The Victorian government have announced a $250m Circuit Breaker Business Support Package to assist the 90,000 businesses affected by the current seven-day lockdown.
It’s the first lockdown since JobKeeper was scaled back by the federal government, which means that many businesses and industries like hospitality and the arts will not have a steady income stream for a short time period. It’s also not known whether the lockdown will be extended, putting even more stress on those affected.
“This supports businesses who have been hardest hit by the circuit-breaker lockdown,” Victorian Acting Premier James Merlino said at a press conference on Sunday.
There are three components of the package, with $190.01 million going to the Business Costs Assistance Program, $40.7 million going to the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund and $20 million targeted support for the events industry.
Under the new scheme, $2,500 dollar grants will be eligible to businesses that can’t operate under the current circuit breaker lockdown, such as restaurants and cafes, event suppliers, accommodation venues and non-essential retailers.
Hospitality venues with a liquor license and food certificate will also be eligible for a $3,500 grant. While event operators will be allocated additional funds to compensate for losses incurred due to the new lockdown rules.
Speaking at the same press conference on Sunday, James Merlino and Treasurer Tim Pallas took aim at the federal government for not supporting Victorian workers enough.
“We asked multiple times [for] the federal government to support workers during this period, and the unrelenting answer has been no,” Merlino said.
“Victorian workers deserve more from the federal government, and I am beyond disappointed that the answer from the Prime Minister and from the Treasurer has been not to talk in further detail about the package.
“For the Prime Minister and the federal Treasurer to say ‘no’ is a disgrace and it should make every Victorian angry.”
Applications for these Business Support grants will open on Wednesday.