In this extremely challenging time for business, we would like to provide as much information and support as we possibly can to our community members.
Local Business Response
Watch these videos to hear about how local businesses are adapting to the impact of the restrictions in place due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
Table of contents
- Local Business Response
- JobKeeper Payment Extended
- Greater Shepparton Response
- Support Local Business
- Council information - COVID-19
- Council COVID-19 Package
- COVID-19 Quick Response Grant to provide mentor activities to help business growth and sustainability
- COVID-19 Visitor Economy Recovery and Activation Grant
- Victoria Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Free membership packages
- How to sell your products on Facebook
- Digital business tips during COVID-19
- Changes to local business trading
- Free online webinars
- Relief for commercial tenants
- Economic Survival Package to support businesses and workers
- State Government Tax Relief
- Victorian Business Support Package
- Regional Tourism Accommodation Support Program
- Business support and financial assistance finder
- Upskill My Business
- Tax Support for Small Business
- Important links to Support Information for Business impacted by COVID-19
JobKeeper Payment Extended
The Federal Government has just announced that it is extending the JobKeeper Payment by a further six months to March 2021. Support will be targeted to businesses and not-for-profits that continue to be significantly impacted by the coronavirus. The payment rate will be reduced and a lower payment rate will be introduced for those who work fewer hours. Other eligibility rules remain unchanged. Learn more about the JobKeeper Payment for employers and employees or sole traders and other entities.
More information regarding the changes and eligibility are available here JobKeeper Payment Explained
Greater Shepparton Response
The Greater Shepparton Response online hub is a simple way businesses and community members can work together in response to COVID-19. Businesses are already collaborating on cross-deployment of staff, assistance with supply chains and sharing of information.
The Committee for Greater Shepparton, Greater Shepparton City Council, Shepparton Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Shepparton Show Me and Tourism Greater Shepparton are all collaborating on initiatives to assist the businesses understand assistance available and strategies to get through this difficult period.
Support Local Business
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the Greater Shepparton community economically, socially and emotionally, but we can still help each other by supporting local businesses.
Council information - COVID-19
Greater Shepparton City Council is continually updating its webpage about the status of its services and events. The safety of staff and members of the public is our prime concern and we are taking the best health advice from state and federal authorities regarding which activities will continue at our venues.
If your business is still operating we encourage you to download, print and display the flyer in your business so the community can access the latest information on Council services.
Thank you for your patience as we adapt to the implications of COVID-19.
PDF, 423 KB
Council COVID-19 Package
Greater Shepparton City Council announced a Stage 1 $1.5 million Greater Shepparton Economic Response to COVID-19 Package.
While the full local economic effects from the pandemic are yet to be fully understood, the Package provides timely financial and direct support to businesses and the broader community to assist in managing and navigating the immediate and ongoing impact of COVID-19.
Council’s Package seeks to build on relief plans and various measures announced by the Federal and State Governments rather than duplicate their efforts.
From a business perspective a couple of key points include:
- Business ratepayers are able to enter into a payment arrangement or apply for financial hardship consideration regarding rates.
- No interest will be raised on business rates from 16 March 2020, the date a State of Emergency was declared, until 30 June 2020.
- The availability of a Small to Medium Businesses COVID-19 Quick Response Grant for up to $3,000 to facilitate transitioning to online and e-commerce activities.
- Facilitate and fast track development applications where possible to assist businesses attempting to diversify, adapt or expand.
- Waiving of building and planning permit fees relating directly to the COVID-19 emergency until 30 June 2020.
- Waiving outdoor dining permit fees for 12 months. This will apply to the 2020/21 financial year.
- Waiving Goods for Display Permit fees for 12 months. This will apply to the 2020/21 financial year.
- Reduced cost of food premises and health premises registrations for 2021.
Development of a suite of virtual seminars to support local business through the COVID-19 pandemic. The Virtual Business Webinar Series is already available. The series are currently available via the Greater Shepparton Business Centre Facebook Page.
Click here to visit the webpage to find out how your business may be able to benefit from the package
COVID-19 Quick Response Grant to provide mentor activities to help business growth and sustainability
As part of Greater Shepparton City Council’s Economic Response to COVID-19 Package - Stage 2 for local businesses, Council is offering grants for small to medium sized businesses to better prepare, respond and build resilience to face the challenging situations that have arisen during the COVID-19 health pandemic.
The total pool of grant funds is $20,000 and Council will support projects up to a value of $300.00 per applicant as a one off grant in accordance with the guidelines.
The Quick Response Grant is open until all funds in the pool have been expended or until 1 October 2020 whichever occurs sooner.
Please take the time to read the information and make a submission. We’re sure there are projects you’ve had on the backburner, well now is the time to make it happen!
For more information on how to apply visit https://greatershepparton.com.au/community/grants-and-funding/covid-19-business-growth-grant
COVID-19 Visitor Economy Recovery and Activation Grant
The Visitor Economy COVID-19 Recovery and Activation Grant has been established to assist businesses in Greater Shepparton’s Visitor Economy industry to implement initiatives that help business sustainability and encourage enhanced visitor experiences and increased visitation during the COVID-19 pandemic recovery phase.
The total funding pool of $125,000 (+GST) is available for individual projects up to a value of $5,000 (+GST). Funding will only be provided where there is a direct link to a business that supports the local Visitor Economy and in accordance with grant guidelines.
Again we’re sure you’ve got some great ideas in the pipeline, now’s the time to make it happen!
To read the guidelines and to apply please visit https://greatershepparton.com.au/community/grants-and-funding/covid-19-visitor-grant
Applications close on Monday 10 August 2020 at 5.00pm.
Victoria Chamber of Commerce and Industry
While the Department of Health and Human Services website is the primary source of information regarding COVID-19, from a business perspective the VCCI website offers some valuable resources and information for businesses. Current information includes:
- Morrison stimulus package: what is means for business
- Health information and guidance
- Workplace impacts
- Financial impacts
- Trade and export assistance
Free membership packages
As part of their commitment to supporting Victorian businesses, the Victorian Chamber of Commerce & Industry is offering a free membership packages to new members: Networker (worth $350) and Essentials (worth $700).
For more information on the membership packages visit the Victorian Chamber of Commerce & Industry website.
How to sell your products on Facebook
Due to the unprecedented Coronavirus outbreak a large number of businesss have had to make changes to how they can still operate without opening their stores.
There is a quick, free and easy way to get your online shop up and running now. We have put together a step-by-step guide on how to sell your products on Facebook.
Download the steps below.
Digital business tips during COVID-19
Here’s some tips on keeping your business visible particularly if foot traffic is down or restricted due to COVID-19 requirements.
Keep connecting with your online audience – remind them you are still there!
Messaging should encourage the community to shop/eat locally and support local businesses where possible whilst following health authority advice. Sending encouraging, hopeful messaging - delicious food / beautiful products can be a welcome distraction from the flood of COVID-19 information.
Clearly communicate anything your business is doing to reduce risk in your venue
This should be communicated to your audience via email/e-newsletters and social channels. Are you spacing tables further apart? Or implementing extra hygiene precautions? Are you collecting names for contract tracing to keep your customers safe? It’s important to use language that is measured, reassuring and clear rather than panicked.
Here’s an idea why not collect your customers contact details electronically via use of your website or QR code, including providing the option to tick a box should they want to receive more information about your business, sales, new products etc.. This provides another way to build your customer data base to market directly to.
Sell menu items via delivery platforms or offer pick-up
This is an option for restaurants looking to service the community who are isolated at home but still want restaurant-quality food. Setting this up earlier may help restaurants continue to operate if they are forced to close for service. Stick to key dishes that travel well. Organise branded stickers to go onto bags and packaging.
Do you have dry or shelf-stable goods you can offer to sell to your diners? Rice? Pasta? Wine? Chicken stock? It may be a good idea to put some packages together for diners to collect. It’s important to communicate changes to your audience in the right way via social and e-newsletters.
Adjust your opening hours
Consider adjusting your opening hours to cater for the community’s needs. A great example of this was when major supermarkets were offering special service times for the elderly and disabled.
Offer vouchers via your website so shoppers can come back later
Offering vouchers is a great way to encourage spending up front and ensure your diners come back once things have settled down. Also, why not put merchandise online whilst you’re at it?
Offer phone orders
Let people call ahead and pick something up without contact. Even if you can't take payment over the phone, allowing people to minimise contact time is great.
Diversify your offering
If you've got access to in demand supplies (eggs, toilet paper etc.) you could offer these as an add-on to your customers.
Quiet day? Check your online ‘footprint’
Attract new customers with a free Google listing.
Your listing appears right when people are searching for your business or businesses like yours on Google Search or Maps. Google My Business makes it easy to create and update your listing so you can stand out and bring customers in. If you haven’t already registered, start your listing here: www.google.com/business
Are you taking advantage of TripAdvisor’s free listings? List your business on TripAdvisor if you haven’t already.
More than 60 million consumers each month research their travel purchases using TripAdvisor. You can introduce your travel products and services (hotel, B&B, attraction, tour package, restaurant, etc.) to millions of qualified travel buyers. Even with travel restricted now, people will be looking and planning their next trip once restrictions start to ease.
Register on “Buy Aussie Now”
An online marketplace for Aussie-made and owned business and a destination to shop in Australia.
If you produce your own products “Buy Aussie Now” enables you to reach markets all over Australia.
Business listing is free, you can tell your unique story within the store and showcase collections, feature top products and sell directly. Inventory management is made easy, you have access to business support and your shop and products will be marketed via Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook.
Changes to local business trading
Visit Shepparton has put together a list of local business continuing to service the community with the current restrictions in place. Business have provided their information on trading hours and available services.
To have your business added to this list, or to advise changes, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Free online webinars
The Greater Shepparton Business Centre is providing support to local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic by connecting them to a series of free online webinars.
Please visit the Greater Shepparton Business Centre website for more information and to register.
Businesses can also keep up to date with by 'liking' the Greater Shepparton Business Centre Facebook page.
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 (SMEs) affected by coronavirus.
Hold on evictions for renters
Evictions will be put on hold over the next 6 months for commercial and residential tenants in financial distress, who are unable to meet their commitments due to the impact of the coronavirus.
Code of conduct for commercial tenancies
A mandatory code of conduct outlines a set of good faith leasing principles for commercial tenancies including:
- other landlords
This code applies to tenants that are:
- a small to medium sized business with an annual turnover of up to $50 million
- eligible for the JobKeeper Payment
The Government is also waiving rents for all its small and medium enterprises and not-for-profit tenants within its owned and leased property across Australia
For more information please click on this link: https://business.gov.au/risk-management/emergency-management/coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business/relief-for-commercial-tenancies
Economic Survival Package to support businesses and workers
1. $100m Commercial tenant in government buildings can apply for rent relief. Businesses payroll tax will be waived for the 2019/20 financial year for those with an annual taxable wage up to $3 million. Eligible business who have already paid their payroll tax for the financial year will be directly contacted for reimbursement. For further information: www.sro.vic.gov.au/frequently-asked-questions-response-covid-19
2. $30m waiving liquor licensing fees.
2020 renewable liquor licence fees will be waived. Reimbursements will occur if fees have already been paid.
For further information: www.vcglr.vic.gov.au/news/coronavirus-covid-19-information-licensees
3. $550m for full payroll tax refunds for the 2019/20 financial year.
Payroll tax for the 2019/20 financial year will be waived for businesses with annual taxable wages up to $3 million. Eligible businesses must continue to lodge returnes but do not need to make further payment for this financial year.
The State Revenue Office will directly contact eligible businesses in relation to reimbursement for payroll tax already paid in the financial year. The same businesses will also be able to defer any payroll tax for the first three months of the 2020/21 financial year until 1 January 2021.
For further information: www.sro.vic.gov.au/coronavirus
4. $500m to establish a Business Support Fund.
The Victorian Government will work with the Victorian Chamber, Australian Hotels Association and Ai Group to administer the fund to help businesses survive and keep people in work.
To register to get more information go to www.business.vic.gov.au/support-for-your-business/grants-and-assistance/economic-survival-and-jobs-package
5. $500m Working for Victoria Fund.
The Victorian Government in consultation with the Victorian Council of Social Services and Victorian Trades Hall Council will assist those who have lost their jobs find new opportunities.
To register to get more information go to www.vic.gov.au/workingforvictoria
For more information on the Victorian Government’s Response to COVID-19 visit: www.premier.vic.gov.au/economic-survival-package-to-support-business-and-jobs
State Government Tax Relief
On Tuesday 5 May, the Victorian Government announced it will provide a further $491 million in tax relief to help save businesses and jobs, and freeze a host of fees, charges and levies to reduce the financial burden on households in another package to support Victorian businesses, workers and families through the coronavirus crisis.
Businesses participating in the JobKeeper scheme in Victoria will be exempt from payroll tax and the WorkCover premium on payments to their employees if their staff are currently stood down.
The announcement means the $1,500 fortnightly payment paid to staff who are currently stood down will be free from all state government taxes and charges – meaning more money in the pockets of businesses, and more incentive to keep workers on throughout the crisis.
Payments above a part-time employee’s usual salary, due to JobKeeper being a minimum $1500 fortnightly payment, will also be exempt from payroll tax and the WorkCover premium – meaning businesses are not paying more to keep their staff on due to the scheme. This will help eligible workers who have been stood down by supporting businesses that are doing the right thing by their eligible employees and passing on the JobKeeper payment.
The Government will also freeze all fees and fines that were due to be increased in July at current levels – including car registration, traffic infringements, court-imposed penalties and permit fees. The Fire Services Property Levy paid by all Victorian households will also be frozen at this year’s collection level.
The Government has already announced it will defer the planned Landfill Levy increase due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Victorian Business Support Package
The Victorian Government has announced a $534 million Business Support Package that includes:
- cash grants for struggling businesses
- mental health support for business owners
- relief for tourism operators who can no longer welcome Melbourne-based visitors for holidays
- tailored and targeted advice for businesses to adapt, stay afloat and then bounce back on the other side
Learn more about the Victorian Government funding package got to Victorian Government Business Support Package
Regional Tourism Accommodation Support Program
Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire returned to Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Victoria.
The restrictions will mean that residents in these areas, as well as some interstate visitors prevented from travelling to Victoria, will have to cancel bookings with accommodation providers in regional Victoria.
Accommodation businesses in regional Victoria impacted by these cancellations will be able to apply for direct financial support through the Regional Tourism Accommodation Support Program.
Applications are open from 13 July 2020 until the end of the current Stay at Home restrictions or when funds are exhausted.
Download and read the Regional Tourism Accommodation Support Program Guidelines and read the FAQs prior to applying.
Business support and financial assistance finder
A range of assistance is available from the Australian and Victorian governments and other entities to support businesses impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19).
This finder will ask you a series of questions to help you find the assistance available to you based on your circumstances.
Click here to launch the finder.
Upskill My Business
The impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) are being felt by many of Victoria’s small businesses. The Victorian Government is giving businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic free access to top online short courses and training events so they can plan for a stronger future and take advantage of new opportunities.
Upskill My Business connects you to short courses, online events and resources from the state’s top education providers and industry experts. Courses on offer can help you prepare for a strong recovery by helping businesses find more customers, better manage cash flow or just prepare for new market conditions.
Explore courses and webinars by topic, and find one that suits your needs.
Tax Support for Small Business
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is offering free 60-minute webinars for small businesses to find out how the Government’s stimulus package can assist. Click here to register.
Visit the ATO website for more information and support for businesses and employers.
Important links to Support Information for Business impacted by COVID-19
The Federal Government has announced a JobKeeper Payment for employers, employees and sole traders. Click the link for more information. https://www.business.gov.au/risk-management/emergency-management/coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business/jobkeeper-payment
For all businesses not subject to restricted trading it is recommended that businesses follow the DHHS actions for organisations, workplaces and employers - https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covid-19-transmission-reduction-measures
Advice for exporters can be found on the AusTrade website https://www.austrade.gov.au/news/news/novel-coronavirus
The Fair Work Ombudsman provides information on coronavirus and Australian workplace laws https://www.fairwork.gov.au/about-us/news-and-media-releases/website-news/coronavirus-and-australian-workplace-laws or you can call on 13 13 94.
The Australian Taxation Office ATO can provide tailored support to businesses feeling the effects of COVID-19. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, or getting behind with your tax and super obligations, contact the ATO on 1800 806 218 or speak to your tax professional. https://www.ato.gov.au/
For more information on the Federal Government’s Economic Response to COVID-19 go to: https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus
If you suspect you, your staff or a regular customer may have the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) call the DHHS dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398
National Coronavirus Health 24-hour Information Line - 1800 020 080 (if you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450)