The ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has left many Australians and Australian businesses in a financial bind. While it’s still feasible for many to secure loans to keep their heads above water, it’s smart to also apply for funding that doesn’t need to be repaid. Which brings us to government grants.
The federal government and most state and territory governments have a few grants to help out during these difficult times.
You should also know that many government business grants come with strict conditions around how and where funds can be spent. And as the COVID-19 situation evolves, some grants may become unavailable, and you’re not assured of getting a grant simply by applying.
Government business grants available to SMBs
As Australia reopens, businesses of all sizes are taking stock of the financial damage. Check out this list of grants you could be eligible for, depending on where you live:
- Federal government grants available to every Australian.
- New South Wales state government grants.
- Victoria state government grants.
- Queensland state government grants.
- South Australia state government grants.
- Western Australia state government grants.
- Tasmania state government grants.
- Northern Territory government grants.
As the reopening accelerates, some of this funding will either be tapped out or withdrawn — so apply now.
1. Federal government grants available to every Australian
There is a range of grants available to cover most business purposes, including the widely publicised JobKeeper grant.
If your business is eligible for JobKeeper, you can receive $1,500 per employee per fortnight.
JobKeeper funds have to be paid through to each affected employee and there are strict criteria around making sure that money flows through to your employees.
That should help you retain valuable employees if you’ve seen a significant decline in your revenues, but it’s far from the only grant or concession available. The federal government is also supplying support for small to medium enterprises (SME) with:
- Select guarantees of up to 50% of loans shown to meet cash flow obligations
- A variety of tax incentives including asset write-offs (although strictly speaking these aren’t “grants”)
- Indigenous Australians may also qualify for a range of incentives and grants administered through Indigenous Business Australia
A note for laid-off workers
If you’re an employee who has been entirely laid off from a business that does not intend to keep trading, you may be eligible for the JobSeeker package, which has seen a temporary boost in funding around COVID-19.
A full guide to the Australian Federal Government’s Coronavirus grants and assistance packages can be found here.
2. Victoria state government grants
Although the Business Support Fund is now closed, the government of Victoria continues to offer small business support, including:
- Assistance programs
Use the Coronavirus (COVID-19) business support finder to see what kinds of financial help you might be eligible for.
3. New South Wales State government grants
In New South Wales, small businesses with a payroll tax threshold under $900,000 can apply for the small business COVID-19 grant of up to $10,000.
You’ll need to show that you’ve suffered a decline of 75% or greater in turnover compared to an identical two-week period in 2019 to qualify.
Further details and applications can be made here.
Grants for creatives who teach children
If your small business supplies creative or cultural teaching to children, you may be eligible to apply for a Creative Kids Digital Small Business Grant of up to $5,000 to help with transferring your business to online delivery of classes. Note: Applications can be submitted Tuesday 30 June 2020 through Friday 6 November 2020 (unless funds are expended prior to this date).
There’s a similar initiative for the small-medium arts and screen sector, with packages up to $10,000 for:
- Small projects
- Digitisation initiatives
- Businesses working in the First Nations cultural and artistic spaces
This last includes a $50 million COVID-19 Rescue and Restart package to help NSW not-for-profit arts and cultural organisations restart operations.
4. Queensland state government grants
While Queensland’s COVID-19 Adaption Grant is no longer accepting applications, Queensland continues to provide other types of financial support for businesses that are struggling. Use the Queensland Coronavirus (COVID-19) business assistance finder to quickly see what you qualify for.
5. South Australia state government grants
South Australian small businesses with incomes of at least $75,000 and payrolls under $1.5 million may be eligible for a $10,000 grant under the state’s Jobs Rescue package. You will have to show that you’ve been either subject to closure due to COVID-19 or heavily impacted by the pandemic in order to qualify.
6. Western Australia state government grants
In addition to a variety of small business credits and waivers, the government of Western Australia is offering $17,500 payroll grants for businesses with payrolls between $1 million and $4 million. Log in to Revenue Online to ensure your postal address is up to date, as cheques will be automatically mailed out.
WA small businesses in the tourism sector can apply for grants starting at $6,500 under the Tourism Recovery Program. Note: Applications close at 6pm AWST, Friday, 12 June 2020.
7. Tasmania state government grants
The Tasmanian Government has a $60 million grants package called the Small Business Emergency Support and Hardship grant. Although applications are no longer being accepted, the government is continuing to disburse funds to businesses that applied by the 4 May deadline.
If your Tasmanian business is a general practice or community pharmacy, you may qualify for a grant of up to $10,000 under the Primary Healthcare Grant Program.
8. Northern Territory government grants
The Northern Territory government’s $60 million COVID-19 stimulus package includes grants open to individuals or businesses for a variety of purposes.
One of these is the Trade Support Scheme COVID-19 Quick Response Grant, which provides up to $8,000 for those involved in export and international marketing. Note: Applications close on Friday, 12 June 2020.
Claim your government business grant
Depending on where you live and your circumstances, there are still government business grants available to help you rebound from the financial strain caused by COVID-19. Keep a sharp eye on the deadlines and apply quickly once you’ve found something you qualify for, as some grants are coming to an end.
Now the rebuilding begins!
All information in this article was accurate as per Australian Government websites at 20/5/2020 and is subject to change.