The NSW Government has introduced a new grants package and changes to the Dine & Discover program to help small businesses impacted by the current lockdown.

The changes to the Dine & Discover program see it extended to 31 August and also enables people to use the vouchers for takeaway delivered directly to their home by the venue itself.

In addition the Government announced grants of between $5,000 and $10,000 for small businesses, payroll tax deferrals for all employers.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the centrepiece of the package was the small business support grants which will help businesses by alleviating cashflow constraints while trading is restricted. This can be used for business expenses such as rent, utilities and wages, for which no other government support is available.

“We always said we will do whatever it takes to support businesses and keep people in jobs during the pandemic and that is exactly what we are doing,” the Premier said.

“The current restrictions are in place to protect people and keep the community safe, unfortunately businesses continue to incur costs such as rent, power and lost produce, and this will go some way to lessening that financial pain.”

Three different grant amounts will be available for small businesses depending on the decline in turnover experienced during the restrictions – $10,000 for a 70 per cent decline, $7,000 for a 50 per cent decline and $5,000 for a 30 per cent decline.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the new grants would be available across NSW.

“This latest outbreak has coincided with school holidays when a lot of regional areas were counting on more visitors to help boost local economies, Barilaro said.

“These grants will help many get through the winter, and just like after the bushfires, the floods and the first wave of COVID-19, the regions will lead NSW out the other side.”

The Australian Hotels Association welcomed the assistance package, with CEO John Whelan saying the tax deferrals and hospitality grants would assist hoteliers forced to close their businesses and stand down staff during the lockdown.

“It has been a constant battle for hotels since the pandemic hit our shores in March last year,” Whelan said.

“NSW hotels have operated at a maximum of 50 per cent capacity for the past 15 months.

“Saturday’s closure saw each of the impacted hotels stand down staff and throw out thousands of dollars’ worth of fresh produce.

“I would like to thank NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and the Berejiklian Government for moving so quickly to put together this assistance package.

“The pubs might be closed but the bills keep coming in, so the grants for impacted businesses are particularly appreciated.

“I would also like to encourage people in the community to continue to visit their local pub in country and regional NSW – and, where possible, by supporting the closed hotels offering takeaway.”

NSW Treasurer Perrottet said the small business grants would be available for sole traders and non-for-profit organisations, with expanded criteria to assist most hospitality and tourism operators hit hard by the restrictions during school holidays.

“The NSW economy rebounded strongly from the challenges of 2020 and we’re taking action to ensure we keep that going. We are deploying our fiscal firepower when it matters, by helping small businesses stay in business and keep people in jobs,” Perrottet said.

“Once again we are delivering timely and targeted support to keep businesses in business and people in jobs as we work together to overcome this latest challenge.”

Businesses will be able to apply for the grants through Service NSW from later in July and will need to show a decline in turnover across a minimum two-week period after the commencement of major restrictions on June 26.

The package includes a Hospitality and Tourism COVID-19 Support Grant, which will be available to tourism or hospitality businesses that have a turnover of more than $75,000 and an annual Australian wages bill of below $10m, as at 1 July 2020.

These business must have an Australian Business Number (ABN) registered in New South Wales or be able to demonstrate they are physically located and primarily operating in New South Wales. Full criteria will be available in coming days on the Service NSW website.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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