$3 billion boost

Third Step restrictions due to come into effect by middle of week
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WORK TO DO: Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews departs a press conference in Melbourne. PHOTO: AAP

A $3 BILLION support package will help Victorian businesses in their fight towards recovery, including $1.08 billion in cash grants and $1.7 billion in deferred payroll tax.

Minister for Jobs and Trade Martin Pakula said business support will include cash grants of $10,000, $15,000 and $20,000 depending on payroll size and level that individual businesses are affected by restrictions.

To support bars, restaurants, pubs, clubs, hotels and reception centres, the government will establish a $251 million dedicated Licensed Venue Fund, with grants of between $10,000 and $30,000 for licensed venues of all shapes and sizes.

It will give businesses in alpine resorts grants of up to $20,000 to help cover their resort fees.

Further relief by waiving liquor license fees for 2021 will be provided.

A further $137 million in waivers and deferrals of charges including liquor licence fees, the congestion levy and increases to the landfill levy will be installed.

The 50 per cent stamp duty discount for commercial and industrial property across all of regional Victoria will be brought forward to January 1, 2021 and the Vacant Residential Land Tax will be waived for properties that are vacant in 2020.

Treasurer Tim Pallas said feedback from businesses suggests that cash flow is a critical concern.

“This will keep their options open and the capacity to come back at the back end of this event in a stronger and more effective way,” Mr Pallas said.

“We understand the pain that you’re feeling…businesses will come back stronger, better and more robust as a consequence of this event and the support that you’ve got from the government.”

Some $20 million for small businesses to access off-the-shelf digital programs such as Shopify or Squareonline, training and workshops designed to help businesses adapt to online operations will also be made available.

A $15.7 million export recovery package to address logistics and supply chain issues caused by the pandemic, and establish new export channels will be provided.

Businesses will be connected to international markets through virtual trade missions as well as assistance to adapt their export strategies to respond to the rapidly changing global market.

Regional Victorians are also likely to be living under the third step of COVID-19 restrictions around “the middle of this week”, as the 14-day case number average is likely to fall below five.

The second step of restrictions began at 11.59pm yesterday and under this level, stay at home rules are still in place.

But it will be short lived if case numbers continue to drop.

When the third step towards recovery is activated no restrictions will exist around leaving home.

Other elements will include:

• spend time with others outside where possible;

• public gatherings: up to 10 people outdoors;

• visitors allowed at home from one other household (up to five people);

• schools return to onsite learning from term four with safety measures;

• hospitality open for predominantly outdoor seated service only; and

• all retail open, except personal care (hairdressers open).

Premier Daniel Andrews said yesterday that given the incredible effort of regional Victorians, the government will continue to closely monitor the 14-day rolling average, which currently sits at 4.1 for regional communities.

“If this effort continues, regional Victorians could move to the third step within days,” he said.

Victoria’s State of Emergency and State of Disaster declarations have been renewed for another four weeks, ending at 11.59pm on October 11.

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