NSW extends COVID-19 support for SMEs
The NSW Government has recently announced new or extended COVID-19 support measures for small and medium businesses.
The 2022 Small Business Support Program
The new program is intended to help NSW businesses survive the immediate impact of the COVID Omicron variant wave. Eligible businesses with a turnover of between $75,000 and $50 million that experienced a minimum 40% decline in turnover in January 2022 (and the first fortnight of February 2022) can apply for support through this program.
Employing businesses will be eligible to receive 20% of weekly payroll as a lump sum for the month of February, with a minimum payment of $750 per week and a maximum payment of $5,000 per week. Non-employing businesses will receive $500 per week, paid as a lump sum of $2,000.
The 2022 Small Business Support Program is only for the month of February and businesses will be able to apply through Services NSW from mid-February. Further details on the eligibility rules will be issued shortly.
To be eligible for the program, there must be a decline in turnover due to either public health orders or the impact of the Omicron variant of more than 40% during both:
- The month of January 2022 (compared to January 2021 or 2020), and
- 1 – 14 February 2022, compared to the same fortnight in February in the comparison year which is used to test the January 2022 decline in turnover.
Further, employers must maintain employee headcount from 30 January 2022.
Small business fees and charges rebate
Eligible businesses or not-for-profits only need to apply for the rebate once, but can submit multiple claims until the full value of the rebate is reached. The funds can be used to offset the costs of eligible NSW and Local Government fees and charges due and paid from 1 March 2021. These include, but are not limited to:
- Food authority licences
- Liquor licences
- Tradesperson licences
- Event fees
- Outdoor seating fees
- Council rates
- Road user tolls for business use.
The rebate cannot be used for fines or penalties, fees and charges that have the key purpose of discouraging behaviours or inducing behaviour changes, Commonwealth Government charges, rent on government premises or taxes. However, the rebate can now be used to cover half the cost of Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT).
The rebate will be available until 30 June 2022.
To be eligible for this rebate, small businesses (including non-employing sole traders) and not-for-profit organisations must:
- Have total Australian wages below the NSW Government 2020–21 payroll tax threshold of $1.2 million
- Have an Australian Business Number (ABN) registered in NSW and/or have business premises physically located and operating in NSW.
Note: Only one $3,000 rebate is available for each ABN.
Alfresco Restart Rebate
Small or medium food and beverage businesses wanting to create or expand their outdoor dining area may be eligible for a rebate of up to $5,000 under the NSW Government’s Alfresco Restart Package. The rebate is available to the first 5,000 eligible small or medium food and beverage businesses that register.
There are 2 steps involved in the Alfresco Restart rebate:
1. Register for the rebate
- Businesses must first register to confirm their eligibility
- Registrations will close when 5,000 businesses have successfully registered.
2. Claim the rebate
- Businesses that have successfully registered can claim their rebate from late February 2022 for expenses incurred from 14 October 2021 to 30 April 2022
- Registered businesses will receive an email when the claims process opens
- Claims must be made by 30 April 2022.
To be eligible for the rebate, businesses must:
- Have an active ABN, held before 1 June 2021
- Have operating premises physically located in NSW
- Have an aggregated annual turnover less than $10 million (inclusive) for the year ended 30 June 2021
- Be a small or medium food and beverage business, defined by at least one of the following ANZSIC codes:
- 4511 Cafés and restaurants
- 4520 Pubs, taverns and bars
- 4530 Clubs (hospitality)
- 4400 Accommodation (limited to hotel and motel operation)
- 1212 Beer Manufacturing
- 1213 Spirit Manufacturing
- 1214 Wine and other Alcoholic Beverage Manufacturing
- Have incurred, or will incur, eligible costs and expenses for opening or expanding their outdoor dining areas from 14 October 2021 to 30 April 2022.
When claiming the rebate applicants must also, where applicable:
- Have development approval and approval to use the land from council, Place Management NSW or a private landholder
- Have approval for the liquor licence boundary changes.
Note: Only one application per ABN is allowed. The rebate can be used towards outdoor dining expenses at multiple business locations if eligibility criteria are met.
Commercial Landlord Hardship Grant
Small commercial or retail landlords may be eligible for a grant under the Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund if their main source of income is impacted due to providing rent relief to tenants financially impacted by COVID restrictions.
Grants of up to $3,000 per month (GST inclusive), per property, are available 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 will be paid as a lump sum amount for the rent waived from 1 August 2021 to 13 March 2022. This is an extension of the period which previously ended 14 November 2021. Applications close on 31 March 2022.
To be eligible for a Commercial Landlord Hardship Grant, applicants must:
- Be the landlord of a property in NSW
- Have an agreement to provide rental relief to tenants from 13 July 2021
- Have not claimed, or will not claim, land tax relief between 1 July 2021 and 31 December 2021
- Have total land holdings valued at $5 million or less as at 31 December 2020, excluding the value of their principal residence
- Have more than 50% of your total income derived from gross rental income for the 2019–20 or 2020–21 financial year
- Where they are a business, attest that providing rent relief to their tenants may cause them financial hardship because they:
- are at imminent risk of closure, or
- are unable to pay for operating expenses, including rent or employee-related expenses for employing business landlords, or
- may be forced to reduce employee headcount if they are an employing business landlord, and
- have not incurred excessive and non-essential business expenses, and
- have experienced a decline in revenue due to the impact of the NSW public health orders, and
- cannot rearrange finances or draw upon non-essential assets to continue operation
- Where the applicant is an individual or holds property on trust, they must attest to financial hardship if they:
- are unable to maintain their current standard of living for themselves or their immediate family, and
- have not incurred excessive and non-essential living expenses.
Performing Arts COVID Support Package
The Package will now be extended from an end date of 14 February 2022 to 30 April 2022.
The funding is to be provided to eligible performances staged between 19 September 2021 to 30 April 2022.
The funding amount per performance will be calculated using a formula of:
- Average ticket price multiplied by the number of tickets available for sale (capped at 10,000) and,
- A specified percentage (up to a maximum of $12.5 million).
To be eligible for funding, the applicant must be one of the following:
- An eligible venue
- 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.
Eligible venues have been identified through:
- Sector-wide consultation
- Review of online marketing material of venues, and
- Through assessment of tickets on sale through major ticket selling agencies (list published by Create NSW).
Eligible performances must be evidenced by:
- Marketing collateral (website, social media etc), and
- Have ticket sales managed through one of the eligible ticketing systems (list published by Create NSW).
How SW can assist
Many businesses have found the eligibility criteria difficult to navigate.
Our experts can guide you through the process and help you gather accepted relevant documentation to ensure your business gains the maximum benefits for these support measures.