVID-19 Victorian Government business grant programs that have been announced since 27 May 2021.

The program offers grants of $10,000 to eligible small and medium businesses, including employing and non-employing businesses. This program will allow more businesses who have previously not received support, to receive financial relief now.

Businesses must have experienced at least a 70 per cent reduction in turnover as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions, and be ineligible for other key COVID-19 Victorian Government business grant programs that have been announced since 27 May 2021.

Businesses will not be eligible to receive the Hardship grant if they have received support under any of the government COVID-19 support packages launched on and after 27 May 2021, including the Business Costs Assistance Program.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

To be eligible for the Program, a business must:

  • be located within Victoria; and
  • as a direct consequence of COVID-19 restrictions since 27 May 2021 (Impacted Period), have experienced a reduction in turnover of at least 70 per cent for a minimum consecutive two-week period comparable to a Benchmark Period in 2019 (note alternative arrangements are available for businesses who do not have a trading history in 2019); and
  • have an annual Victorian payroll of up to $10 million in 2019-20 on an ungrouped basis; and
  • be registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST) on and from 28 July 2021; and
  • hold an Australian Business Number (ABN) and have held that ABN on and from 28 July 2021; and
  • be registered with the responsible Federal or State regulator; and

Additional eligibility requirements for employing businesses:

  • be registered with WorkSafe Victoria; and
  • attest that the business is supporting its workers to access any paid leave entitlements, or that if a person can work from home, to work from home during the COVID-19 Restrictions, and supporting their casual workers, where possible.

REDUCTION IN TURNOVER

To be eligible for the Program, a business must demonstrate that as a direct consequence of COVID-19 restrictions since 27 May 2021 (Impacted Period), they have experienced a reduction in turnover of at least 70 per cent for a minimum consecutive two-week period comparable to a Benchmark Period in 2019. Note alternative arrangements are available for businesses who do not have a trading history in 2019.

LETTER FROM ACCOUNTANT

The reduction in turnover evidence must be attested to by a Qualified Agent. The Qualified Agent may apply on behalf of the applicant or the application must include a PDF copy of a signed copy of the “Letter from the Qualified Agent”.

Curve can provide this letter for you or, alternatively, make the application on your behalf including the letter.

FUNDING USE

Grant funds must be used to assist the business, for example on:

  • Meeting business costs, including utilities, wages or rent;
  • Seeking financial, legal or other advice to support business continuity planning;
  • Developing the business through marketing and communications activities; or
  • Any other supporting activities related to the operation of the business.

COMPLIANCE AND AUDIT

Applications may be subject to audit by the Victorian Government, its representatives or the relevant Auditor-General and will be required to produce evidence (such as business activity statements, bank statements, financial reports, sales reports and invoices, payroll reports to demonstrate impact and turnover) at the request of the Victorian Government for a period of four years after the grant has been approved.

If any information in the application is found to be inaccurate, false or misleading, or grants are not applied for the purposes of the business in accordance with the terms of funding as set out in these Guidelines and any attached application, the grant will be repayable on demand.

HOW TO APPLY

Applications are submitted online via the Business Victoria website (business.vic.gov.au). All questions in the application need to be completed and requested information is to be provided to ensure timely assessment and grant payment.

If you have any queries about your application or require further information on the program visit business.vic.gov.au or contact the Business Victoria Hotline at 13 22 15.
The Program will be open for applications until program funds are exhausted or 11.59 pm Friday 10 September 2021, whichever is earlier.