$300 million is welcome relief for small businesses but more needed for sole traders

Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Another important step in Victoria’s economic recovery was signposted today with a package to help businesses move to outdoor trading and events when restrictions ease.

Today Premier Daniel Andrews announced grants for hospitality businesses to establish outdoor eating areas, for councils to waive fees and streamline regulation and approvals and co-funded grants with the City of Melbourne for CBD businesses to run COVID-safe events.

Also announced was $100 million to provide $3000 grants for sole traders who have a commercial lease and are in impacted sectors, such as retail, media and film production, gyms and studios and tourism.

The grants will be relief for around 33,000 eligible sole traders who have missed out on previous financial support and continue to be most affected by severe restrictions, however there will still be a large number of sole traders who do not meet the sector or commercial lease criteria who will be ineligible for the financial grants. The Victorian Chamber will continue to advocate for support for businesses impacted by COVID restrictions.

To be attributed to Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Paul Guerra:

“Today’s announcement gives us another glimpse into what a COVID-normal environment is likely to look like, with indications that over the warmer months many hospitality businesses will be given the green light to move to outdoor seating.

“Melbourne is famous for its vibrant and diverse food scene and we need to ensure we restore that when the health crisis is under control and we can reopen.

“The Victorian Chamber has been meeting with sole traders since the pandemic began and communicating their needs to the government, so we are pleased that those with commercial leases and in the worst affected sectors will be eligible for support in the form of cash grants.

“While that relief will be welcomed by those that are eligible, we will also continue to advocate to government for support for sole traders and other businesses who will miss out on funding.”

/Public Release.