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What support is the NSW government offering for small businesses? [Updated January 2022]

The NSW Government has announced financial support for small businesses impacted by Covid-19.
Published 29 Jun 2021
Updated 21 Nov 2022
8 min read
What support is the NSW government offering for small businesses? [Updated October 2021]

Update 31 January, 2022:

NSW government announces small business support package amongst Omicron wave

The NSW government has announced a new package of small business support as pressure for business intensifies under the Omicron wave.

Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) across the country have been struggling since the new Covid-19 strain took off in December. As cases have peaked, many businesses have been doing it tough over the ‘shadow lockdown’. In addition to supply chain issues and staffing concerns; it’s been a rough start to the year for many.

Without widespread public health orders, however, there hasn’t been an instant support response for businesses or affected individuals.

NSW Treasurer Matt Kean acknowledged this hardship, suggesting that the package could give them the boost they need to survive as the Omicron wave slows, with the cash directed towards, “those parts of the economy that are really struggling”.

How much is the support package worth?

The entire package is worth $1billion and will be distributed in different ways across the economy.

About $80million of the total package will be allocated to the performing arts sector, which has been significantly impacted due to restrictions and slow ticket sales as a result of the ‘shadow lockdown’.

How will businesses receive the package?

Eligible businesses will be able to access payroll support to keep staff jobs secure. Payments will cover 20% of weekly payroll, up to $5,000 per week – with some media outlets labelling the scheme as ‘Jobsaver 2.0’. Businesses will not have this percentage of payroll costs covered for the January period. The payment, instead, will cover February and be paid in a lump sum.

The government will also be expanding the Small Business Fees and Charges Rebate, revising the previous limit of $2,000 to $3,000. Businesses will also be able to claim the cost of Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) as part of this rebate.

For the arts sector, support dollars will underwrite ticket sales for struggling organisations.

Which NSW businesses are eligible for support?

During the Sunday announcement, Mr Kean highlighted some businesses that may need this support immediately; “Those businesses that ply their trade through face-to-face trading, things like hairdressers, nail salons, the tourist industry and also hospitality and bricks and mortar retail.”

Eligibility criteria currently target businesses with a turnover of less than $50million, who have experienced at least a 40% decline in turnover in January. There may be more eligibility criteria to come.

When can NSW businesses apply for support from the package?

Applications for the support package will open in mid-February. We recommend watching the service.nsw.gov.au site for updates on when and how to apply.

Will there also be federal government support?

At this point, there has been no announcement about federal government support – which is fuelling some controversy. Premier Dominic Perrotet requested that the Commonwealth split the cost of the package, but this request was refused.

“I was hoping to make this announcement standing beside the Prime Minister today and the Treasurer Frydenberg, but they’re not to be found,” said Mr Kean.

“These are not just New South Wales businesses, they’re Australian businesses, Australians that pay their taxes to the Commonwealth government. So what we want to see is rather than the Commonwealth government stepping aside we want to see the Commonwealth government stepping in.”

When is the ‘shadow lockdown’ due to end?

This one is quite hard to measure, but it’s a good indication that we seem to have passed the Omicron peak. Cases in all states apart from WA have begun to plateau, and hospitalisations have also started to stabilise.

The changes to consumer behaviour are still up in the air. It may take several months for people to comfortably move through the community again, and this will likely be much longer for immunocompromised people and their families.

There are also still many travel limitations for incoming tourists. While students and those on working visas are now welcome to the country, the border remains mostly closed to travellers. As domestic tourism flattens after summer, it could be a rocky few months for tourism operators yet.

Supporting your team through Omicron

It’s ok to acknowledge that 2022 is so far not the easy ride we had all hoped it would be. We hope that if your business is struggling, these newly announced supports can help.

Whatever challenges your business is facing, we have plenty of tips to help you support your team through this strange time. Find more information about your team and Omicron, or check out our guide to helping your team tackle pandemic fatigue.

As always, our Covid-19 Resource Hub is always here for you with helpful tools and information so that we can get through this latest round of challenges together.

Disclaimer: While due care has been taken in preparing the document, no responsibility is accepted by the author for the accuracy or suitability of the information contained. All liability is expressly disclaimed for any loss or damage which may arise from any person relying on, using or acting on any information contained therein.

Are you located in another state? Here are the government support packages in other states:

Previous NSW government support updates

Update 13 October, 2021:

The NSW government has announced additional financial support for small businesses to help them recover and reopen confidently after lockdown. This is part of the Economic Recovery Strategy for NSW businesses and is an expansion of the existing Small Business Fees and Charges Rebate

The newly announced Summer Holiday Stock Guarantee allows eligible businesses who have an annual turnover between $75,000 and $50 million to apply for the grant. This grant is designed to compensate businesses for a loss of perishable stock if a lockdown was to occur. 

The grant value is up to $20,000, with the intention to support non-essential businesses if a lockdown were to occur between December 1 2021 and January 31 2022 due to public health orders. 

“We want businesses to have the confidence to get out and spend and invest in their business ahead of the busy Christmas trading period. We expect the summer will be a bumper time for businesses as the people of NSW emerge from lockdown and look to support their local, and we want business owners to know we have their back.” – Treasurer Matt Kean 

The Small Business Fees and Charges Rebate will be available for eligible businesses up until 30 June 2022. 

Premier Dominic Perrottet announced this to give businesses the opportunity to get ready for post-lockdown, giving them the confidence to “buy up big and get ready for a major summer trade”.

For tradespeople, Perrottet also announced an increase to the Small Business Fees and Charges Rebate. Previously at $1500, this will be increased to $2000 and now includes the cost of tolls. This will be available for eligible businesses until 30 June 2022. 

View the full statement here.

Update 13 July, 2021:

  • Eligible small and medium businesses will receive 40% off their NSW payroll payments; up to $10,00 per week.
  • To apply, businesses must have a recorded turnover 30% lower than an equivalent period in 2019, an annual turnover between $75,000 and $15mil, and have maintained their staffing levels as of July 13.
  • For workers, the weekly Covid-19 Disaster Payments will be increased to $600 if a person has lost 20 hours or more of work and $375 if a person has lost between 8 and 20 hours.

Learn more at service.nsw.gov.au

Small businesses across NSW, especially those located in Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong, have been feeling the strain of the most recent Covid-19 lockdown, enforced on Saturday 26 June. At this stage, the lockdown is due to run for one fortnight, ending at 11:59pm on Friday 9 July. During this time, residents of lockdown zones are only permitted to leave the house for essential reasons. To assist small businesses across the state doing it tough during this time, the NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has announced several areas of financial relief for those impacted. Let’s unpack the latest announcements, including what small business grants your business may be eligible for and how you can support your staff during this stressful time.

What are the NSW Covid-19 small business grants?

Thousands of small businesses across NSW will be eligible to access a government relief package between $5000 to $10,000. The grant can be used for expenses such as rent, utilities and wages. Payments will become available by 19 July 2021.

Who can receive a $10,000 small business grant?

Small businesses that have experienced a 70% reduction in turnover may be eligible for the $10,000 grant. Businesses that have experienced a 50% reduction can access $7,000, and those that have experienced a 30% reduction can access $5,000.

Is my business eligible for the NSW Covid-19 small business grants?

A small business, sole trader or not-for-profit organisation can access the grants if they meet the eligibility criteria:

  • Less than 20 full-time staff
  • A turnover of more than $75,000 but are below the payroll tax threshold of $1.2 million
  • Have an Australian Business Number (ABN) registered in NSW, or be able to prove they are physically located and primarily operating in NSW
  • An accountant statement that confirms a loss in revenue for the lockdown period compared to the same period in 2019

There are different eligibility criteria for the tourism and hospitality sector:

  • A turnover of more than $75,000 and an annual wages expense of below $10 million
  • Must have an Australian Business Number (ABN) registered in NSW, or be able to prove they are physically located and primarily operating in NSW
  • An accountant statement that confirms a loss in revenue for the time period compared to the same period in 2019

More details about eligibility criteria and details on how to apply will be available on the Service NSW website in the coming days.

Payroll tax deferrals

For employers, there will also be an option to defer payroll tax payments due in July 2021. Hotel and club operators will also have the option to defer gaming machine tax for the June quarter. The Chief Commissioner of State Revenue will be able to provide for appropriate repayment arrangements on a case-by-case basis. More information to be announced soon.

Extension of the Dine and Discover program

The Dine & Discover program has been extended one month from the previous July 31 deadline. Now, the Dine and Discover program will be available for use up until 31 August, 2021. The four $25 vouchers for NSW residents can be spent in hospitality, arts and recreation venues. During the lockdown, the vouchers can be used for takeaway food at eligible businesses, as long as customers use Covid-19 QR codes to check into businesses when picking food up.

What government support is available for casual workers?

The federal government also announced the Covid-19 Disaster Payment support package for NSW casual staff, with payments available from 1 July, 2021. To learn more and apply, workers must visit servicesaustralia.gov.au.

Which casual workers are eligible for NSW government support payments?

Casual workers that are located in a lockdown zone may be eligible for the weekly support payment. To receive $500, workers must work more than 20 hours a week when not locked down. Workers who work fewer than 20 hours a week will receive $325. To be eligible, workers must also meet these additional requirements;

  • They must be an Australian resident or hold an eligible working visa
  • They must be 17 years or older
  • They must not already receive an income support payment, the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment, a state or territory pandemic payment or a state small business payment for the same period
  • They must live or work in a Commonwealth-declared Covid-19 hotspot
  • They must have had paid employment prior to the stay-at-home orders, and because of the lockdown they can’t attend work on or after day 8 of the lockdown
  • They’ve lost income on or after day 8 of lockdown and don’t have any appropriate paid leave entitlements
  • They have liquid assets of less than $10,000

Looking for more resources? Here are some helpful templates you can use for your business during COVID:

Disclaimer: The information in this article is relevant as at 31 January 2022, and has been prepared by Employment Hero Pty Ltd ABN (11 160 047 709) (Employment Hero). The views expressed herein are general information only and are provided in good faith to assist employers and their employees. The Information is based on data supplied by third parties. While such data is believed to be accurate, it has not been independently verified and no warranties are given that it is complete, accurate, up to date or fit for the purpose for which it is required. Employment Hero does not accept responsibility for any inaccuracy in such data and is not liable for any loss or damages arising either directly or indirectly as a result of reliance on, use of or inability to use any information provided in this article.

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