The existing business support package has been increased in Tasmania to $70 million for operators impacted by border closures.
The Tasmanian and Commonwealth governments have announced that the existing Business Support Package will be expanded from $20 million to $50 million.
Grants of up to $50,000 will be made available to eligible businesses based on annual turnover across two funding rounds in October and November, and will be jointly funded by the Tasmanian and Commonwealth governments.
Additionally, the Tasmanian government will provide around $20 million in financial relief for eligible businesses through waiving fees and charges such as payroll tax, vehicle registration, and passenger transport accreditation fees, and licence fees payable to Parks and Wildlife.
The governments had previously launched the jointly funded $20 million package in August, targeting businesses operating in tourism, hospitality, arts and events, seafood and transport (hire car and coach tours) sectors, as well as those that have been impacted directly by reduced interstate visitation.
Under the extended package, businesses that have already been deemed eligible for support through the initial $20 million package will automatically receive the next payment in line with the new maximum grant amounts.
Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein said that additional support also will include:
Commenting on the measures, Mr Gutwein said: “There is no doubt the current border restrictions are having a significant impact on many of our businesses that rely on interstate and overseas visitation and trade, and while the initial support package has been successful in providing relief, we know that more needs to be done.
“We have worked closely with the Federal Government and the industry in recent weeks to identify further assistance and this increase in funding, combined with our payroll tax and fees and charges relief, will significantly increase the financial support available to businesses and help them through this difficult time.”
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg also spoke about the extension of the grants, stating: “Tourism and hospitality businesses have done it particularly tough as Tasmania feels the impact of lockdowns in neighbouring states…
“But there is light at the end of the tunnel. By sticking to the National Plan, agreed to by State and Territory leaders, we can safely ease restrictions and open up our economy.
“And as we progress towards our vaccination’s targets of 70 to 80 per cent, the Morrison Government will continue to work closely with the Gutwein Government to support Tasmanian businesses through this challenging time.”
Queensland SMEs on NSW border to receive support
As well as the grants for SMEs in Tasmania, the Commonwealth and Queensland governments have announced an emergency support package worth $52.8 million for businesses impacted by border restrictions with NSW, and to provide targeted support to tourism and hospitality businesses facing significant hardship.
The joint federal-state package includes:
Employing businesses and non-employing sole traders within the border zone that were recipients of the COVID-19 Business Support Grants and had been significantly impacted by any possible extended border closure can apply for one-off hardship grants, which will be available from mid-October.
Speaking about the support package, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that the impact on Queensland businesses along the border with NSW has been “devastating”.
She added that businesses along the border region in the areas of Coolangatta, Currumbin - Tugun, and Currumbin Waters and the towns of Wallangarra, Goondiwindi and Mungindi will receive $14.5 million in border business zone support.
“It’s also vital that we encourage more Queenslanders to support businesses on the border - particularly in communities like Coolangatta,” she said.
“Through today’s package, we’ll also supporting local marketing campaigns, starting with the Essentially Cooly initiative.
Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Investment Cameron Dick said that businesses impacted by recent lockdowns had so far received $60 million under the existing 2021 COVID-19 Business Supports Grants package with the federal government.
“Now, we’re extending eligibility to include businesses along the border who’ve seen a reduction in turnover because of the New South Wales border closure,” he said.
“Today’s package will help businesses to stay afloat while border access is limited.”
Dan Tehan, the federal minister for trade, tourism, and investment, commented that it has been a difficult period for the Queensland tourism industry amid border closures and lockdowns restricting Australian and international visitors to travel.
He said: “This welcome support from the Australian and Queensland Governments will provide financial support to help ensure the industry is ready to rebound as our nation eases restrictions as our vaccination rates hit key milestones.”
The Queensland government recently announced a $47.75 million tourism and hospitality sector COVID-19 Lockdown Support Package, and a $20 million COVID-19 cleaning rebate for SMEs and not-for-profit organisations listed as an exposure venue by Queensland Health.
[Related: New SME COVID package launched in SA]
Malavika Santhebennur is the features editor on the mortgages titles at Momentum Media.
Before joining the team in 2019, Malavika held roles with Money Management and Benchmark Media. She has been writing about financial services for the past six years.
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