Support for local businesses

There are many ways businesses can seek support and find resources to help during this hugely challenging COVID-19 outbreak.

There are many ways businesses can seek support and find resources to help during this hugely challenging COVID-19 outbreak.

Government information and services to help can be found on Services Australia's Affected by COVID-19.

Resources for businesses

Victorian Government support

October 2020 - four new grant packages to support businesses

The Victorian Government has announced applications for four grant packages to support Victorian businesses impacted by COVID-19 restrictions and help them prepare for COVID Normal business. For more information on eligibility and applications for each program, follow the links below.

  • The Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package will provide grants of up to $5,000 to help eligible hospitality businesses adapt their operations to outdoor dining.
  • The Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund program will provide grants of up to $30,000 for eligible liquor licensees with hospitality venues impacted by the restrictions put in place to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Eligible licensees will be invited to apply through their Liquor Portal accounts.
  • The Sole Trader Support Fund provides grants of $3,000 to eligible non-employing sole traders who are impacted by the restrictions in Victoria’s roadmap for reopening.
  • The Third Round of the Business Support Fund will provide grants of up to $20,000 to eligible businesses, ensuring they continue to receive the support they need to make it through restricted trading.

Economic Survival Package

The Victorian Government has established an Economic Survival Package to support Victorian businesses and workers through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wellbeing and Mental Health Support for Victorian Small Businesses

Through this program, Victorians dealing with the challenges of running a small business can get the mental health support they need to navigate through the impacts of COVID-19.

Key elements of the program include:

  • accredited mental health training delivered by St John Ambulance to business chambers of commerce and business networks across Victoria, to boost mental health capabilities within local business communities
  • access to mental health specialists and on-the-job training for staff in industry and business associations to ensure they can identify and respond to people in distress, and provide immediate referrals to expert business advisors
  • the Partners in Wellbeing telephone hotline - 1300 375 330. This free support service will be extended to 10 pm every night to provide business owners experiencing stress free access to one-on-one wellbeing support, business advisers and financial counsellors.

Business Support Package

The Business Support Package provides more support to help businesses and workers through to the other side of the pandemic.

The new package includes:

  • $30 million dedicated fund for Victoria’s night-time economy to support the hardest hit businesses in hospitality.
  • $26 million in mental health support will ensure Victorians dealing with the compounding challenges of running a small business can get the support they need as they navigate their way through the crisis.
  • $10 million business mentoring program, pairing small business owners with experienced professionals who can help them navigate their way through the crisis.

Businesses will also benefit from an extended and expanded payroll tax deferral. Eligible businesses with payrolls up to $10 million can defer their liabilities for the first half of the 2020/21 financial year.

For more information call Business Victoria on 13 22 15.

Information and resources can also be accessed on the Government's Business Victoria Support for Business page.

For Government updates please see the DHHS COVID-19 Daily Update.

Upskill My Business training resources

The Victorian Government is providing financial and other support to local businesses, through a range of initiatives including:

Worker support and isolation payments

The Victorian Government is providing:

  • $450 Test Isolation Payments for Victorian workers who are self-isolating while awaiting COVID-19 test results
  • $1,500 Coronavirus Worker Support Payments for workers who have either tested positive for COVID-19 or been a close contact with someone who has tested positive

Liquor licence fees waived

Renewable liquor licencing fees for 2020 will be waived. If your business has already paid, you will be reimbursed.

Advice for small businesses

The Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) has developed digital materials and fact sheets to support people in small business. These include leasing advice under the Victorian Government’s Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme, which has been introduced to ease financial hardship faced by some tenants and landlords as a result of the pandemic.

Translated resources are also available on the VSBC website, including leasing advice in Simplified Chinese, Arabic and Vietnamese.

Council support

The Budget 2020/21 was adopted by Council in August 2020. This budget funds $5.6 million for an Economic and Social Recovery program that builds on the $2.8 million emergency relief package for 2019/20, providing assistance to those who need it most.

It supplements rather than duplicates Victorian or Federal government assistance and was informed by feedback from our business forum held on 2 June 2020, in which 125 businesses participated.

For more information about the Economic and Social Recovery program, see Council relief response.

If you need additional support or to report an issue, please contact us.

How to support local businesses

How can you support local businesses at this time?

Port Phillip is known for its delicious eateries, many of which are now offering delivery and takeaway services, in response to current trading restrictions. Many local cafes and restaurants are also offering pick-up and delivery services for fresh food and groceries and ready-to-eat meals.

A list of local businesses that are still trading through this period and would love your support can be found on Love My Place. By ordering directly from the venue, the full cost you pay goes directly to that business, whereas when you order via food delivery apps or services, only a portion of the price you pay goes to the local business.

You can also continue to support your favourite South Melbourne Market traders without visiting the market. The Market is now offering home delivery and their Order and Collect service has also been running since March.

Other ways you can support local businesses include:

  • Buy vouchers from your favourite restaurants, bars and cafes, which can be used when they reopen.
  • Buy vouchers for local live music, theatre and entertainment venues to be used when they reopen.
  • Shop online – many of our small businesses have websites you can buy from and are still open online.


Online training and development resources

Online learning with Lynda

Lynda is an online learning platform that helps anyone learn business, software, technology and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals. The courses are taught by industry experts.

If you're a Port Phillip Library member, you can enjoy free access to the Lynda video library of courses.

Deakin University

Deakin University is offering free two-week online courses. The courses are open to anyone. There are a range of courses available with everything from Become Career Smart: How to Sell Yourself and Professional Resilience to Caring for Older People and Infant Nutrition.

La Trobe University free leadership course

La Trobe University is offering support to businesses and individuals facing the challenges of COVID-19 through a free online leadership development program delivered by the La Trobe MBA.

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