Date posted: 22/09/2021

Summary of ACT COVID-19 lockdown business support

Support measures introduced to help ACT businesses during the 2021 COVID-19 lockdown

 
Outlined below is a summary of government support to help businesses during the extended COVID-19 lockdown announced from August 2021. Chartered Accountants can help businesses break down the information for their clients and stakeholders.
Measure Summary Resources

COVID-19 Disaster Payment

Eligible ACT employees who could not work due to an ACT COVID-19 public health order will be able to access payments of:

  • $750 pw if you lose 20 or more hours of work a week during the period of the lockdown
  • $450 pw if you lose between 8 and 20 hours of work, or a full day of work, during the period of the lockdown

The COVID-19 Disaster Payment is non assessable income and non exempt income for tax purposes. This applies to assessments for the 2020-21 income year onwards.

Prime Minister’s announcement 28 July 2021

Apply at Services Australia 
COVID-19 Business Support Grant  

Businesses can apply for a grant of up to $20,000 (increased from $10,000) for employing businesses and $7,500 (increased from $4,000) for non-employing businesses.

Eligibility (employing businesses):

  • registered in the ACT as verified by an ABN and able to demonstrate primary operation in the ACT as at 1 April 2021
  • registered for GST before April 2021
  • annual turnover of more than $75,000 (excluding GST) in either 2019-20 or 2020-21
  • total Australian payroll of less than $10 million in 2019-20 or 2020-21
  • evidence of at least a 30% reduction in turnover in the week of Friday 13 August to Thursday 2 September 2021 (compared with a consecutive 7-day period in April to August 202) due to restricted trading conditions.

Eligibility (non-employing businesses)

  • As above but must not employ people as at 1 April 2021

15 September update: There will be an additional ACT COVID-19 Business Grant extension payment of $10,000 for all employing businesses and $3,750 for non-employing businesses who were eligible for the COVID-19 Business Support Grant. Additional one‑off top‑up payments will also be made for larger businesses at the following rates:

  • $10,000 for employing businesses with a turnover greater than $2 million and less than $5 million
  • $20,000 for employing businesses with a turnover greater than $5 million and less than $10 million
  • $30,000 for employing businesses with a turnover greater than $10 million.

The extension payments will be automatically applied for eligible businesses that have already applied or already been paid.

Applications are open and will close at 5pm on 7 October 2021.

Treasurer’s Announcement 15 September 2021

Treasurer’s Announcement 31 August 2021

ACT Chief Minister Announcement 31 August 2021

ACT Chief Minister announcement 17 August 2021

ACT Chief Minister announcement 13 August 2021

ACT Government Business Hub information

Frequently asked questions

Apply at the ACT Government Business Hub

COVID-19 Small Business Hardship Scheme 

Small businesses can apply for credits on the cost of eligible fees and charges (including payroll tax, utilities, rates and a range of business licence fees and charges) up to a maximum of $10,000 (inclusive of GST) per operator.

Eligibility:

  • turnover between $30,000 and $10 million p.a.
  • able to demonstrate a 30% loss in revenue from June quarter 2021 to September quarter 2021

The Scheme will open in October 2021. 

Further details will be available shortly and businesses can express interest on the ACT Government website.  

ACT Chief Minister announcement 13 August 2021

ACT Government Business Hub

Register interest
COVID-19 Tourism, Accommodation Provider, Arts and Events and Hospitality Grant

Businesses in the Tourism, Accommodation Provider, Arts and Events and Hospitality industries can apply for a one-off grant which will be provided at the following rates:

  • $1,000 for non employing businesses
  • $3,000 for employing businesses with turnover less than $2 million
  • $10,000 for employing businesses with turnover greater than $2 million and less than $5 million
  • $20,000 for employing businesses with turnover greater than $5 million.

The eligibility criteria will match the eligibility criteria for the COVID 19 Business Support Grant.

Details are still being finalised and payments will not be administered until October 2021.

Treasurer’s Announcement 15 September 2021
Accommodation and Tourism Venue Operator support program - up to $75,000
Accommodation providers and private tourism operators can receive a full rebate on their fixed water and sewerage charges for the first two quarters of 2021-22 up to a maximum of $75,000 plus GST. The rebate will be paid on a per account basis.

To be eligible the business must be able to demonstrate a 30% reduction in revenue in July 2021 compared to April 2021.

Further information is available in the Accommodation and Tourism Venue Operator Support Program factsheet.

Businesses can apply via the ACT Government Business Hub website.

Applications are open now.

Applications close: 5pm on 17 September 2021.

If you need assistance, please email [email protected] 
Accommodation and Tourism Venue Operator Support Program factsheet

Accountant letter template

Apply online

ACT Government Business Hub
Small Tourism Operator COVID Recovery Payment – up to $15,000

Small tourism operators can receive reimbursement of up to $15,000 plus GST per ABN for eligible expenses incurred in June and July 2021.

Three categories of businesses are eligible:

  • tourism businesses with a turnover of between $75,000 and $10 million p.a. 
  • tourism businesses with a turnover of between $30,000 and $75,000 p.a.
  • seasonal tourism businesses.  

Other eligibility requirements:

  • be able to demonstrate a 30% loss of revenue in July 2021 compared to:
    o for tourism businesses - April 2021
    o for seasonal tourism businesses – a similar time period in 2019 or 2020
  • registered in the ACT as verified by an ABN and able to demonstrate primary operation in the ACT as at 1 April 2021
  • tourism businesses with a turnover of between $75,000 and $10 million have to be registered for GST before April 2021 as recorded on the Australian Business Register.

A range of expenses, including ACT Government rates, fees and charges, fuel, mortgage repayments and perishable goods, are eligible for the rebate depending on the business category.

Detailed information is set out in the Small Tourism Operator COVID Recovery Payment Guidelines on the ACT Government website.

Applications are now open.

Applications close: 5pm on 17 September 2021.

If you need assistance, please email [email protected].

NB: Small tourism operators and operators likely to receive less than $15,000 under the Accommodation and Tourism Venue Operator support program will be contacted to apply for the Small Tourism Operator COVID Recovery Payment. 

Small Tourism Operator COVID Recovery Payment Guidelines

Accountant letter template

Apply online

ACT Government Business Hub
Hire car and charter buses registration fees waivers Current vehicle registration fees waivers for hire cars and charter buses registered in the ACT have been extended to 31 March 2022.  

This is in addition to the hire car annual licence fees that were waived for 12 months as part of the assistance package announced in early April 2020.

Contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81 to receive waiver. 
ACT Government Business Hub
Food business registration, outdoor dining and liquor licencing fee waivers

A range of licence fees and waivers are available:

  • The food business registration fee waiver has been extended until 31 March 2022
  • The outdoor dining permit fee waiver has been extended for another 12 months until 30 June 2022
  • The annual licence fee waiver for some eligible liquor licensees has been tapered to provide a 50% fee reduction for 12 months from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022. 

Businesses do not need to apply for the waivers, as they will be applied automatically as part of the normal annual fee licencing process.

Further information is available on the ACT Government Business Hub website. 

ACT Government Business Hub
Micro-producer application fee reduction 

Micro-producers are eligible for a 90% reduction on the application fee in the first year of their off licence from 22 May 2020, if they produce and sell up to $100,000 of liquor on their licenced premises.

To qualify, you must:

  • have not previously held an off licence
  • conduct your business at your licensed premises and sell only the liquor you produce on the premises, and
  • provide a written statement to the Fair-Trading Commissioner that the estimated gross revenue from liquor you produce will not exceed $100,000 during your reporting year.

Apply online on the Access Canberra website. 

ACT Government Business Hub

Apply on the Access Canberra website
Payroll tax exemption – apprentices or trainees Wages paid to new employees who are apprentices or trainees employed after 1 August 2020 are exempt from payroll tax from the start of their employment until 30 June 2022.

Businesses are expected to self-assess their eligibility for these exemptions and lodge their payroll tax returns accordingly. 
ACT Revenue website
Residential and commercial tenancy support measures  

Emergency support measures have been introduced to help residential and commercial tenants and landlords impacted by COVID-19.

Residential tenancy relief

A COVID-19 emergency response declaration now places a twelve-week moratorium on evictions for rent arrears for residential tenants who are in financial distress due to a loss of income or working hours as a result of the lockdown.

Residential landlords who offer rent relief will be eligible for a credit on their residential land tax of up to $100 p.w. 

Commercial tenancy relief

Under a new temporary commercial leases declaration which applies from 12 August 2021, commercial landlords must engage in good faith negotiations with local business tenants hardest hit by COVID-19 during the current ACT lockdown.

Commercial landlords who offer rent relief may be eligible for a credit of up to $5,000. A credit is also available for eligible owner-operators.

14 September update: The previously announced land tax and commercial rates relief to landlords who provide rent relief to their tenants will be extended to 31 December 2021. Commercial landlords who offer rent relief may be eligible for commercial rates credit of up to $10,000 (increased from $5,000).

Information is available on the ACT Government Business Hub website and the ACT Revenue Office website.  

ACT Chief Minister’s Announcement 14 September 2021

ACT Chief Minister’s Announcement 2 September 2021

ACT Revenue Office COVID-19 Assistance

ACT Government Business Hub

ACT Government FAQs

Last updated: 22 September 2021

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