Business Stimulus

The Coronavirus has presented a fast evolving and significant challenge to global health systems and economies.
To support the economic recovery, the Australian Government is tailoring temporary economic measures to support sectors, regions and communities that will continue to face challenges.

Last Updated: 08 October 2020



Job Keeper Payments

The Job Keeper Payment is a scheme to support businesses significantly affected by the coronavirus to help keep more Australians in jobs. The program offers businesses a wages subsidy to continue paying their employees or yourself if you are a sole trader. The payments will continue to support eligible business and non-for-profit organisations until 28 March 2021.

The Job Keeper scheme from 28 September 2020 to 28 March 2021 has two separate extension periods. For each extension period, an additional actual decline in turnover test applies and the rate of the JobKeeper payment is different.

The rate of JobKeeper payments also depends on hours worked by employees in the reference period. This is split into two rates:

  • Tier 1:
  • All eligible employees who worked for 80 hours or more in the four weeks of pay periods before either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020, and
  • Eligible business participants who were actively engaged in the business for 80 hours or more in February and provide a declaration to that effect
  • Tier 2:
  • Any other eligible employees and eligible business participants

Payment rates from 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021:

  • Tier 1: $1,200 per fortnight (before tax)
  • Tier 2: $750 per fortnight (before tax)

Payment rates from 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021:

  • Tier 1: $1,000 per fortnight (before tax)
  • Tier 2: $650 per fortnight (before tax)

Eligibility and How to apply

Visit the Australian Taxation Office for details.


Boosting Cashflow for Employers

The Government will provide a temporary tax-free cash flow support of between $20,000 and $100,000 to eligible small and medium sized businesses, not-for-profits (including charities), sole traders, partnerships, and companies and trusts.

These payment can be used towards business operational costs, retaining staff, paying rent, electricity and other bills.

The payment will roll out in 2 stages: The first boost will flow from 28 April 2020 and the second boost for the period of June to September will be delivered in instalments depending on reporting periods.

How to apply

You don't need to apply. The cash flow boost is a tax free payment to employers and is automatically calculated by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). For mor information, visit here.


Supporting apprentices and trainees

The Government is providing support to small and medium-sized businesses to retain apprentices and trainees. Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50% of the apprentice's or trainee's wage paid from 1 January 2020 to March 2021.


  • For small businesses who:
  • Employ fewer than 20 people; or
  • Employ fewer than 20 people, using a Group Training Organisation; and
  • The apprentice or trainee was undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship with you on 1 July 2020 for claims after this date. Claims prior to 1 July 2020, will continue to be based on the 1 March 2020 eligibility date.
  • For medium-sized business who:
  • Employ 199 people or fewer; or
  • Employ 199 people or fewer, using a Group Training Organisation; and
  • The apprentice or trainee was undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship with you on 1 July 2020.

How to apply

Registrations must be lodged by 30 June 2021 via the Australian Apprenticeships website.


Increasing the instant asset write-off

The Government is increasing the instant asset write-off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanding access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million). This applies from 12 March 2020 until 31 December 2020, for new or second‑hand assets first used or installed ready for use in this timeframe.


Eligibility to use instant set write-off depends on:

  • Your aggregated turnover (the total ordinary income of your business and that of any associated businesses).
  • The date you purchased the asset and it was first used or installed ready for use.
  • The cost of each asset being less than the threshold.
  • From 1 July 2020 the instant asset write-off will only be available for small businesses with a turnover of less than $10 million and the threshold will be $1,000.

How to apply

If eligible you don't need to apply. Simply ensure you apply the correct threshold amount as stated by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).


Backing business investment (BBI)

The Government has introduced a time limited 15 month investment incentive to support business investment and economic growth over the short term, by accelerating depreciation deductions.
Businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $500 million can deduct 50 per cent of the cost of an eligible asset in the income year the asset is first used or installed ready for use, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset cost.


To be eligible to apply for the accelerated rate of deduction, the depreciating asset must:

  • Be new and not previously held by another entity (other than as trading stock).
  • Not be an asset to which an entity has applied depreciation deductions or the instant asset write-off rules.
  • Be first held on or after 12 March 2020.
  • First used or first installed ready for use for a taxable purpose on or after 12 March 2020 until 30 June 2021.

How to apply

If eligible you don't need to apply. You can claim the deduction when lodging your tax return for the income year.

For more information

Visit the ATO here.


Assistance for affected regions, communities and industries

The Government has set aside $1 billion to support regions and sectors most significantly affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. The COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund is available to assist during the outbreak and to help with recovery. Industries that will benefit from the program include:

  • Tourism
  • Agriculture
  • Education
  • Aviation and Transport
  • The Arts

How to apply

A list of programs under the Relief and Recovery Fund and information to apply are available here.

Free financial counselling for small regional businesses

As part of the funding, the government will provide small regional businesses affected by COVID-19 with access to free and confidential financial counselling. More information can be found on the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment website.


Reserve Bank of Australia Supporting the Flow and Reducing the Cost of Credit

The Reserve Bank of Australia has announced a a package to support the flow of credit and reduce the funding cost to assist businesses in need and minimise the financial disruption caused by the pandemic. The policies include:

  • Lower cash rate target to 0.25% to boost cash flow of businesses and households.
  • Target for A 3-year Australian Government Bond Yield of around 0.25%.
  • Provide a Term Funding Facility (TFF) to lower funding costs for the banking system as an incentive for lenders to provide credit to businesses.
  • Provide extra liquidity to the financial system.
  • Provide liquidity to the Government Bond Market.
  • Establish a temporary Foreign Exchange Swap Line to support US dollar funding.


  • All businesses are eligible.

For more information

For details of the RBA's support package and policies, visit here.


Home Builder

HomeBuilder is a time-limited grant program that provides eligible owner-occupiers (including first home buyers) with a grant of $25,000 to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing home. HomeBuilder will assist the residential construction market by encouraging the commencement of new home builds and renovations.


  • You are a natural person (not a company or trust).
  • Aged 18 years or older.
  • An Australian citizen.
  • You meet one of the following two income caps:
    $125,000 per annum for an individual applicant based on your 2018-19 taxable income or later; or $200,000 per annum for a couple based on both 2018-19 taxable income or later.
  • You enter into a building contract between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020 to either:
    build a new home as a principal place of residence, where the property value does not exceed $750,000; or substantially renovate your existing home as a principal place of residence, where the renovation contract is between $150,000 and $750,000, and where the value of your existing property (house and land) does not exceed $1.5 million (pre-renovation).
  • Construction must commence on or after 4 June and within three months of the contract date.

For more information

Visit or contact 13 28 46.


Relief for Commercial Tenants

The Government has announced a range of measures to help renters. This includes a temporary hold on evictions and a mandatory code of conduct for commercial tenancies to support small and medium sized enterprises affected by coronavirus. These measures will be implemented by your State or Territory Government.

For more information

For details of the Code of Conduct and access to your State or Territory Government, visit here.


Early access to Superannuation

Eligible Australian and New Zealand citizens and permanent residents can apply to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation from 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2020.


  • You're unemployed.
  • You are eligible to receive one of the following:
    JobSeeker Payment; Youth Allowance for job seekers; Parenting Payment (including the single and partnered payments); Special Benefit; Farm Household Allowance.
  • On or after 1 January 2020, either:
    You were made redundant; your working hours were reduced by 20% or more; or you were a sole trader and your business has been either suspended or there's been a reduction in your turnover of 20% or more.

How to apply

You can apply through your MyGov account.


International Freight Assistance Mechanism

The Government is establishing an International Freight Assistance Mechanism to back Australia’s agriculture and seafood export sectors. The $110 million will help exporters get their high-quality produce into key overseas markets. Return flights will bring back items critical to the ongoing health response, including vital medical supplies, medicines and equipment.
Eligible products to export may include:

  • seafood, including lobsters
  • premium red meat, including beef and pork
  • dairy, including fresh milk and yoghurt
  • horticulture, including premium fruits and packaged salad or vegetables

How to apply

Visit the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment to express your interest and share your feedback, or call 02 6272 2444.


Accessing State and territory information, grants and assistance

Each Australian state and territory has different financial help, restrictions and assistance for businesses affected by COVID-19, to access information from your State, visit here.





Victorian Government Business Resilience Package

The Victorian Government is investing $3 billion to help businesses impacted by ongoing restrictions and prepare for COVID Normal business. The package includes:

Business Support Fund - 3rd Round

Eligible businesses will receive grants of $10,000, $15,000 or $20,000, depending on the business’ annual payroll.
You can find details of the program and how to apply here.
Applications open until funds are exhausted or on 23 November 2020, whichever is earlier.

Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund

The $251 million program supports eligible liquor licensees with hospitality venues impacted by the restrictions put in place to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Grants of up to $30,000 will be available to eligible liquor licensees, based on venue location and patron capacity. Those eligible will receive an invitation to apply from Business Victoria at the email address linked to their Liquor Portal account.
You can submit an online application here.
Applications open until funds are exhausted or on 23 November 2020, whichever is earlier.

Sole Trader Support Fund

The $100 million Sole Trader Support Fund provides support sole traders who are impacted by the restrictions. Eligible sole traders will receive a grant of $3,000 that can be used towards their overhead costs.
Details of the program and online application can be found here.
Applications will remain open until funds are exhausted.

Alpine Business Grants

Grants of up to $20,000 to help alpine businesses pay a service charge to Alpine Resort Management Boards.
Details can be found here.

Grants for Business Chambers and Trader Groups

The $3 million Grants for Business Chambers and Trader Groups program provides funding to Victorian business chambers and trader groups for initiatives that will help support their members as we move into recovery and COVID Normal.
Grants of $10,000, $20,000 or $50,000 will be awarded to eligible groups through a competitive application process.
For details of the grants and how to apply, visit here.

Melbourne City Recovery Fund

The $100 million Melbourne City Recovery Fund is a partnership between the Victorian Government and the City of Melbourne to support Melbourne’s CBD prepare for a COVID Normal reopening in the lead up to the summer season and Christmas.
Visit the City of Melbourne website for details of the program.

Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package

The $58 million Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package business grants help businesses adapt their operations to outdoor dining.
Eligible businesses can apply for a grant of $5,000. Funds can be used to pay for practical things like umbrellas, outdoor furniture, screens and other equipment. Recipients can also use grants for training, marketing and other costs of adapting new, expanded or enhanced outdoor dining.
Program guidelines and online application can be found here.
Applications open until funds are exhausted or on 23 November 2020, whichever is earlier.

CBD Small Hospitality Grant

The CBD Small Hospitality Grant provides additional support to small and medium hospitality businesses in Melbourne Central Business District (CBD) that have previously received a grant from the Business Support Fund – Expansion program.
Eligible businesses will be provided with a one-off grant of either $5,000 (for businesses with a food service seating capacity in the CBD of 11 to 100 seats) or $15,000 (for businesses with a food service seating capacity in the CBD of 101 or more seats) to help with the continued operation of their business.
For details of the program and to apply, visit here.

Export Recovery Package

A $15.7 million package to help Victorian exporters get their products to market by addressing logistics and supply chain issues caused by the pandemic, and establishing new trade channels through virtual trade missions and assistance adapting their export strategies in a rapidly changing global market.
For details of the program and to register your interest, visit here.


Payroll Tax Relief

The Victorian Government has also announced a full payroll tax refund for the 2019-2020 financial year to SMEs with a payroll of less than $3 million. These businesses can also defer paying payroll tax for the first quarter of the 2020-21 financial year.


  • Businesses with annual Victorian taxable wages up to $3 million

How to apply

For more information, or to claim a reimbursement of payroll tax already paid in the 2019-2020 financial year, visit the State Revenue Office website


Land Tax Payments

Land tax payments for 2020 will also be deferred for eligible businesses. Land owners due to pay 2020 land tax that have at least one non-residential property and total taxable landholdings below $1 million have the option of deferring their 2020 land tax payment until after 31 December 2020.


Non-residential property includes:

  • Commercial property,
  • Industrial property, and
  • Vacant land (excluding residential vacant land)

How to apply

The Victoria State Revenue Office will directly contact eligible businesses about the deferral


Liquor Licensing Fees

Liquor licensing fees for 2020 and 2021 will be waived for eligible businesses and venues.

For more information

For more information, you can contact the Victorian Commission for Gaming and Liquor Regulation.


Supporting Victorian businesses looking for workers

This Victorian government's Working for Victoria Fund supports individuals who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 to find new work opportunities and businesses to find employees with relevant skills and experience.

For more information

You can find out more about the initiative here.


Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme VIC

The Victorian government has introduced a commercial tenancy relief scheme to help alleviate financial hardship faced by commercial tenants and landlords as a result of the coronavirus. The scheme remain open until 31 December 2020.

For more information

You can find out more about the scheme, visit here.


The City of Melbourne Local Economic Package

The City of Melbourne is developing a range of support for local businesses, these include:

COVID-19 Business Grants

As part of our ongoing support for the business community, and in partnership with the Victorian Government, we’re delivering $10 million in grants to help cover the cost of outdoor dining and support the safe reopening of our local businesses.
Applications close 23 October, 2020.
Grants of up to $10,000 are available for:

  • Hospitality businesses to support temporary outdoor dining and reopening
  • Small and medium-sized businesses in any industry for:
  • COVID-safe remodelling and conversions.
  • COVID-safe equipment and infrastructure.
  • Staff training and development activities to adapt to a COVID-19 operating environment.
  • Marketing and promotion.

For details of the grants and application, visit here.
Applications close on 23 October 2020.

Economic Support for Businesses

The City of Melbourne Local Economic Package includes:

  • One-on-one advice and support through the City of Melbourne's COVID-19 Business Concierge Hotline: 9658 9658
  • Rent relief for tenants and licensees of City of Melbourne properties. Information and registration form can be found here.
  • Suspending fees for street trading permits for three months.
  • Reduced registration fee for food businesses.
  • Rates Financial Hardship Policy assisting ratepayers experiencing difficulty paying their outstanding rates, fees and charges. Apply here.
  • New General Financial Hardship Policy for businesses experiencing difficulty paying City of Melbourne permits, licenses and fees. Apply here.
  • Free cleaning and sanitising of high-touch areas for retail traders.


City of Stonnington Support Package

The council is providing approximately $5m of assistance through various support packages for residents and businesses. The program includes:

  • New outdoor Dining and Trading space guidelines
  • A fast tracked process for hospitality businesses that already have footpath trading in place
  • Mental health support for business owners and employees during COVID-19.
  • Business recovery mentoring program
  • $1m in permit fee refunds.

For more information

Visit the Stonnington Council website for more information.


Darebin Council Community and Local Business Resilience and Recovery Package

The Darebin Council has announced a $11.8 million recovery package to local community members and small businesses. Highlights of the package includes:

  • Providing financial support and redeployed staff to assist family violence, elder abuse and homelessness services.
  • A range of different grant schemes for community groups, sports clubs and creative organisations.
  • One-on-one support line to provide access to information and counselling.
  • Waiving a range of fees and charges, including the Goods on Footpath permits and Health registrations
  • Grants to support local business, arts and events organisations and social enterprise

For more information, visit here.


Glen Eira City Council Response and Recovery Package

The Glen Eire City Council has announced a Response and Recovery Package to support local community and businesses. A highlight of the program includes:

  • Small business grants for online technical and innovation support.
  • Rent relief for eligible commercial tenants in Council-owned buildings
  • Partial and full refund of certain registration fees for businesses under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act
  • Free counselling for business owners.
  • A new Rates Financial Hardship policy.

For details of the full program, visit here.


The Mornington Peninsula Shire Business and Economic Support Package

The Mornington Peninsula Shire has launched a extensive Business support program including:

  • Free business workshop and mentoring services
  • Outdoor dining fees for businesses serving liquor waived March to December 2020.
  • Reimbursal of 50% registration fee for Food and Health premises.
  • Footpath trading fees deferred until 31 December 2020
  • Rates Hardship Policy available to residential ratepayers and will make it available to the commercial sector.
  • 50% discount on rental payments for commercial tenants of Council property from 16 March 2020 up until at least 1 October 2020.

For details of the package, visit here.


Wyndham City Council Economic Support Package

The Wyndham City Council has announced a $5 million support package to the local community, including a $1.5 million Small Business Support Program. Details of the package and registration forms are available here.


Yarra City Council COVID-19 Community and Economic Support Package

The Mornington Peninsula Shire has launched a extensive Business support program to support local businesses and residents. A highlight of the program includes:

  • Greater flexibility for rates payments for those experiencing financial hardship for both commercial and residential ratepayers.
  • Refund six months of certain business permits and licence fees.
  • Free financial counselling
  • Emergency Community Support Fund to support individuals, businesses and groups in need, but who don’t meet the criteria for Commonwealth or state government support.

For details of the support package, visit here.


New South Wales


Economic Stimulus Package 1

The NSW Government has introduced a $2.3 billion stimulus package including a $700 million in extra health funding and $1.6 billion in tax cuts to support local businesses. The financial stimulus package for small businesses includes:

Payroll Tax Changes

  • Tax-free threshold increase from $900,000 to $1 million.
  • Deferral of payroll tax for business with payrolls over $10 million for 6 months (up to $4 billion deferred).
  • An additional 3-month deferral for businesses with payrolls of $10 million or less who received a 3-month waiver on payroll tax in the first package.

Gaming Tax Deferrals

Deferral of gaming tax for clubs, pubs and hotels, and lotteries tax for 6 months, conditional on these funds being used to retain staff. This improves liquidity and helps these businesses stay afloat.

Parking Space Levy

Deferral of the parking space levy for 6 months.

Rent Deferrals

Deferral of rents for 6 months for commercial tenants with less than 20 employees in all Government-owned properties

For more information

Visit the New South Wales Treasury website


Economic Stimulus Package 2

On the 27 March 2020, The NSW Government announced further measures to the existing Stimulus package to widen support for businesses and jobs under the pandemic crisis. These new measures include:

  • $1 billion Working for NSW fund to create new jobs and retain employees.
  • Deferral of payroll tax for business with payrolls over $10 million for 6 months. Businesses with payrolls of $10 million or less who received a 3 month waiver on payroll tax in the first package will get an additional 3 month deferral as well. Check eligibility here.
  • Deferral of gaming machine tax for clubs, pubs and hotels for 6 months.
  • Deferral of duty on lotteries and keno for 6 months.
  • Deferral of the parking space levy for 6 months.
  • Rental deferral for commercial tenants with less than 20 employees and not-for-profits in all Government properties for 6 months.
  • $34 million boost in funding to prevent homelessness
  • $30 million to boost the Energy Accounts Payments Assistance scheme
  • $10 million to support charities for food security
  • $6 million additional funding for Lifeline’s operations in NSW

For more information

For details of the support package and business grant applications, visit here.


Additional support

On top of the two Economic Stimulus package, the NSW Government has launched the following support to help small businesses. These include:

Southern border small business support grant

Sall business or not-for-profit has been impacted by the closure of the NSW and Victorian border, and  located within a specified Local Government Area (LGA) may be eligible for a southern border small business support grant of $5000 or $10,000.
For details of the grant and to apply, visit here.

Export assistance grant

For exporting businesses based in NSW, you may be eligible for an export assistance grant of up to $10,000.
For details of the grant and online application, visit here.

Business Concierge

For more information

A list of business support and resources can be found on the NSW Government website.

Industry Specific Funds


The NSW Journalists’ Benevolent Fund

Offers cash grants or short-term crisis loans to journalists, artists, and photographers in Australia going through financial crisis. For more information, visit here.


Federal Government COVID-19 Relief for Australian Media

The Federal Government has announced a series of measures to support the Australian media outlets. These measures include:

  • 12-month waiver of spectrum tax for commercial television and radio broadcasters.
  • Investing in regional journalism
  • Public Interest News Gathering Fund
  • Short-term red tape relief

For full details of the package, visit here.

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