The COVID Hardship Fund supports business owners in Victoria

The Victorian Government’s Small Business COVID Hardship Fund is now open, and will help up to 18,000 businesses that have been previously ineligible for business support programs, and have experienced at least a 70% reduction in turnover as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.

This fund will assist eligible small and medium businesses:

– Whose operations have been severely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions that have been in place between 27 May 2021 and August 2021

– That have experienced at least a 70% reduction in turnover as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions

– That are ineligible for other key COVID-19 Victorian Government business grant programs that have been announced since 27 May 2021.

The program offers grants of $14,000 to eligible small and medium businesses, including employing and non-employing businesses. This program will allow more businesses who have previously not received support, to receive financial relief now.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible, businesses must:

  • be located within Victoria
  • as a direct consequence of COVID-19 restrictions since 27 May 2021 have experienced a reduction in turnover of at least 70% for a minimum consecutive two-week period comparable to a benchmark period in 2019
  • have an annual Victorian payroll of up to $10 million in 2019-20 on an ungrouped basis
  • have been registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST) on and from 28 July 2021
  • hold an Australian Business Number (ABN) and have held that ABN on and from 28 July 2021
  • be registered with the responsible Federal or State regulator.
  • Employing businesses must also:
  • be registered with WorkSafe Victoria
  • attest that the business is supporting its workers to access any paid leave entitlements, or that if a person can work from home, to work from home during the COVID-19 restrictions, and supporting their casual workers, where possible.
  • Businesses should ensure that all relevant registrations are up to date before applying for a grant under this program.
  • Businesses that have received funding under any of the Victorian Government COVID-19 support packages launched on or after 27 May 2021 are not eligible for a grant under this program.
  • Businesses that have received assistance through the Business Support Fund, payroll tax rebate/waiver, or another COVID-19 program launched prior to 27 May 2021 may apply for assistance under this program.

How to apply:

Applications are open from Thursday 12 August 2021 until program funds are exhausted or 11:59 pm on Friday 10 September 2021, whichever is earlier.

Check that your details on the Australian Business Register website are correct prior to applying. Incorrect information may delay the assessment of your application.

You can choose to apply for this program in one of three ways:

A qualified agent to apply on your behalf and verify the 70% drop in business turnover as part of the application. The qualified agent needs to attest that they are authorised to apply on your behalf. We encourage you to get in contact with your contact at PTP to assist you in verifying your turnover decline.

Business owners who do not have access to a qualified agent can register their interest for the program. Applicants may receive an application form via email from the department. Applications received through this process may take up to 25 business days to process, due to the need for additional verification measures.