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NSW announces support for SMEs amid the latest lockdown

The NSW government announced a major new stimulus package and adjustments to the Dine & Discover programme to assist small businesses and sole traders across the state who are likely to be affected by the ongoing two-week lockdown.

The package includes:

  • Grants of between $5000 and $10,000 for small businesses, depending on annual turnover
  • Payroll tax deferrals for all employers
  • Extension Dine & Discover programme through August 2021
  • More than $11 million for increased support for people at risk of homelessness
  • Assistance to vulnerable temporary visa holders, asylum seekers and refugees
  • An optional deferral of payroll tax payments due in July 2021 and the deferral of hotel June quarter gaming machine tax

The resurgence of COVID-19 cases and new lockdowns in the state of NSW prompted concerns among small businesses, who are once again at risk of temporary closures and further losses.

The government had earlier extended the stay-at-home orders to Greater Sydney, Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour until July 9.      

The small company support grants, according to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, would assist businesses by reducing cash flow restrictions during restricted trading. The stimulus support can help businesses cover expenses such as rent, utilities, and wages for which there is no other government assistance available.

“We always said we would do whatever it takes to support businesses and keep people in jobs during the pandemic, and that is exactly what we are doing,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“The current restrictions are in place to protect people and keep the community safe, unfortunately, businesses continue to incur costs such as rent, power and lost productivity, and this will go some way to lessening that financial pain.”

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the small business grants would be available for sole traders and non-for-profit organisations, with expanded criteria to assist most hospitality and tourism operators hit hard by the restrictions during school holidays.

“The NSW economy rebounded strongly from the challenges of 2020, and we’re taking action to ensure we keep that going. We are deploying our fiscal firepower when it matters by helping small businesses stay in business and keep people in jobs,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Once again, we are delivering timely and targeted support to keep businesses in business and people in jobs as we work together to overcome this latest challenge.”

The new grants will be available across the state from July 19. Businesses will be able to apply for the grants through Service NSW from later in July and will need to show a decline in turnover across a minimum two-week period after the commencement of major restrictions on June 26. 

Support grants

The state shall provide three different grant amounts for small businesses depending on the decline in turnover experienced during the lockdown:

  • $10,000 for businesses who experience a 70% decline in revenue
  • $7000 for businesses who experience a 50% decline in revenue
  • $5000 for businesses who experience a 30% decline in revenue

In order to receive funds, businesses must meet the eligibility requirements of the following two streams:

Small Business COVID-19 Support Grant: 

  • Businesses and sole traders with a turnover of more than $75,000 per year but less than the NSW Government’s 2020-21 payroll tax threshold of $1,200,000 as of July 1 2020, are eligible for such assistance.
  •  These businesses must have fewer than 20 full-time equivalent employees, and an Australian Business Number registered in NSW or be able to demonstrate that they are physically located and primarily operating in New South Wales.

Hospitality and Tourism COVID-19 Support Grant: 

  • Tourism or hospitality businesses that have an annual turnover of more than $75,000 and an annual Australian wages bill of below $10 million as of July 1, 2020, are eligible for this grant.
  • This business must also have an Australian Business Number registered in NSW or be able to demonstrate they are physically located and primarily operating in New South Wales.

State Budget

The NSW state budget — released last week — featured a slew of additional stimulus measures for the state’s health, tourism, and infrastructure. The government announced a targeted stimulus of $6 billion to the economy through 2021-22.

With the aim to refresh small enterprises and its regional procurement policy, the state also allocated $13 million in funding to the NSW and Small Business Commission to support the state’s small businesses. 

Moreover, the government announced that it would continue to support small and medium-sized businesses and the economy through ongoing and new initiatives totalling $1.7 billion.

On day four of the lockdown, the state’s COVID-19 case tally increased by 19, with seventeen of them tied to recognised clusters. The origins of the other two remain unknown. During the past 24 hours, the state reported that it conducted a total of 67,000 tests.

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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