There are a number of free training opportunities available for businesses to participate in during this time.
Victorian Chamber of Commerce Virtual Training Workshops
The 12 month Free Essentials membership gives any business who would like to sign up, a $700 credit and the opportunity to enrol in any of our current online/virtual courses using that credit to cover the cost of the course. Businesses can also enrol in face to face courses which have been scheduled in the months ahead for when restrictions begin to lift. Visit VCCI to view the current 24 courses available in virtual training and more will be added in the coming weeks.
Business Victoria Free Training - Upskill my Business
Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Business Victoria has online training via the Digital Opportunities Roadshow during April, May and June.
A number of these training events have a specific regional focus. Bookings are essential. Find out more here or phone 13 22 15.
Planning your Business Recovery Resource
This resource by Deloitte looks like a highly practical self-help program for small to medium businesses to map out a path to recovery:
Small Business Roadmap for Recovery and Beyond Workbook
La Trobe University Leadership Program
La Trobe University is inviting business owners from across Victoria to apply for a new program designed to help businesses adapt and innovate in the face of unprecedented change. The program is part of their broader COVID-19 recovery response plan, which includes a 12 hour free online leadership program delivered by the University’s renowned MBA team and a suite of short courses targeting priority areas such as health and IT. Adapt your Business starts June 8th 2020, find out more and apply HERE.
Contact La Trobe directly on 03 9479 3755
Business Webinars at La Trobe University
Tuesday 9 June, 12pm - Emma Reid, Global Marketing Manager of the CISCO Networking Academy
Tuesday 14 July, 12pm - Jan Vydra, Executive Director - Fresh Leaf Farms Limited
Tuesday 11 August, 12pm - Joanna Yan, Entrepreneur and Venture Capital/Investment Analyst
Biznet Breakfast Tuesday 2 June - 7.30am to 8.15am - Jamie Bedson, Consultant, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Business Day in 2020 - Wednesday 27th May 10am-4pm - register HERE.
City of Greater Bendigo
At the CoGB one of the key initiatives they are currently delivering is a weekly webinar around key topics filmed locally and presented by local businesses. They are likely to continue to run these for the next 6 months. These are being streamed every Tuesday at 12pm but can also be watched after the event for those who can’t make it at the time. These may be useful for some of your business owners particularly as there are topics around employment law, cash flow and HR among others, VISIT HERE
E-Training for Health Professionals
This training is for care workers across all health care settings, including:
- primary care
- aged care (both in residential aged care facilities or with visiting carers at home, including cleaners and cooks)
- disability (both in residential/shared care facilities or part-time carers in people’s homes, including cleaners and cooks)
- allied health
- Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services
- dental practices, including dentists, nurses, cleaners and receptionists
Melbourne Innovation Centre Business Resilience Program
Melbourne Innovation Centre has launched their ‘Business Resilience Program’ which will assist Victorian SMEs affected by COVID-19. Support includes FREE access to virtual mentoring, online workshops, and resources.
- A Business Resilience Mentoring webinar with four hours of free mentoring with a business resilience expert, and the session is guided by your needs
- A range of Business Resilience Workshops, that so far include:
- Create a Crisis Management Plan
- Pivoting Your Business Model
- Staying Connected with Customers
- Working on Wellbeing
ATO Small Business Webinars
- Learn how to make the move from AUSkey to myGovID via this free webinar. The myGovID app is an easy and secure way to prove who you are when using government online services. Register at: myGovID Small Business Digital Identity
- Is your small business affected by COVID-19? Come to this free 60-minute webinar to find out how the Government's stimulus package can help your small business. Register at: Tax support for small business
Small Business Australia Survival Plan
Small Business Australia has developed a five-step small business survival plan to help businesses in the current climate. Get your free copy of their SME survival plan “How to Stay in Business and Reach the Other Side” HERE
The Federal Government has announced that the list of restricted non-essential services has been significantly extended. The latest round of restrictions came into effect at 11.59pm on Wednesday, 25 March 2020, and change the operation of many businesses in our community. Please read the full list of restricted non-essential activities here.
The State Government introduced Stage 3 restrictions, directing all Victorians to stay at home to help limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). If you can stay home, you must stay home.
For the latest information, visit the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) coronavirus website.
For all businesses not subject to restricted trading, it is recommended that the DHHS Actions for organisations, workplaces and employers are followed to reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).
If you have any questions about your business’s ability to open under the restrictions you can contact the Business Victoria Coronavirus hotline by calling 13 22 15.
For the latest advice and resources on coronavirus (COVID-19), see the Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
Updated Fitness Guidelines
Permitted operations - outdoor activities
(3) Despite subclause (1), a person who owns, controls or operates a facility listed in subclauses (2)(a) (facility for indoor physical recreation) or (2)(c) (personal training facility) may operate that facility if its services are provided:
a) in an outdoor space;
b) the number of persons to whom its services are provided is:
(i) not more than 10 in any group; or
(ii) more than 10 in a group, if all persons have the same ordinary place of residence; and
(iii) the space available is suitable to accommodate groups with appropriate physical distancing; and
c) by an operator that requests that each person who attends provide:
(i) their first name; and
(ii) a contact phone number,
and, if provided by the person, must keep a record of those details, and the date and time at which the person attended the facility.
For more Information contact Fitness Australia - The Health and Fitness Industry Association
M. 0432 203 403 E. email@example.com W. www.fitness.org.au
Sustaining Creative Workers’ grants
These will provide funds for Victorian-based independent creatives and micro organisations with at least five years of professional experience. Grants of $5,000 will be available for individuals, and $10,000 for micro organisations and businesses. An additional $2,500 in access funding will be available for creatives with a disability, and disability-led organisations from Victorian Government’s $13 million Strategic Investment Fund for Non-Government Arts and Cultural Organisations. Details of the latest grant recipients available HERE
Australian Government’s $27 million Relief & Recovery Fund for the Cultural & Creative Sector
There’s dedicated financial support immediately available:
- Indigenous art centres and Indigenous art fairs supported through the Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support program will have access to $7 million to maintain operations, support artists and their communities and enable the continued creation of artwork (and income)
- The charity, ‘Support Act’, will receive $10 million to provide immediate crisis relief to artists, crew and music and live performance workers who have lost employment or are experiencing hardship
- Artists and arts organisations in regional Australia will be able to access additional funding of $10 million through the Regional Arts Fund to develop new work and explore new delivery models.
For more information, see the Fact Sheets HERE
Sustainability Victoria Grants - Three Grants currently open:
- $28 million for Materials Grants available to improve the recycling or reprocessing of paper and cardboard, plastics and glass. Applications close Friday 8 May.
- $11.5 million for Hazardous Waste Grants available for infrastructure projects to improve the recycling of solvents. Applications close Friday 8 May.
- Up to $50k on a 1:1 funding basis under their Investment Support Grants – Packaging to help Victorian organisations to reduce packaging waste disposed in landfill. Applications close Friday 5 March 2021.
Australian Banking Association
The Australian Banking Association (ABA) has stated all small businesses hit by the Coronavirus Pandemic will be able to access a six-month deferral of all loan repayments.
Assistance can include:
- A deferral of scheduled loan repayments
- Waiving fees and charges
- Interest free periods or no interest rate increases
- Debt consolidation to help make repayments more manageable.
How to access: If your business is affected by COVID-19 speak directly to your bank to receive a six month business loan payment deferral.
Free Membership with the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
The Victorian Chamber (VCCI) is able to assist members. The Chamber is waiving any new entry level membership, so businesses in the region are encouraged to apply. Members of the Chamber have access to industry updates and training webinars. For more information visit Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Assistance and advice with Energy Bill payments
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has set reasonable expectations of energy companies to protect householders and small business customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For suggestions how to save energy while living and working from home during this period visit the AER website
The Essential Services Commission also has relevant information about the obligations for energy suppliers, noting:
“We have reminded them of their obligations to help customers who are having trouble paying their bills. Ensuring those sectors can cope with an expected increase in the number of households and small businesses who need help with their bills is an immediate focus for us.”
More information can be found here
If you are experiencing difficulty paying your energy bills at this time please contact your energy provider.
Central Highlands Water (CHW)
Physical offices are currently closed, but CHW are still here to support the community. You can contact them for confidential support via our website Live Chat 8.15am - 10.00pm Monday to Friday, via phone (free call) 1800 061 514 or email
NBN Relief and Assistance Package
The relief fund, created following a short industry consultation led by NBN Co, is aimed at helping internet providers connect low-income households with home schooling needs, supporting emergency and essential services, and assisting small and medium businesses and residential customers who are facing financial hardship.
To help unconnected low-income families with school children get connected, nbn will be waiving its $37 monthly wholesale charge for internet providers for many services on the 25/5 Mbps speed tier between April and September.
For more information, visit NBN Working From Home
Victorian Government Assistance
$10,000 Grants to Help Businesses During Pandemic
The $500 million Business Support Fund will support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) within the hardest hit sectors, including hospitality, tourism, accommodation, arts and entertainment, and retail. Eligible businesses can apply for a one-off $10,000 grant which can be used towards costs such as utilities, rent and salaries, and activities to support business continuity planning.
Through Business Support Fund established by the Victorian Government, small businesses are eligible for a $10,000 grant if they:
- employ staff
- are subject to closure or highly impacted by shutdown restrictions
- have a turnover of more than $75,000
- have payroll of less than $650,000.
To be eligible, businesses must also be operating in the hardest hit sectors including:
- Accommodation and food services (e.g. cafes, restaurants, caterers, hotels, motels)
- Arts and entertainment (e.g. cinemas, performing arts venues, creative spaces, performers, museums)
- Health and beauty services (e.g. hairdressers, barbers, beauty therapists)
- Sport and recreation (e.g. gyms, swimming pools, indoor climbing, play centres)
- Tourism (e.g. tourist transport, tour operators, tour arrangement)
- Retail, other than supermarket, groceries, liquor and pharmacy businesses
- Other services (e.g. real estate agents)
For eligibility and to apply visit the Business Support Fund Program
Working for Victoria Fund
Under the $500 million Working for Victoria Fund, displaced workers will be eligible to apply for different types of work. This presents opportunities for paid work and a chance to contribute to Victoria’s ability to manage this event and support the community. Register your interest.
Payroll Tax Refund
Businesses with annual taxable wages up to $3 million will have their payroll tax for the 2019-20 financial year waived, giving $550 million back to businesses who need it. Eligible businesses must continue to lodge returns but do not need to make further payments for this financial year. These businesses can also defer paying payroll tax for the first quarter of the 2020-21 financial year. More information.
Commercial tenancies relief scheme
The Victorian Government will immediately introduce a commercial tenancy relief scheme to alleviate the financial hardship faced by tenants and landlords as a result of COVID-19. More information.
Land tax relief
Landowners who have at least one non-residential property and total taxable landholdings below $1 million have the option of deferring their 2020 land tax payment until after 31 December 2020. Landlords who provide tenants impacted by COVID-19 with rent relief may be eligible for a 25 per cent reduction on the property’s 2020 land tax. More information.
Liquor licence fees waived
Renewable liquor licence fees for 2020 will be waived. Businesses who have already paid will be reimbursed. More information.
Fast tracking outstanding supplier invoices
The Victorian Government will pay all outstanding supplier invoices within five business days - releasing up to $750 million into the economy earlier.
Rent relief for commercial tenants in government buildings
The Victorian Government will work directly with commercial tenants in government buildings who can apply for rent relief. Private landlords are also being encouraged to provide rent relief or holidays to help businesses.
Commonwealth Government Assistance
Under the JobKeeper program, businesses will be able to access a wages subsidy to continue paying their employees: a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum of six months.
The following information explains how you can enrol for the JobKeeper payment:
- Step 1 – Register your interest and subscribe for JobKeeper payment updates via the ATO.
- Step 2 – Check you and your employees meet the eligibility requirements.
- Step 3 – Pay at least $1,500 to each eligible employee per JobKeeper fortnight (the first JobKeeper fortnight is the period from 30 March to 12 April) deducting the correct amount of PAYG withholding tax from this payment.
- Step 4 – Notify your eligible employees that you are intending to claim the JobKeeper payment on their behalf and check they aren’t claiming JobKeeper payment through another employer or have nominated through another business.
- Step 5 – Send the JobKeeper employee nomination notice to your nominated employees to complete and return to you by the end of April if you plan to claim JobKeeper payment for April. Keep it on file and provide a copy to your registered tax agent if you are using one.
- Step 6 – From 20 April 2020, you can enrol directly with the ATO for the JobKeeper payment using the Business Portal. You must do this by the end of April to claim JobKeeper payments for April.
Boosting cash flow for employers
Up to $100,000 will be available for eligible small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) and not-forprofits (NFPs) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000. More information.
Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
The Commonwealth Government is temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will tailor solutions for owners or directors of business that are currently struggling due to coronavirus. More information.
Supporting the flow of credit - SME Guarantee Scheme
SMEs with a turnover of up to $50 million will be eligible to receive a guarantee of 50 per cent to SME lenders to support new short-term unsecured loans to be used for working capital. The Scheme will guarantee up to $40 billion of new lending. More information.
Increasing the instant asset write-off
The instant asset write-off (IAWO) threshold has been increased from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanded access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million) until 30 June 2020. More information.
Backing Business Investment (BBI)
BBI is a time limited 15-month investment incentive (through to 30 June 2021) to support business investment and economic growth over the short term by accelerating depreciation deductions. Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million will be able to deduct 50 per cent of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset’s cost. More information.
Supporting apprentices and trainees
Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Where a small business is not able to retain an apprentice, the subsidy will be available to a new employer that employs that apprentice. More information.
Assistance for affected regions, communities and industries
The Commonwealth Government is providing $1 billion to support regions, communities and industries most significantly affected by the coronavirus outbreak. A major relief package of up to $715 million is also available to support the airline industry. More information.
Fair Work Commission Provisional Variation to Modern Awards
Up to 103 modern awards, including the Hospitality Award, the Clerks-Private Sector Award and the Restaurant Award, have been varied to provide relief to workers impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic. The changes address unpaid pandemic leave and the flexibility to take annual leave at half pay. It is proposed the the variations are in place to 30th June 2020 (however they may be extended). For more information visit the Fair Work Commission.
Australian Energy Regulator Support
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has set reasonable expectations of energy companies to protect householders and small business customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To read more, visit General Information.
Assistance to Exporters
Increase in Export Market Development Grants
The Commonwealth Government has increased funding for the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG). Funding for the scheme will increase by $49.8 million in the 2019-20 financial year, allowing exporters and tourism businesses to get additional reimbursements for costs incurred in marketing their products and services around the world.
This increase supplements the additional $60 million already committed by the Government and brings EMDG funding to its highest level in more than 20 years at $207.7 million for the 2019-20 financial year. More information.
International Freight Assistance Mechanism The new $110 million International Freight Assistance Mechanism will assist Australia’s agricultural and fisheries sector by helping them export their high-quality produce into key overseas markets, with return flights bringing back vital medical supplies, medicines and equipment.
Exporters wishing to access the mechanism can register their interest or call the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment on (02) 6272 2444.
COVID-19 Export Capital Facility
The Commonwealth Government has established a $500 million COVID-19 Export Capital Facility to assist previously profitable Australian exporters whose businesses have been impacted by COVID-19.
Exporters will be able to access loans from $250,000 to $50 million under the Facility. The Facility will complement other measures announced by the Government which enable banks to support new and existing clients. Exporters should contact their banks in the first instance to determine what assistance may be available to them.
Visit the Export Finance Australia website or call 1800 093 724.