The New South Wales government has set up a $1 billion assistance package for businesses affected by Omicron.
Businesses with less than $50 million in revenue and a 40 per cent drop in revenue in January and the first fortnight of February will be eligible for a pay-out of 20 per cent of weekly payroll.
In addition, the package also includes $80 million in ticket sales subsidies for the performing arts sector. The fees and charges rebate is being expanded to cover 50 per cent of the cost of rapid antigen tests.
Applauding the announcement, COSBOA CEO Alexi Boyd said, “This is great news for small business owners and their employees across NSW. “Businesses that are strong and viable in normal circumstances now have a better chance to get through this devastating Omicron outbreak.”
“This support package is also a welcome acknowledgement of the thousands of small businesses who have bent over backwards to limit the spread of COVID by closing for months at a time, learning about and implementing infection control measures, enforcing check-in rules, encouraging their staff to get vaccinated, and purchasing rapid antigen tests.
“We particularly commend the NSW Government’s decision to base eligibility criteria on a decline in turnover. Some people don’t realise that it’s not just the businesses you see on the high street affected by COVID-19.
“Behind the cafes, shops, restaurants, and bars are hundreds more small businesses supplying them, advising them, and working with them – ultimately, they’re all affected.”
“By supporting small businesses, we’re not only supporting jobs and the economy – we’re supporting community, culture, and what makes our cities and towns unique,” Ms Boyd continued.
“Neighbourhoods are often identifiable by the unique mix of small businesses that line the high street – no one wants to see a ‘for lease’ sign where their favourite cafe, bookshop, antique store or hairdresser once was.
“What we’d like to see is governments at all levels being aware of the value that small businesses bring to local economies and communities,” Ms Boyd concluded.
More bad news for hospitality businesses
CBA Group Executive Business Banking, Mike Vacy-Lyle, said of the businesses seeking financial assistance, about 35 per cent were NSW-based and weighted to the hospitality sector.
“While our current data shows the majority of our business customers remain resilient in the face of the Omicron variant, we know there are some that need assistance, and we will continue to do what we can to ensure businesses are supported to navigate this period.”
“CBA has a range of support measures on offer, and we encourage businesses to speak to us about how we can help and tailor solutions to meet their needs,” Mr Vacy-Lyle said.
Know your options
Expanded small business fees and charges rebates
The existing rebate launch will increase from $2000 to $3000 in late March 2022.
Eligible employing small businesses will use the rebate against the cost of rapid antigen tests (RATs).
Read more about rapid antigen tests for business.
Businesses who have already registered for the rebate will receive an automatic top-up of $1000, and newly registered businesses will receive a rebate of $3000.
Businesses can apply for the expanded small business fees and charges rebate launch through Service NSW. Eligible small businesses can claim government fees and charges incurred from 1 March 2021 to 30 June 2022.
Businesses can set up a business profile with Service NSW launch to make it easy to transact if they aren’t registered for the rebates.
Find more information on the fees and charges rebate launch on Service NSW.
CBA support package
The CBA’s support measures currently available to businesses include:
- The ‘Business Restarter Loan through the Federal Government-backed SME Loan Recovery Scheme enables businesses to borrow up to $5 million with zero establishment fees and repayment holidays available.
- The Business Boost Loan through the Federal Government-backed SME Recovery Loan Scheme enables existing customers to borrow up to $100k unsecured with zero interest, one simple fee and a three month repayment holiday. The two-year unsecured loan is available to eligible existing CBA customers via the bank’s self-service and BizExpress Online.
Extended Commercial Landlord Hardship grant
The NSW Government will pay grants of up to $3000 per month to eligible landlords who have provided rental waivers to affected tenants. Rent must be waived in at least half of any rental reduction offered.
This grant has been extended until 13 March 2022, in line with the new legislation launch.
Apply for the Commercial Landlord Hardship grant launch through Service NSW.
Read more about COVID-19 support for tenants and landlords.
Other NSW government businesses support
The Going Global package launch includes assistance grants for exporters, tailored workshops and opportunities to explore new markets. Export Assistance Grants of up to $10,000 are available for up to 1000 export-ready or export capable NSW businesses until 30 June 2022.
Check eligibility and apply online launch through Service NSW.
Apply before 10 February 2022 launch for a government co-contribution to accelerate commercialising products and services that address disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Payroll tax support
Revenue NSW launch offers eligible businesses a support payment arrangement to help with payroll tax until 28 February 2022.
Business owners and individuals experiencing difficulties due to COVID-19 can find other benefits, rebates and concessions available to them using the Service NSW COVID-19 Assistance Finder launch.