NSW Government announce new Covid business support package

On 30 January 2022, the NSW government announced a $1 billion support program for businesses impacted by the Omicron outbreak.

The initiative includes four new emergency measures including a $700 million package for small businesses, an expansion of small business fees and rebates, an extension of the commercial landlord grant and an $80 million package for the performing arts sector.

Small Business Support Program

Includes support for eligible businesses that:

  • had an aggregated annual turnover of between $75,000 and $50 million (inclusive) for the year ended 30 June 2021; and
  • experienced a decline in turnover of 40% or more due to Public Health Orders or the impacts of the Omicron COVID-19 strain during the month of January 2022, compared to January 2021 or January 2020; and
  • experienced a decline in turnover of 40% or more due to the impacts of the Omicron COVID-19 strain from 1-14 February 2022, compared to the same fortnight in February in the comparison year used for the above criterion; and
  • maintain their employee headcount from the date of the announcement of the scheme.

Eligible businesses will 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 for the month of February. Businesses will be able to apply through Service NSW from mid-February.

Small Business Fees, Charges and RAT Rebate

  • The rebate has been increased from $2,000 to $3,000. In addition, eligible employing small businesses will be able to use the rebate to cover half the cost of Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs).
  • The funds can be used not only to offset the cost of RATs, but also other Government fees and charges such as food authority licences, liquor licences, tradesperson licences, event fees, outdoor seating fees, council rates and road user tolls for business use.
  • Already registered businesses will receive an automatic top up of $1,000 and newly registering businesses will receive a rebate of $3,000.

Commercial Landlord Hardship Grant

  • The protections under the Retail and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19) Regulation 2021 (the Regulation) for small retail and commercial tenants will be extended for an additional two months, until 13 March 2022.
  • Grants of up to $3,000 per month (GST inclusive), per property, are available for eligible landlords who have provided rental relief waivers to affected tenants. Rent relief waived must comprise at least half of any rental reduction provided.
  • Program is expanded in 2022 to landlords who claimed the 2021 land tax relief.
  • The Regulation prohibits certain actions by landlords (such as lock out or eviction) unless they have first renegotiated rent with eligible tenants and attempted mediation.

While the size of the fund may increase if payments extend beyond February, the support plan is considerable smaller than those rolled out during earlier waves of the Covid-19 virus, including the $10 billion in relief during the Delta lockdown from both state and federal governments.

However, despite calls from Premier Dominic Perrottet for the federal government to split the cost of the package as it did in the Delta lockdown in 2021, the NSW government has been forced to fund the package itself after the calls were rejected by the federal government.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our team.

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