The NSW Government has announced a $1 billion economic support package for struggling NSW small businesses impacted by the latest COVID-19 outbreak.
Since the Omicron outbreak in December, many businesses have faced a slew of issues, including significant staff absenteeism, supply issues, and trade declines. The main issue for businesses was cash flow, and assistance is required to help them “get to the other side.”
Acknowledging the difficulty that business operators have faced, the NSW Treasurer Matt Kean has announced a package of measures to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19 over January and February 2022.
The NSW Treasurer said in a statement announcing the package, “household balance sheets are strong at the moment, when we get out of this wave, we expect a snapback and the economy will bounce back better on the other side of this.”
Small businesses have had a difficult few months, and the “comprehensive business package” would help them get through it according to him.
The package, which is aimed at businesses with less than $50 million in revenue and a 40% drop in revenue in January, also includes assistance in purchasing rapid antigen tests.
A total of $80 million will be allocated to the struggling performing arts sector to help with ticket sales.
Applications will be accepted beginning in mid-February.
Small Business Support Package
The NSW Small Business Support package provides eligible employing businesses with a lump sum payment of 20% of weekly payroll, up to a maximum of $5,000 per week for the month of February 2022. The minimum weekly payment for employers is $750 per week.
Eligible non-employing businesses will receive $500 per week (paid as a lump sum of $2,000).
To access the package, businesses must:
- Have an aggregated annual turnover between $75,000 and $50 million (inclusive) for the year ended 30 June 2021; and
- Experienced a decline in turnover of at least 40% due to Public Health Orders or the impact of COVID-19 during the month of January 2022 compared to January 2021 or January 2020; and
- Experienced a decline in turnover of 40% or more from 1 to 14 February 2022 compared to the same fortnight in either 2021 or 2020 (you must use the same comparison year utilised in the decline in turnover test for January); and
- Maintain their employee headcount from “the date of the announcement of the scheme” (30 January 2022).
The support package only covers the month of February 2022. Applications for support are expected to open mid-February.
Fees and charges rebate increased and extended to RAT tests
The NSW small business fees and charges rebate has been increased from $2,000 to $3,000. In addition, the rebate has been extended to cover up to 50% of the cost of Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) purchased by the business to protect staff and clients. The rebate for RAT tests will be available “by March” and is unlikely to cover RAT tests purchased prior to the funding coming online to prevent additional pressures on the RAT test supply chain.
The rebate is not a cash payment but a digital credit that businesses can draw down on to offset the cost of eligible NSW and local government fees and charges.
Note that there is an existing $5,000 small business Alfresco Restart rebate available for small and medium food and beverage businesses wanting to create or expand their outdoor dining area. Applications for this rebate are open until the end of April 2022 (or when the allocation is exhausted).
The fees and charges rebate is available to sole traders, small business, and not-for profits that have:
- Total Australian wages below the NSW Government 2020-21 payroll tax threshold ($1.2 million)
- An Australian Business Number (ABN) registered in NSW and/or have business premises physically located and operating in NSW.
Already registered businesses will receive an automatic top up of $1,000 and newly registering businesses will receive a rebate of $3,000. Only one rebate is available for each ABN.
Commercial landlord relief extended
The protections under the Retail and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19) Regulation 2021 for small retail and commercial tenants will be extended for an additional two months, until 13 March 2022. This regulation prohibits certain actions by landlords (such as lock out or eviction) unless they have first renegotiated rent with eligible tenants and attempted mediation.
The grant provides up to $3,000 per month (GST inclusive), per property, for eligible landlords who have provided rental waivers to affected tenants.
Rent waived must comprise at least half of any rental reduction provided. The remaining portion may be a rental deferral. The grant does not apply to rent deferrals.
Grants are paid as a lump sum amount for the rent waived.
NSW Performing Arts Package extended
The existing NSW Performing Arts COVID Support Package has been extended until April 2022.
To be eligible for funding, you must be one of the following:
- An eligible venue (list published by Create NSW)
- A producer of an eligible performance scheduled to perform at one of the eligible venues
- A promoter of an eligible performance scheduled to perform at one of the eligible venues.
There’s more to this story – contact Hemisphere Accounting to see if your company qualifies for this government assistance program. Book your initial call with us by clicking here.