Money for business hit for six by lockdown

The Victorian and federal governments will fund another $400 million support package for businesses.
The Victorian and federal governments will fund another $400 million support package for businesses.

The Victorian and federal governments will fund another $400 million support package for businesses hit by the state's sixth lockdown.

Victoria went into a seven-day hard lockdown on Thursday, with non-essential businesses again forced to close.

The rescue package includes money for workers missing hours of work, money for licensed venues, automatic payments for small businesses and those in the alpine regions, and a hardship fund for firms that have missed out on other support.

Victorian Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula said hospitality venues would have been caught short by the suddenness of the latest lockdown.

"These lockdowns are very hard, they are very upsetting.... they are very hard for people to cope with," he told reporters on Friday.

He said the handouts had only been possible due to Commonwealth backing.

"We are very grateful for that support, it means that this package can be in the vicinity of $400 million for a seven day lockdown, which is above and beyond what we have been able to do in the past," he told reporters on Friday.

As part of the package, the state government will hand out $2800 automatic payments to almost 100,000 small and medium businesses, including sole traders.

That's expected to cover gyms, cafes, restaurants, caterers, hairdressers, dance and swim schools, tourism and event businesses and comes at a cost of $266 million.

Automatic payments of $5000 to $20,000 will be made to almost 9000 licensed venues that were eligible for funding during the June and July lockdowns.

The payments will be staged according to venue capacity, and come at a total cost of $69 million.

Alpine businesses will receive $20,000 if they employ people "on mountain" while those in the region will receive $5000 in a package worth $11 million.

Small businesses that have seen a 70 per cent reduction in turnover and have missed out on other assistance will receive grants of up to $8000, funded through another $54 million poured into the Small Business COVID Hardship Fund.

Workers who lose hours of employment, and businesses that are not registered for GST, will be able to access the Commonwealth's COVID-19 Disaster Payment.

The state government has already spent $950 million on business support grants since June, part of more than $7 billion in direct business support since the start of the pandemic.

A $400 million federal-state business support package was also announced last week.

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in a joint statement that the Commonwealth had provided more than $45 billion in pandemic support to Victorian families and businesses.

Victoria is approaching 200 days under lockdown restrictions.

Australian Associated Press