COVID-19 business support information

Important information and resources

The impacts of COVID-19 on our economy and community have been significant.  Here are some resources that can support your business though this challenging time.

 

Current guidelines for business owners and proprietors

Last Step Restrictions - Victoria

The Victorian Government has announced the further easing of restrictions in Victoria from 11:59 pm on Sunday 22 November. The following is a high-level summary of some of the key changes for businesses. For more detail on these changes, please see the Summary of Last Step Restrictions or click on the specific Industry links below.

  • Hospitality sector changes 
    • For smaller hospitality venues, the density limit will change to one person for every two square metres – up to 50 customers indoors. QR code record keeping will be mandatory.
    • For bigger hospitality venues, the density limit will stay the same, but the cap will increase to 150 indoors. Total venue capacity (indoor and outdoor) will also rise to 300.
  • Cinemas, galleries and museums will be able to host up to 150 people indoors.
  • Organisers will be able to apply to host a public event. Different requirements and rules will need to apply, depending on whether it’s a school fete or a major sporting match.
  • Weddings will increase to 150 people. Funerals and religious ceremonies will increase to 150 people indoors.
  • Contact and non-contact sports can begin for adults as well as kids – 150 people indoors with a group size of up to 20 and 500 outdoors with groups of up to 50.

Please note, all patron numbers are subject to strict density limits. Updated information will be published on the sector guidance pages on the Coronavirus website. Record keeping and COVIDSafe Plans continue to apply to all businesses.

Masks will no longer be mandatory if outdoors and a safe distance can be kept, but Victorians will need to carry a mask at all times in case the situation changes. Masks still need to be worn when indoors and on public transport – and where distance cannot be kept.

From 30 November, a phased approach for workers heading back to the office will begin. Up to 25% of workers will be able to attend onsite. Importantly, unless you’re one of those people nominated by your employer – you need to keep working from home. The Victorian Public Service will remain under the setting “if you can work from home, you must work from home” to create space and capacity for the private sector.

The Victorian Government will provide a further update on restrictions on Sunday 6 December, for the next steps to move towards a COVIDSafe Summer.

Changes relevant to businesses can be found via the following links

Cafes and restaurants - Victoria - Last Step

Caregiving, pets and medical care - Victoria - Last Step

Community services - Victoria - Last Step

Entertainment and culture - Victoria - Last Step

Religion and ceremony - Victoria - Last Step

Shopping, retail and personal services - Victoria - Last Step

Sport and exercise - Victoria - Last Step

Travel - Victoria - Last Step

Work, study and volunteering - Victoria - Last Step

More information on current restrictions from the DHHS can be found here

Masks will no longer be mandatory if outdoors and a safe distance can be kept, but Victorians will need to carry a mask at all times in case the situation changes. Masks still need to be worn when indoors and on public transport – and where distance cannot be kept.

From 30 November, a phased approach for workers heading back to the office will begin. Up to 25% of workers will be able to attend onsite. Importantly, unless you’re one of those people nominated by your employer – you need to keep working from home. The Victorian Public Service will remain under the setting “if you can work from home, you must work from home” to create space and capacity for the private sector.

The Victorian Government will provide a further update on restrictions on Sunday 6 December, for the next steps to move towards a COVIDSafe Summer

COVIDSafe principles for business

  • The Victorian Government is working to ensure that every business owner in Victoria has a COVIDSafe Plan in place and understands their responsibilities to keep workers and customers safe.
  • Every Victorian business that is open must follow the six COVIDSafe principles to help prevent future outbreaks of coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • A COVIDSafe Plan template is available to help businesses plan and take action to prevent the introduction of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace.
  • New guidance, which includes Industry Restart Guidelines and Industry Restriction Levels, have been developed for some sectors to help them plan for a safe reopening

More information and fact sheets can be found here

Outdoor Dining

NILLUMBIK OUTDOOR DINING DIRECTORY 

The Third Step in Victoria's roadmap for reopening for Metropolitan Melbourne permits hospitality businesses such as restaurants, cafes and bars to reopen using limited indoor and outdoor dining spaces.  We encourage Nillumbik residents to support local businesses by visiting our local cafes and restaurants.
To include your business in the free outdoor dining directory, please complete this online form.

ENABLING OUTDOOR DINING

We are making it as easy as possible for traders to either start or expand their outdoor dining space, to support local hospitality businesses in the recovery from COVID-19.

This means that cafes and restaurants may be able to temporarily expand their dine-in options outside on public or private land.

To further support our local traders, there is no cost for this as we have waived all applicable fees and we will fast-track the application process.

Consent from Council is required for temporary outdoor dining for any of the following:

  • To introduce or expand your dining area onto the footpath
  • To take over an on-street car parking space immediately outside your business
  • To join with adjacent businesses to take over sections of footpaths, on-street car parking, or any Council space.
  • To conduct outdoor dining on private land outside the normal business operation.

Please see below the forms to complete for businesses to either apply for a footpath trading permit (for public land), or complete an Outdoor Trading Expression of Interest (for private land) a follow up will then take place with the business:

Apply for a footpath trading permit (for public land) here 

Complete an expression of interest for outdoor trading (for private land) here

If you have any further queries please contact business@nillumbik.vic.gov.au or call 9433 3128

More information including current guidelines for Cafes and Restaurants can be found at the Victorian Government's website here

Mobile Trading Permit Pilot Program - Applications now open

To support further opportunities for outdoor dining, we have launched a Mobile Trading Permit Pilot Program. 

Applications are now open for Nillumbik-based traders to operate mobile food businesses such as food trucks and coffee carts on Council land. Permits are limited, and conditions apply.

The pilot program will operate until 31 March. Applications are now open and will close on Wednesday 2 December

Apply here 

COVID-19 Outdoor Dining - New Planning Exemptions

On 14 September 2020, the Premier announced the Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package to support expanded outdoor eating as coronavirus restrictions are lifted.
 
To help facilitate the initiative, the Minister for Planning introduced new planning exemptions (in clause 52.18) that enable existing pubs, restaurants, cafes, wineries and other food and drink venues to:

  • use existing outdoor spaces, as well as nearby parks and public land, to accommodate and serve patrons without the need for a planning permit
  • better plan and use their own land to accommodate patrons while still adhering to distancing guidelines by overriding some conditions of existing planning permits.

The exemptions also cover the construction of temporary buildings, the provision of car parking, and the sale and consumption of liquor subject to meeting some conditions the address potential off-site amenity impacts and other safety matters. The exemptions will apply while Victoria remains under a State of Emergency, and for 12 months after the State of Emergency has been lifted.
 
If your business wishes to place furniture on Council controlled land, you will still require a permit from Council, however the process has been streamlined and permits are currently free of charge.
 
If you have any queries regarding this please contact business@nillumbik.vic.gov.au

Council support for registered businesses

In the last week of October all annual registration renewals for food and beauty business were mailed out to business owners.  As part of Council's commitment to supporting local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, registered businesses can apply to Council for support.  Businesses suffering financial hardship can request a registration fee reduction and/or payment instalments.
 
Businesses may be eligible to receive a 30 per cent reduction of the 2021 registration (including Streatrader fees).  Council are also enabling businesses to pay in two instalments instead of a lump sum.  The first instalment is to be made by 30 November 2020 and the second by 31 December 2020.
 
To apply for financial hardship support please refer to Councils Covid-19 Business Support page
 
If you have not yet received your registration renewal please contact Environmental Health on 9433 3340 or via email at health.services@nillumbik.vic.gov.au

COVIDSafe Plan for Business

The Victorian Government has released roadmaps for reopening for how we live and work in both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria, providing a long-term plan for our path out of restrictions and into COVID Normal.

As part of the plans to support businesses to safely reopen and get Victorians back to work, the Victorian Government has developed a COVIDSafe Plan template to reduce the risk of introduction and spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace. Every Victorian business that is open for on-site operations must download, complete and sign a COVIDSafe Plan

To ensure compliance, random spot checks are underway in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. If you own a business in a high-risk industry, you must have a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan.

High-risk industries include poultry processing facilities, abattoirs and meat processing facilities, seafood processing facilities, supermarkets, medical supply, pharmaceutical supply and personal protective equipment supply facilities, warehousing and distribution centres, construction sites, manufacturing facilities, and wholesale facilities.

FACT-SHEET_-Do-you-need-help-creating-a-COVIDSafe-Plan_Translator.pdf(PDF, 48KB)

FACT-SHEET_-What-to-do-if-a-worker-is-unwell.pdf(PDF, 55KB)

FACT-SHEET_-What-to-do-if-a-worker-test-positive.pdf(PDF, 55KB)

  

Victorian Budget 2020/21 - Support for Business

The Victorian Startup Capital Fund
A further $60.5 million has been allocated by the Victorian Government for a Fund of Funds – the Victorian Startup Capital Fund, leveraging up to $180 million in private sector investment. This will inject much needed early-stage funding into the start-up ecosystem supporting start-ups to become the scales and unicorns of the future.  More information here

Women's Angel Sidecar Fund
To increase the number of women founders, $10 million has been allocated to a Women’s founders Angel Sidecar Fund while unlocking a further $30 million in private sector equity.

Established by LaunchVic, the Fund will assist women founders to raise capital to grow their early-stage start-ups. More information here

The Venture Growth Fund
A major coup for start-ups and investors, is the $25.7 million Venture Debt Scheme – the Venture Growth Fund run by Invest Victoria that will inject late stage capital into the ecosystem. More information here 

R&D Cash Flow Loans
The R&D Cash Flow Loans initiative that will provide up to $50 million in low-interest loans to innovative businesses including start-ups that undertake research in Victoria.  More information here

For more information on what the Victorian Budget means for business click here  

Government financial support for business

Victorian Government financial support for business

The Victorian Government is investing $3 billion to help businesses impacted by ongoing restrictions and prepare for COVID Normal business.

$3 billion in cash grants, tax relief and cash flow support will be delivered to Victorian businesses that have been most affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. The package will help businesses survive and keep Victorians in jobs.

  • Licensed Hospitality Business ($251 million): The Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund provides grants of up to $30,000 for licensed pubs, clubs, hotels, bars, restaurants and reception centres, based on their venue capacity and location, plus liquor license fees waived until 2021.
  • Sole Trader Support Fund ($100 million): The Sole Trader Support Fund provides grants of $3,000 to over 30,000 eligible sole traders in sectors such as retail, accommodation and food services, creative and media, hairdressing, gyms, events, education and training who operate from a commercial premises or location as a tenant.
  • Alpine businesses ($4.3 million): Grants of up to $20,000 to help alpine businesses pay a service charge to Alpine Resort Management Boards
  • Business Chambers and Trader Groups ($3 million): Grants for Business Chambers and Trader Groups is a competitive grants program to support local business groups and chambers of commerce in helping their members adapt to COVID Normal.

Sole Trader Support Fund - deadline extended

Applications for the Sole Trader Support Fund are now open until 30 December to assist more sole trader businesses in specific industries with their transition to COVID Normal. Grants of $3000 are available to help with overhead costs.    

Visit the Business Victoria website for full eligibility criteria and information on how to apply.  Apply here
 

First Peoples' COVID-19 Business Support Fund

Applications are now open for the First Peoples’ COVID-19 Business Support Fund. Aboriginal businesses that have been affected by the pandemic, such as through temporary closure or trading restrictions, can apply for grants of up to $10,000 to help them get back on their feet.

To find out if you are eligible and how to apply, please visit the Business Victoria website. Applications are open until 29 January 2021 or until funds are exhausted, whichever is earlier. Apply here 

Record keeping for contact tracing

Wondering what your business must do to keep records for contact tracing?

This page contains record-keeping requirements for a COVIDSafe workplace, which businesses need to keep records, how long they should be kept and other important advice and information. Read more here

Backing Business Investment (BBI)

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% of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset's cost. Learn more about it here  

Small & Medium Enterprise (SME) Guarantee Scheme

This will provide businesses with funding to meet immediate cash flow needs, by further enhancing lenders' willingness and ability to provide credit. Businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million will be eligible to receive these loans. Learn more about the scheme here  

Tax support

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is providing relief for some tax obligations for businesses affected by the outbreak, on a case-by-case basis. More information can be found here  

COVID19 Manufacturer Response Register Portal

The Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC)'s portal for Australian manufacturing, component suppliers and skilled design, engineering and manufacturing experts enables manufacturers to register their interest and core competencies in support of the national response to COVID-19.  Click here for further information or to register.

Boosting Female Founders Initiative

Boosting Female Founders (BBF) aims to help female founders to access early stage capital to grow their start-ups in national and international markers. The program will provide grants between $25,000 and $400,000 on a co-contribution basis to successful applicants and run over 3 years. The start-up must be at least 50% women owned (equity or shares) and at least 50% of the founding team or senior managers must be women.
See the program guidelines for eligibility criteria, more information and how to submit your EOI here.

JobKeeper Wage Subsidy Announcement

Businesses significantly impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak will be able to access a subsidy from the Government to continue paying their employees through the JobKeeper payment. This assistance will help businesses to keep people in their jobs and re-start when the crisis is over.
More information can be found here 

Changes to retail leasing and what this means for Victorian tenants and landlords

Following changes under the Retail Leases Amendment Act 2020 that amend the Retail Leases Act 2003, a landlord can now pass on the costs of repairing and maintaining essential safety measures (ESM), and the costs of installing ESM as part of a fit-out, to their tenant as outgoings, though only where the tenant’s lease and disclosure statement or annual estimate of outgoings enables them to do so.

More information on other changes which have come into affect including Security deposits (bonds), Disclosure statements, Notification of option to renew, early rent review and cooling off can be found here 

FREE Business Resilience program

Australian Small Business Advisory Services Digital Solutions (ASBAS) have launched a program designed to assist Victorian small businesses affected by COVID-19. Support includes free access to virtual mentoring, online workshops, and resources.

Businesses will need to fit the following criteria to partake in this program:

  • Victorian For-Profit Business
  • Active ABN
  • Under 20 Employees

You can visit their mentor page and workshop page for more information, or email getsupport@melbourneinnovation.com.au for enquiries regarding the Business Resilience program. 

This Federal Government funded program is aimed at increasing the digital capabilities of Small Businesses in Australia. It accomplishes this by offering low cost, easy to understand workshops (including face to face when able), webinars, and advisory services directly to small business owners. 

Register here 

A full suite of free educational opportunities to assist businesses are available here

COVID-19 posters and signage for your business

Nillumbik Council branded Covid-19 posters are available for you to download and print to help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

 COVID-19-Local-business-support-posters-A4.pdf(PDF, 142KB)

Agribusinesses Supported to Adapt to Pandemic Conditions - Grants

More than 100 food businesses, farmers and suppliers across Victoria are keeping workers safe and supply chains going thanks to support from the Victorian Government, helping workplaces adapt to physical distancing and hygiene measures.

Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development Jaclyn Symes today visited Springhill Farm, a second-generation family-owned food manufacturer in Ballarat that makes delicious treats under their own brand and for clients under contract.

Springhill Farm’s grant of $132,000 has seen a new packing room and extra equipment installed to allow greater physical distancing between workers, as well as additional washbasins.

The funding through the Government’s Business Adaptation Grants program will also support the retraining of 30 employees in COVID-safe processes and the use of new equipment.

Another grant recipient, Western Plains Pork is a breeder and supplier of free-range pigs in the Grampians region. Western Plains Pork’s grant of almost $72,000 has gone towards new equipment, including touch-free washbasins, new wash bays to clean operational equipment and an automated industrial cleaning robot.

In Victoria’s east, dairy food manufacturer Village Dairy in Traralgon is receiving $76,000 to semi-automate the business’ cheese packing process to allow for greater physical distancing between employees.

The Business Adaptation Grants have been rolled out across Victoria as part of the Government’s Agriculture Workforce Plan, which is also providing grants for worker induction and re-training, and worker relocation and transport.

The Plan is supporting businesses within key agriculture and food processing industries through job-matching, case management, targeted industry skills development and initiatives to support Victorian producers connect into new markets.

Applications for Business Adaptation Grants have now been extended and are open until the end of 2020, to support Victorian agribusinesses through the summer harvest season. To find out more or to apply for a grant, visit agriculture.vic.gov.au/agworkforceplan.

 

Commercial tennancies relief scheme

The Victorian Government announced recently a commercial tenancy relief scheme to alleviate financial hardship faced by tenants and landlords as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19).

For commercial tenants and landlords, the scheme will provide:

  • A six-month moratorium on commercial tenancy evictions from 29 March 2020 for the non-payment of rent for small to medium enterprise with an annual turnover under $50 million that have experienced a minimum 30 per cent reduction in turnover due to COVID-19
  • Freeze on rent increases during the moratorium for commercial tenants
  • A rental payment waiver or deferral proportionate to commercial tenants' income reduction due to COVID-19, to be negotiated between tenant and landlord
  • A mediation service for commercial tenants and landlords to support fair tenancy negotiations

The Victorian Government will also provide land tax relief to commercial landlords that provide rent relief to their tenants, provided:

  • The tenant's annual turnover doesn't exceed $50 million
  • Is an eligible business in the Commonwealth's JobKeeper program
  • Is suffering financial stress or hardship as a result of the pandemic

The Victorian Government will also provide land tax relief to residential landlords who provide rent relief to eligible tenants. 

 More Information can be found here 

Business and Tourism Associations

The following business and tourism associations are independent groups of businesses who work together to represent and achieve the needs of local traders and the wider business community.

Council works in partnership with three traders association within the Shire which are run by trader committees.

These committees organise marketing campaigns, events and activities which benefit the interests of local traders, and are accountable to its members. 

Nillumbik Tourism and Business

Nillumbik Tourism and Business is a regional organisation for local business providing networking, professional development and advocacy.

President Richard Dovile
0419 178 275
rdoville@bigpond.net.au
info@ntb.org.au
www.ntb.org.au

Hurstbridge Traders Association

President Ian Mason

0418 597 176

ian@mwmrealestate.com.au 

www.hurstbridgevillage.com.au

Diamond Creek Traders Association

President Claire Nolle
Vice President Paige O'Connor

Marketing Coordinator Anna Henderson & Yvette Standfield
0417 580 009

secretary@diamondcreekshopping.com.au

www.diamondcreekshopping.com.au

Eltham Chamber of Commerce and Industry

President Michael Williams
(03) 9439 7568

thompsonsmc@gmail.com

www.elthamtown.com/

Economic Development Advisory Committee

The Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) provides a formal mechanism for Council to consult with key stakeholders to seek specialist advice on economic development issues, initiatives, policies and strategies. More information here.

Other resources and useful links

Support and relief from service providers

Momentum EnergyOrigin EnergyAGL and Vodaphone are just a few examples of service providers who are offering relief to customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact your service providers directly to find out if they are offering any form of relief or support for business at this time. 

Mental Health Support

If you know of anyone that you are concerned about in relation to their mental wellbeing, some of the supporting groups are:

  • Salvation Army (Disasters and emergnecy support) - phone 1300 662 217
  • Lifeline (Mental health and wellbeing) - phone 13 11 14
  • Beyondblue (Mental health and wellbeing) - phone 1300 224 636
  • Headspace (Youth mental health and wellbeing) - phone 1800 650 890
State and Federal Government initiatives

Information on assistance packages that your business may be eligible for can be found here

Reduce your Risk of Coronavirus

Click here to learn simple steps to reducing your risk of Coronavirus 

More links 

Coronovarius-and-the-meat-industry-Covid-19.pdf(PDF, 182KB)

 (PDF, 182KB)Covid-19-Fact-Sheet-Abattoir-and-Poultry-Processing-Facilities.pdf(PDF, 154KB)

Covid-19-Fact-Sheet-Abattoir-and-Poultry-Processing-Facilities_1.pdf(PDF, 154KB)

How-to-clean-and-disinfect-after-Covid-19-case-in-the-workplace-2.pdf(PDF, 176KB)

How-to-clean-and-disinfect-after-Covid-19-case-in-the-workplace.pdf(PDF, 161KB)

 How-to-dispose-of-PPE-from-householes.pdf(PDF, 316KB)

Looking-after-your-mental-health-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic.pdf(PDF, 93KB)


COVID-19 Quick Response Grants for Local Business (Now Closed)

Due to an overwhelming response, we will not be accepting any more submissions at this time. Successful applicants were notified on the 01st of August.
Please connect with our newsletter and join our Business in Nillumbik Facebook group to stay informed of any further grant opportunities https://vic.us4.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=7d2eefdc78b8e3dec7d35a12c&id=228e3f7f9c