New government assistance & Workcover COVID-19 reporting

A couple of new funding initiatives for Victorian businesses have been announced by the Victorian government recently.

There have also been updates to Workcover’s COVID-19 reporting regulations.

Here’s a brief outline of each of these updates:


Small Business COVID-19 Hardship Fund

The Victorian Government’s Small Business COVID Hardship Fund will assist eligible small and medium businesses with a grant of $10,000. This includes employing and non-employing businesses.

To be eligible, your operations must have been severely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions that have been in place since 27 May 2021; you must have experienced at least a 70% reduction in turnover because of the COVID-19 restrictions; you must have been ineligible for other key COVID-19 Victorian Government business grant programs that have been announced since 27 May 2021.

To learn more, see this link.


Business Costs Assistance Program Round Three 12 August 2021 Top-Up

The Business Costs Assistance Program Round Three 12 August 2021 Top-Up from the Victorian government offers further support to eligible small to medium businesses in sectors affected by metropolitan Melbourne’s current restrictions.

An automatic payment of $2,800 will be made to successful recipients of the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two or the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two July Extension that operate a business in metropolitan Melbourne.

This payment will be processed and paid automatically.

To learn more, see this link.


Mandatory COVD-19 reporting under WorkSafe Regulations

Under extended WorkSafe regulations, businesses are required to report a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 within the workplace, and if that person has attended the workplace within the relevant infectious period

A failure to notify WorkSafe can lead to heavy fines.

To learn more about your obligations to report confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 relating to your employees and contractors, see this link.

New support programs targeting small and medium businesses have been announced in a joint venture between the Commonwealth and State governments. These include:


Business Continuity Fund

Businesses impacted by capacity limits will receive a $5,000 grant, thanks to the $156 million Business Continuity Fund. 24 sectors are covered by the fund, including gyms, cafes, restaurants, event businesses, catering services, and hairdressers.


Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 Boost

Licensed venues will receive grants of up to $20,000, owing to a $70 million boost to The Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund. These grants acknowledge that larger venues have higher operating costs, so need more support than smaller operations.


Small Business COVID Hardship Fund

Small businesses with a payroll of up to $10 million who have experienced a 70 percent or greater reduction in revenue will be eligible for grants of up to $5,000. This new $85 million fund will be established to support small businesses that have not been eligible under existing business support funds.


Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme

The reinstated Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme will provide rent relief for eligible tenants, while separate support will be provided to landlords. Landlords will be required to afford rent relief proportional to a business’s reduction in turnover. A mediation service for tenants and landlords will provide additional support.


COVID-19 Disaster Payment

Most microbusinesses or sole traders not registered for the GST are eligible for relief payments through the COVID-19 Disaster Payment.



Business Victoria is setting up a dedicated concierge service to help these businesses access support. You can call this service to discuss what support is available for your business. Call 13 22 15 and select the Concierge Service option.


See here for further information.

Last week the Victorian Government announced new cash grants for businesses affected by the latest lockdown, to support a stronger recovery on the other side of the public health restrictions.


Businesses that applied for the latest Business Costs Assistance Program and Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund should have received an automatic support payment of $2,000 & $3,000 respectively in the last few days.


The total funding behind these initial grants is $201.8 million. Eligible businesses include restaurants, cafes bars, event suppliers, tourism and accommodation providers, and non-essential retailers.


The Victorian Government also reached an agreement with the Commonwealth Government to fund income support payments for employees who have lost hours due to the July 2021 lockdown.


Workers affected by the public health restrictions are now eligible for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment.


You’ll get the following amount for relevant periods starting from:

  • 15 July 2021 for people in parts of Sydney
  • 18 July 2021 for people in Greater Sydney
  • 18 July 2021 for people in all other areas in NSW
  • 23 July 2021 for people in Victoria.


If you’re eligible, you’ll get $600 for each relevant period if you lost:

  • 20 hours or more of work per week


If you’re eligible, you’ll get $375 for each relevant period if you lost either:

  • between 8 and less than 20 hours of work per week
  • a full day of your usual work hours per week.


You can make a claim from 23 July to 12 August 2021, for the period 16 to 22 July 2021.

You can make a claim from 25 July to 19 August 2021, for the period 23 to 27 July 2021.

You are not able to claim prior to these dates.

See here for more information on these initial support payments.

See here for more information on the covid 19 disaster payment.


Yesterday further support payments were announced; businesses who received these recent support payments will now receive another automatic payment.


Eligible Business Costs Assistance Program recipients will receive a further $2,800, increasing the total grant to $4,800 while Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund recipients will receive a further $4,200, taking the total payment to $7,200. There is no need to reapply for these programs. These payments should arrive in bank accounts in the next week or so.


For businesses that are registered for GST and meet the eligibility criteria but did not apply for the above support payments, an application will be made available for all July payments – $4,800 for Business Costs Assistance Program and $7,200 for Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund. Applications for the Business Costs Assistance Program Round 2 will be opening by the end of July.


Smaller businesses not registered for GST are expected to be eligible to apply for the Covid-19 Disaster Payment via their MyGov ID account.


There is also an extension of the Impacted Public Events Support Program along with a new round of both the Live Performance Support Program and the Sporting Clubs Grants Program.


Eligible public events and public events suppliers affected by the lockdown will receive support of up to $25,000 and $10,000 respectively through the extension of the Impacted Public Events Support Program.


The new round of the Live Performance Support Program, provides additional funding of up to $7,000 for presenters and up to $2,000 for suppliers.


For events that have been unable to proceed or will have to be cancelled or postponed, the new round of the Sporting Clubs Grants Program will provide $2,000 grants for community sport and active recreation organisations.

See here for more information on these top-up support payments.


Workplaces that have been required to undergo a deep clean may be eligible for an 80% rebate to help with this cost.


The COVIDSafe Deep Cleaning Rebate is available for small and medium-sized businesses, where anyone suspected or confirmed to have coronavirus (COVID-19) has been on the premises or worksite when they may have been infectious.


The rebate will cover up to 80 percent of the cleaning costs at each worksite, capped at a grant of $10,000 (for a total cleaning cost of $12,500).

See here for more information on the deep cleaning rebate.

The Victoria Events Industry has certainly been among the most negatively impacted by the state’s COVID-19 restrictions. The $20 million dedicated Victorian Events Support Package will support event organisers, hosts and suppliers as they manage the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The package provided by the Victorian State Government is now available and delivers five streams of support:

  • The Sustainable Event Business Program will provide up to $250,000 to major event organisers, hosts and suppliers who have suffered a loss as a result of the recent restrictions that began in late May, and the ongoing viability of their event or business has been significantly affected by the pandemic.
  • The Impacted Public Events Support Program will deliver up to $25,000 to eligible event organisers and up to $10,000 to eligible suppliers of Tier 1 and Tier 2 public events under the Public Events Framework that were approved to take place between 11.59pm on 27 May 2021 and 11.59pm on 24 June 2021.
  • Independent Cinema Support Program will deliver up to $12,000 to independent cinema operators unable to operate due to the COVID-19 restrictions that commenced at 11.59pm on 27 May 2021.
  • Live Performance Support Program (Presenters) will provide up to $7000 to presenters of live performance events that have cancelled events between 11.59pm on 27 May 2021 and 11.59pm on 24 June 2021 because of COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Live Performance Support Program (Suppliers) will provide a $500 grant per event for up to four different events for suppliers of goods and services to live performance events, including musicians and performers.

The eligibility criteria and guidelines are available here.

Please note applications close at 11.59 pm on Friday 16th July, 2021.



In response to Victoria’s latest 7-day stage 4 lockdown, the State Government has announced three grants to assist businesses feeling the impact.

These grants include:

  • Business Costs Assistance Program
  • Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund
  • Temporary Covid Disaster Payment
  • Victorian Events Support Package


Keep reading for more information on each grant:


Applications for the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two are now open and remain open until 11.59pm Thursday 24th June, 2021.

Please see the links below for the guidelines and eligibility criteria along with the ANZSIC industry code listing for businesses deemed eligible to apply for this grant.

Program Overview

Eligible ANZSIC classes

**Please note that we are able to complete grant applications on your behalf – fee applicable.


Applications for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 are now open and remain open until 11.59pm Thursday 24th June, 2021.

**Please note that applications for this grant will be sent via email from Business Victoria to those businesses with an eLicence email address.

If you do not currently have an eLicence email address you will need to set one up by 20th June, 2021 in order to receive a grant application.

Please see link below for the guidelines and eligibility criteria.

Program Overview

**Please note that we are able to complete grant applications on your behalf – fee applicable.


A Temporary COVID Disaster Payment has been announced by the Federal Government  to help those unable to earn an income during the lockdown restrictions. This payment will be available as of Tuesday 8th June, 2021 through Services Australia and you can apply online through your MyGov account. There will also be a hotline number announced for those who do not have access to online services.

The eligibility criteria includes:

  • Aged 17+
  • Have less than $10,000 in liquid assets
  • Australian resident or permitted to work in Australia
  • Work or live in government determined hotspot
  • Unable to attend work or earn an income because of restrictions
  • You are not receiving income support or other pandemic payment

There are two levels of weekly payments available as follows:

Work more than 20 hours per week – $500 per week Work less than 20 hours per week   – $325 per week

A person must also declare that they would have worked during the week(s) if there was no lockdown conditions and will lose income because of it. They must also declare that they do not have any access to special pandemic or sick leave , or if they do that they have used it all.

Please see the link below for more information:

Payment overview

We will update this post when further information is available.

For more information click on the link below:

More information.

Please contact our office for further support in relation to any queries you may have regarding these grants.

The Full Federal Court has ruled the ATO’s discretion in denying certain businesses access to JobKeeper and the cash flow boost was applied narrower than it was intended to be.

  This court ruling was handed down in March, with the ATO confirming they will begin a review of certain previous decisions, using the wider discretion deemed appropriate, to assess if a different outcome is possible.

  This broadening of scope will grant further time for a business to hold an ABN, and further time to provide notice to the commissioner of assessable income or supplies. Robyn Jacobson from the Tax Institute expects ‘it [to] affect thousands of taxpayers’ who were told they weren’t eligible.

  This automatic review of decisions by the ATO will only apply to applications that have met all other eligibility criteria for the COVID-19 stimulus payments. Each case will be reviewed by the commissioner and if overturned, ATO will contact taxpayers individually for more information.

  For more information, including how this might affect you and what happens next, please visit the ATO’s website here.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. Quote resource: Jotham Lian  30 April 2021

As one of the hardest-hit groups throughout COVID restrictions, The Government is now encouraging businesses to employ workers aged between 16 and 35 who were receiving income support in the last 3 months.

The new JobMaker Hiring Credit will provide employers with an incentive payment for each additional eligible worker hired after October 7th, 2020 which will help to subsidise the costs associated with additional workers for the next 12 months.

The payments will be made to employers directly if their nominated employees are between the ages of 16 and 35 when they began employment and they were receiving one of the following income support services: JobSeeker, Youth Allowance or Parenting Payment consistently for 1 month at least, in the last three months.

Applications are open for employers to register for the JobMaker Hiring Credit as of December 6th, 2020 and you do not need to register before you hire eligible employees. For workers between the ages of 16 and 29, you (the employer) will receive $200 a week, and for those workers aged between 30 and 35 you will receive $100 a week in support.

There will be eight claim periods between now and early October 2021. The first claim period begins on February 1st (for employment between 7/10/20 and 6/1/21) and payments will be made in arrears.

You can find more information about this scheme here:

JobMaker Hiring Credit Scheme

Key Dates


Please reach out to The Hrkac Group if you have any questions or need assistance with the JobMaker Hiring Scheme.

As part of the Victorian Governments Business Resilience Package, details about the different grants available to industries have been announced.

The $3 billion put forward is to help Victoria businesses feeling the ongoing effects of Covid-19 restrictions, move to Covid-normal operating levels.

See details about each new package below:  

Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package

This Package is designed to help businesses create safe outdoor dining spaces. Grants of up to $5,000 will be available to hospitality industries with an annual payroll of less than $3 million to enable outdoor spaces to be set up, adapted and expanded. These venues must be located outside the City of Melbourne local government area.

Full eligibility criteria will be in the application due to come out on Monday 28th September, 2020. More information.  

Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund

This grant is designed to assist hospitality businesses with cash flow and support them to survive trading restrictions. Grants of up to $30,000 will be available to eligible businesses based on location and patron capacity.

**Please note businesses eligible for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Grant will NOT be eligible for the third round of the Business Support Fund Grant.

Full eligibility criteria will be in the application which will open in the coming days. More information.  

Sole Trader Support Fund

This grant is primarily for eligible sole traders that operate from commercial premises or locations. Grants of $3,000 will be received by those sole traders to help see them through the restricted trading period.

Full eligibility criteria will be in the application which will open in the coming days. More information.

Please visit previous blog posts for more information on the support available to Victorian businesses:

Business Support Fund Round 3 JobKeeper Extensions Instant Asset Write-Off Extension Covid-19 Business Guide

If you need assistance with applying for the available grants, please contact us at the office to organise an appointment.

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**Applications are now open.

The Victorian Government has recently announced more support measures as ongoing help to businesses that have been impacted by the restrictions imposed, through the new Business Resilience package.

$3 billion will be available to Victorian Businesses in varying formats to help prepare everyone for Covid-normal operations.

Amongst the support on offer is round 3 of the Support Fund where grants of up to $20,000 will be made available, as well as: up to $30,000 grants for Hospitality venues; up to $3,000 for Sole Traders and up to $20,000 for Alpine businesses.

Below is a link to the Business Victoria website outlining the range of grants as well as other forms of support now available including funding, tools, resources, and waivers and deferrals for tax support:

Business Resilience Package.  

Applications are now open and close at 11.59pm on 23rdNovember, 2020 or when funds are exhausted.

Your business must have an ABN that falls within the ANZSIC codes that have been deemed as eligible to qualify.

How to apply.  

**Please note businesses eligible for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Grant will NOT be eligible for the third round of the Business Support Fund Grant.

If you require any assistance please do not hesitate to contact our office. We are here to help.

The JobKeeper Scheme has now been extended to include any eligible employees who were employed as of 1st July 2020 and are not currently nominated by an employer for JobKeeper payments.

Under the new ‘one in, all in’ principle for JobKeeper, employers must have their new employee nomination notices lodged by August 24th, to be covered under the scheme. This eligibility retest allows employees who weren’t eligible for the scheme initially to be captured and included in the extension.

This retest will allow new employees hired after March 1st, long-term casuals, and those who now qualify based on age or visa status to be able to receive payments from 3rd August 2020 – this is Fortnight 10 under the current JobKeeper Scheme. Employers must pay Fortnight 10 and 11 by August 31st to qualify.

The clock is ticking. You can find more information about this urgent update on the ATO website here or you can call us at the office on 03 5222 2366. IMPORTANT: Employers must provide a nomination form to employees to complete by 24th August 2020 and also have paid their employees the JobKeeper amount of $1500 per fortnight for Fortnight 10 and Fortnight 11 by the 31st August to qualify.

With new stage 3 and stage 4 restrictions in place as of August across Victoria, the Business Support Fund grants have been extended to accommodate further impacts to businesses as a result.

Businesses who employ staff in Victoria who are impacted by stay-at-home restrictions and operating at a limited capacity, or no longer operating, may be eligible to receive one-off grant payments under this Expansion program.

To support businesses that have encountered hardship due to current restrictions, one-off grants will be made available to eligible businesses under the Business Support Fund – Expansion program:

  • $10,000 for employing businesses in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire in recognition of spending longer under restrictions (if your business has already applied for the initial $5,000 grant under Stage 3 restrictions you will automatically receive the additional $5,000 and do not need to re-apply)
  • $5,000 for employing businesses in regional local government areas (except Mitchell Shire)

In order to apply for the Expansion package, all businesses in both Metro Melbourne and Regional Victoria must meet all of the following criteria:

  • operate a business located within Victoria;
  • be a participant in the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper Payment scheme;
  • employ people;
  • be registered with WorkSafe on 30 June 2020;
  • have an annual payroll of less than $3 million in 2019-20 on an ungrouped basis;
  • be registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST) as of 30 June 2020;
  • hold an Australian Business Number (ABN) and have held that ABN at 30 June 2020; and
  • be registered with the responsible Federal or State regulator.

** Please note applications close on 14th September 2020.

Visit the Business Victoria website for more information here. View the Expansion program Fact Sheet here.

If you need assistance assessing your eligibility or preparing your application, we are here to help. Contact us on 03 5224 2366 to get started today.

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Originally announced in March 2020, the JobKeeper Payment scheme was introduced to allow employers, sole traders, and other entities, who are significantly impacted by COVID-19, to continue paying their employees’ wages and keep Australian’s employed.

This Government scheme was intended to close on September 27th, 2020 however it was announced this week that a six-month extension has been given to the subsidy payments.

Under the current scheme, employers can apply to receive $1,500 per employee per fortnight as a subsidy to assist in paying wages. Under the latest revisions, this payment amount will continue to be claimable until September 27th, 2020 where the payment will then be reduced to $1,200 per fortnight per employee. From this date, new lower payment rates will also apply for employees that work less than 20 hours a week.

Further reductions in payments will be made from January 4th, 2021, where the fortnightly subsidy will reduce to $1,000 per employee. The scheme is now projected to finish on March 28th, 2021.

From September 28th, businesses and not-for-profits will need to reassess their eligibility for the quarter, to demonstrate their continued decline in turnover.

The application process remains the same and will continue to be open to new recipients during the extension period, providing they meet eligibility requirements.

For more information on the extension and further eligibility requirements from September onwards click here.

For more information on how to check your eligibility and apply to receive JobKeeper payments click here.

There is more detailed information on what steps businesses are required to take each month in order to continue to receive the subsidy payments. You can view that information here.

If you need any assistance with applying for the JobKeeper scheme, please contact the Hrkac Group on 03 5224 2366 and we will help you through the process.

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