Home » Blog » Government support for small businesses in lockdown

Government support for small businesses in lockdown

Australian, state and territory governments are continuing some longer-term support for small businesses, and introducing new measures to help businesses impacted by recent lockdowns.

At a glance

  • Most support packages require a business to be registered for GST and have an ABN.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy as at the time of publication, but support packages and eligibility criteria are likely to change. Information on this page may not be complete or may have changed.
  • Check eligibility requirements on your state or territory government’s website, or search for your state on the Federal Government’s Business site.
  • This is a summary for general information only, none of the material is or should be regarded as advice of any kind.

With some cities and towns back in lockdown, some borders closed, and most of the country on high alert, support for small business recovery is in high demand.  

Small businesses are, as Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in his Budget announcement, the ‘engine room’ of our economy. Small businesses are also central to every community, and their recovery and success is good for those communities. 

We have collected information regarding some of the main packages available in each state and territory below, and guides to help you understand which businesses may be eligible.  

Along with checking out our guide below, it’s also important to check your eligibility on your state or territory government’s website, or search for your state on the Federal Government’s Business Support website to ensure you’re working with the most up-to-date information.

Support in NSW

COVID-19 Business Grants

A one-off payment of $7,500 to $15,000 may help businesses that were impacted in the first three weeks of the Greater Sydney lockdown – 26 June to 17 July 2021. The amount a business is eligible to receive will depend on its decline in turnover:  

  • Tier 1: $7,500 for a decline of 30% or more 
  • Tier 2: $10,500 for a decline of 50% or more 
  • Tier 3: $15,000 for a decline of 70% or more 

The grant is for businesses that have an annual turnover above $75,000 and a payroll up to $10 million. The decline must be shown by comparing an equivalent two-week period from June and/or July 2019 with the lockdown period of 2021. Application close 13 September 2021. 

COVID-19 Micro Business Grants 

The NSW Government announced an expansion to its small business support package that applies to small businesses with a turnover between $30,000 and $75,000.  

If a ‘micro business’ can demonstrate a 30% reduction in turnover, it may be eligible to receive the $750 per week grant, so long as the business is the primary income source for a person associated with the business.  

Find out more from Service NSW. 

 Payroll tax deferrals 

Any business paying payroll tax can choose to defer payments on the 2020-21 annual reconciliation return and wages paid in July and August. Interest-free repayment plans for up to 12 months will be available. 

Payroll tax concessions

If your business revenue in an equivalent two-week period in 2019 as compared to 2021 declined by 30%, and your business pays wages of between $1.2 million and $10 million, it may be eligible for a 25% payroll tax waiver for the 2021-2022 financial year.  

Businesses in commercial or retail premises

Landlords cannot lock out or evict business tenants impacted by the lockdown without first going to mediation. Impacted tenants are protected by the Small Business Commissioner and encouraged to negotiate with landlords to reduce or defer rent payments. 

Accommodation and creative arts

Financial support will be available for eligible tourism accommodation providers that have lost business between 25 June and 11 July due to lockdown measures. Amounts will be based on the number of cancelled ‘room nights’ as follows: 

  • $2,000 for up to 10 room nights 
  • $5,000 for 11 or more room nights  

Not-for-profits, as well as some commercial theatres and music venues, may be eligible to receive financial assistance to help meet costs for scheduled productions and assist with rescheduling once restrictions ease.  

The NSW Government website has full details of its COVID-19 Support Package. 

Support program Annual turnover Eligibility Demonstrated decline Amount
COVID-19 Business Grants $75,000+ Payroll up to $10 million 30%+ for specified dates $7,500 one off
COVID-19 Business Grants $75,000+ Payroll up to $10 million 50%+ for specified dates $10,500 one off
COVID-19 Business Grants $75,000+ Payroll up to $10 million 70%+ for specified dates $15,000 one off
COVID-19 Micro Business Grants  $30,000 to $75,000  Must be primary income source 30% for specified dates $750 per week during lockdown

Support in Victoria 

Top-Up Payment

The July 2021 Top-Up Payment provides further support to eligible small and medium businesses in sectors impacted by the current restrictions.  

Previous recipients of the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two will receive an additional $2,000, and successful recipients of the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 will receive an additional $3,000. These payments will be processed automatically in July 2021.

Support program Annual turnover Eligibility Demonstrated decline Amount
Top-Up Payment  n/a  Automatic for previous recipients of the Business Costs Assistance Program Round 2  n/a  $2,000 one off 
Top-Up Payment  n/a  Automatic for previous recipients of the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021  n/a  $3,000 one off 

Find out more on the Business Victoria website. 

Support in SA

Business Support Grant

Small and medium businesses impacted by the lockdown may be eligible for a $3,000 cash grant to cover ongoing operating costs.  

A $1,000 cash grant is also available for eligible small businesses that don’t employ staff, e.g. sole traders. 

To be eligible for the emergency grants, a business must, as at Tuesday 20 July 2021, have an annual turnover of at least $75,000 in 2020-21 or 2019-20, a payroll of less than $10 million in 2019-20, employ people in South Australia (unless applying for the $1,000 cash grant for non-employers) and be able to demonstrate at least a 30% reduction in turnover compared to the previous week due to lockdown restrictions.  

Find out more on the Business South Australia website. 

Fee and tax relief, training and apprenticeship support 

Eligible South Australian liquor license holders can apply to have their 2020-21 fees waived for a variety of categories and other eligible venues can take up free short-term licences to sell alcohol for takeaway or delivery with meals. 

Infection control training is available to South Australian customer-facing businesses across sectors including hospitality, aged care, retail and tourism to help businesses with COVID cleaning standards.  

Various initiatives with funding between $1500 and $5200 are available to eligible businesses that employ apprentices or trainees to help continue training them.  

A variety of payroll and land tax deferrals and waivers are available to eligible South Australian businesses impacted by COVID, mostly in relation to 2020 payment periods.

Support program Annual turnover Eligibility Demonstrated decline Amount
Business Support Grant  $75,000+   Payroll of less than $10m, employ people in SA  30% compared to week before lockdown started  $3,000 
Business Support Grant  $75,000+   No employees  30% compared to week before lockdown started  $1,000 

Find out more about COVID assistance available in SA. 

Support in WA

Small Business Lockdown Assistance Grants

Eligible small businesses impacted by the Perth and Peel lockdown in June 2021 can apply for a $3,000 grant to help offset costs associated with loss of perishable goods and bookings.  

Eligible businesses must have had an annual turnover of $75,000 or more and a payroll of less than $4 million in the 2019-2020 financial year, and must demonstrate a primary business activity that fits into one of the designated industry categories. 

Support program Annual turnover Eligibility Demonstrated decline Amount
Small Business Lockdown Assistance Grants  $75,000+  See below   n/a $3,000 one off 

Eligibility for assistance in WA is complex, with criteria including turnover, payroll, location and industry – consult the WA Government’s Small Business Development Corporation. 

Support in Qld 

2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grants

Grants of $5,000 may assist small and medium businesses in Queensland affected by the COVID-19 lockdown that started 31 July 2021 or by interstate lockdowns. The grants are aimed at supporting cash flow used for business expenses. 

Small and medium businesses must have an annual turnover of more than $75,000, annual payroll in Queensland up to $10 million, and have experienced at least a 30% turnover decline. 

Applications for this will open in mid-August, and applications will be processed in the order they are received. Find out more here and check when applications are open.

Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grant Program

Grants of between $2,000 and $10,000 are available to eligible regional Queensland small or micro businesses that have been highly impacted by shutdown restrictions. The grants are aimed at helping businesses adapt to new conditions, respond to opportunities, upskill staff and build resilience for longer-term growth.  

Eligibility requirements include being able to demonstrate your revenue has declined by at least 30% since 23 March 2020 due to COVID-19, employing fewer than 20 employees, having an annual turnover of more than $75,000 for the last financial year and payroll of less than $1.3 million. 

Relief for tourism operators

Fees and charges relief is being offered to eligible tourism and hospitality operators including waiving some licensing permit and application fees, and park permit assessment fees. 

The Queensland government has also introduced a state land rent waiver for tourism operators impacted by COVID-19. This includes a refund of rent for the first quarter of 2020 if already paid by eligible businesses.  

Small Business Skills Hub Qld

The Small Business Skills Hub is offering free online training and learning opportunities for small businesses with fewer than 20 employees which have been impacted by COVID-19 to assist with recovery.

Support program Annual turnover Eligibility Demonstrated decline Amount
2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grants  $75,000+  Qld payroll under $10m  30% during the lockdown that commenced 31 July 2021  $5,000 
Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grant Program  $75,000+  Regional small or micro business, fewer than 20 employees, payroll of less than $1.3m  30% for specified dates  $2,000 to $10,000 one off 

Use Business Queensland’s interactive Coronavirus (COVID-19) business assistance finder to check your eligibility for the range of fee waivers, grants and subsidies available in the sunshine state. 

Support in NT

Territory Business Lockdown Payment Program

An extended closure payment of $1,000 for eligible businesses impacted by the recent lockdown in NT was announced on 8 July 2021 and applications closed on 16 July 2021.  

The NT Government states that ‘the program will start as from the issue of a direction by the chief health officer for the NT that a lockdown is in place’, suggesting that should the NT face restrictions again, applications may reopen. 

Find out more from the NT Government.

Small Business Survival Payment NT 

The Survival Payment is to help small businesses come back from the impacts of COVID. Eligible businesses must have a turnover of at least $75,000 but less than $10 million and be able to demonstrate a minimum 50% decline in turnover experienced in October 2020 compared to October 2019. Amounts of between $2,000 and $10,000 are available to eligible businesses. Applications will remain open until funds have been exhausted.  

Learn more details on the Small Business Survival Payment in NT.

Support program Annual turnover Eligibility Demonstrated decline Amount
Territory Business Lockdown Payment Program extended closure payment  $75,000 to $10m  Less than 20 FT employees   Businesses impacted by recent lockdown  $1,000 
Small Business Survival Payment  $75,000 to $10m  50% for specified dates  $2,000 to $10,000 

Support in Tasmania 

Business Loan Growth Scheme 

The Growth Scheme is to support eligible businesses to adapt and develop enhanced business models or new projects that contribute to employment and economic recovery. 

Loans from $20,000 to $3 million are available to eligible businesses that have a turnover of less than $10 million across the last two financial years and can demonstrate a history of profitability pre-COVID-19 or can demonstrate sound prospects for a new venture. 

Tax & registration relief measures

Eligible Tasmanian businesses can potentially take advantage of a variety of payroll and land tax waivers and rebates, and apply to save or waive fees on business vehicle registrations.  

Support program Annual turnover Eligibility Demonstrated decline Amount
Business Loan Growth Scheme  Less than $10 million across that last two financial years  History of profitability, prospects for a new venture  n/a Loans from $20,000 to $3 million 

Find out more details on support available in Tasmania. 

Support in the ACT 

Economic Survival Package 

A variety of support measures are available to help ACT businesses recover from the impacts of COVID-19, including access to one-on-one tailored business advice, waivers for assorted licensing and registration fees and payroll tax deferrals.  

You can find out more about these measure on the ACT Economic Survival Package site. 

National live music venue support 

Live Music Australia is providing up to $100,000 in funding to eligible small to medium venues across Australia as part of the Government’s four-year, $20 million package.  

Applications for the current round of funding close 9 August 2021. Find out more from the Australian Government Office for the Arts. 

Check your state’s eligibility requirements on your state or territory government’s website, or search for your state on the Federal Government’s Business site. This is a summary for general information only, none of the material is or should be regarded as advice of any kind.

Find out how partnering with Prospa can benefit your business, call us today on 1300 964 808 or email [email protected]. Apply to be a Prospa accredited partner here. Log in to the Prospa Partner Portal here.

Primary CTA illustration
You believe business loans should be simple. We believe it too. That's why we offer a hassle-free approach to business loans with funding possible in 24 hours.
Apply today
Primary CTA icon
You believe business loans should be simple. We believe it too. That's why we offer a hassle-free approach to business loans with funding possible in 24 hours.

The information in this post is provided for general information only and does not take into account your personal situation. Nothing contained in this post constitutes advice or an endorsement or recommendation of any kind by Prospa. Any links to third party websites are strictly for informational purposes only. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from financial, legal and taxation advisors. Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of the information as at the date of publication, Prospa, its officers, employees and agents disclaim all liability (except for any liability which by law cannot be excluded), for any error, inaccuracy, or omission from the information for any reason, including due to the passage of time, or any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.

Keep reading

Small business government support: a state-by-state guide

27 July 2021 | 10 min read

We have summarised some helpful information on the Government small business support packages designed to help businesses impacted by the recent lockdowns.

View more

eBook: How to nail the pricing of your products

02 August 2020 | 2 min read

Few things are as important to business profitability as setting the right price for your products. Learn the key pricing strategies you need to know.

View more

eBook: How to nail the pricing of your services

02 August 2020 | 2 min read

Are your prices right? Here’s what you need to know about setting your pricing strategy.

View more

Subscribe to the Prospa Blog

Be inspired! Sign up to Prospa’s newsletter to receive tips, tools and small business success stories straight to your inbox.