A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Why is the federal government funding Job Saver in NSW yet no similar program in ACT or Victoria?

From mid July in NSW, through the state government, the federal government has half funded Job Saver. This is essentially a re-branded version of Job Keeper, made for NSW, but no other state or territory, apparently.

Given extend lockdowns in the ACT and Victoria, it does not make sense to me that the federal government would not put in place similar arrangements.

Here is the announcement about the NSW program from the federal treasurer’s page:

Small and medium business support payments

From week four of the lockdown, the Commonwealth will fund 50 per cent of the cost of a new small and medium business support payment to be implemented and administered by Service NSW.

Eligible entities will receive 40 per cent of their NSW payroll payments, at a minimum of $1500 and a maximum of $10,000 per week.

Entities will be eligible if their turnover is 30 per cent lower than an equivalent two week period in 2019.

The new small to medium business support payment will be available to non-employing and employing entities in NSW, including not for profits, with an annual turnover between $75,000 and $50 million.

To receive the payment, entities will be required to maintain their full time, part time and long term casual staffing level as of 13 July 2021.

For non-employing businesses, such as sole traders, the payment will be set at $1,000 per week.

Businesses can register their interest from 14 July 2021 at Service NSW.

The assistance will cease when current lockdown restrictions are eased or when the Commonwealth hotspot declaration is removed.

I am drawing attention lion to this today in response to contact from several retailers doing it tough in lockdown with almost no support available for their businesses.

The Covid situation in Australia right now flows from NSW failures to suppress the Delta strain. Their approach, endorsed by the federal government, has placed us where we are. It is for this reason I think the federal government needs to step up and provide base level funding for businesses with even a modest decline. Doing so would be a boost to business owner and consumer confidence, which is something the country needs right now given the prospect of another recession.

I appreciate this is a political topic. It is also a personal topic for businesses owners in Victoria and the ACT, as well as business owners elsewhere that sell into NSW, ACT and Victoria. One WA based business owner I spoke with 2 days ago is down almost 70% because their customers on the East coast are not ordering. It is stories like this that make it a federal government issue.

If only there was leadership for average people and small business owners, and not just the big business groups.

Social responsibility

Join the discussion

  1. Michael

    I am in northern Victoria and severely affected. Morrison and his mates have a lot to answer for when I read about the billionaires getting millions and us small people getting nothing. Thank you for writing about this inequity.


  2. Steve

    Yep it is a mess out there and Frydenberg is struggling to see it. State Governments have been left to fend for themselves.and all of last years stimulus money has now been withdrawn. The ATO is increasing compliance and debt collection activities. Banks are calling in loans,. Lanflords are holding fire waiting to call in rents deferred by their tenants to the never never.

    The vultures are circling yet Frydenberg fails to see it. All his good work from last year is about to be undone and all of that government Jobkeeper and stimulus money from last year is about to disappear down the toilet. Our channel is luckier than most but this is a mess!


  3. Graeme Day

    Steve your argument is or should be State based. The situation in NSW was/is that Gladys requested from the Fed money as did all the other States. NSW met the guidlines QLD didn’t and wouldn’t W.A. the same as did S.A.
    VIC’s Dan changed course and now backs the 70%-80% target.
    If QLD and WA don’t knuckle down Cash will take it to the High Court and win under the Constitution regs. which is totally different to what Palmer tried to do.
    Getting back to the money, it’s up to the States to re-apply. This has nothing to do with the Federal Treasurer, the money is there for the States if they obey what they had already agreed upon at the National Cabinet of which they now renege on. Unity unmongst misfits that can’t think on their feet is always a problem especially when politics is greater than the common good.
    Mind you it’s nothing like JokKeeper with Jobsaver it favours the worker over the employee (bloody ridiculously so) the casual worker gets $750 a week whether they work or not and if they are called back to work the employer pay. Not really a good model and as said nothing like JobKeeper.
    NANA NSW &ACT put out an excellent coverage of the entitlements and how to get them for their members ALNA may have done the same however it does vary as stated here on a State by State basis. When other States stop emotionally blackmailing their constituents by pretending they are protecting them against COVID and join the collective Australia the better it will be for all.
    Maybe then we can get on with our lives which means taking some risks as i did before COVID.


  4. Mark Fletcher

    Graeme, the federal government took responsibility for the type of funding I reference at the start of the pandemic. Today, the fund 50% of the NSW program.

    While I think this is a shared responsibility, federal and state / territory, I think the federal government has the lead responsibility since the impact of Covid, especially the botch-up of the NSW government with Delta, is national. Many businesses outside of NSW are hurting because, as the Premier reminds us every day, it’s the biggest state.

    The failure of the federal government to address this should haunt and harm them.


  5. Peter

    I didn’t qualify for Jobkeeper but I would qualify for this if Morrison offered it. We are down 47% because of what has gone on in NSW. Being in a border town it’s hit us hard. Accessing help is difficult. We’ll be okay for a while but if this goes on to Christmas, the town is cooked. And I agree, the NSW government has stuffed this up for everyone.


  6. Mark Fletcher

    I have written to the Prime Minister, Treasurer and the Victorian Premier about the situation on behalf of local small business retailers. I think that is the best people can do – raise the issue to the attention of those who control the money.


  7. Mark Fletcher

    I am pleased about the announcement this morning that a new support package has been released:

    4th Sep 2021

    Extended Support For Victorian Businesses

    A jointly-funded support package from the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments will provide a critical four-week boost to small and medium-sized Victorian businesses most impacted by the current public health lockdown.

    The unprecedented joint package of up to $2.34 billion will deliver certainty to around 175,000 Victorian businesses as the state bands together to restrict the spread of infection while the drive to vaccinate 70 per cent, then 80 per cent, of the population accelerates.

    The statewide lockdown has been confirmed until 70 per cent of Victorians have had at least one dose of vaccine – estimated to be around 23 September. The four-week business support payments confirmed today cover a four-week period ending on 30 September.

    The vast majority of payments will be deposited automatically into businesses’ bank accounts, while a new tiered payments system for the Business Costs Assistance Program will allow for higher payments to businesses with more workers.

    Business Costs Assistance Program payments will be automatically made at rates of $2,800, $5,600 and $8,400 a week over September, depending on payroll size.

    Eligible cafes, restaurants and bars will continue to receive Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund payments of between $5,000 and $20,000 per week.

    A major boost to the Small Business COVID Hardship Fund will increase the grant amount to $20,000 for around 35,000 businesses, and the deadline for applications will be extended.

    An Alpine Support Package will help sustain resorts through the remainder of the season and September school holidays with an automatic top-up payment of between $10,000 and $40,000, depending on business location and whether they employ staff.

    Together, the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments have allocated $4.3 billion to ensure Victorian businesses can remain viable throughout lockdown, with automatic top-up payments and grants to help cover wages and overheads.

    The Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said today’s announcement builds on the Morrison Government’s $45 billion in direct economic support delivered to Victorian households and business, since the start of the pandemic.

    “The Morrison Government understands the significant impact extended lockdowns have on individuals and businesses right across Victoria.”

    “We will continue to support Victorians, with our ongoing economic assistance to meet the challenges of the Delta strain.”

    “Already, the Commonwealth has provided $1.3 billion in COVID-19 disaster payments to Victorians, supporting the incomes of around 500,000 individuals and in partnership with the State Government, committed more than $4 billion to small and medium sized businesses over course of this lockdown.”

    “But there is light at the end of the tunnel. By sticking to the National Plan, agreed to by State and Territory leaders, we can safely ease restrictions and open up our economy.”

    “And as we progress towards our vaccinations targets of 70 to 80 per cent, the Morrison Government will continue to work closely with the State Government to support Victorian businesses through this difficult and challenging time.”

    Over the course of the pandemic, the Victorian Government has provided more than $10 billion in direct financial support for businesses, including $3.1 billion in cash grants to more than 130,000 businesses since the May/June restrictions period.

    Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas said the Victorian Government understood the importance of maintaining a genuine partnership with the state’s small and medium-sized businesses.

    “Businesses of all colours and shades have shown great resilience and we’ll continue to back them as we move towards the levels of vaccination that we need in order to open up again in a sustained way,” Mr Pallas said.

    “We are responding to changing circumstances with a package that is bigger than anything we’ve announced before, and it’s the right thing to do. It’s right for the dedicated business owners across the state and it’s right for their workers.”

    “This package will support our hardest-hit sectors and businesses and ensure they can keep paying the expenses that don’t go away just because the doors are shut.”

    Victorian Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula said the move to a tiered system of funding for the Business Costs Assistance Program recognised the cumulative impact of an extended period of lockdown.

    “It means businesses with more workers will have greater support to maintain those numbers in coming weeks as we look to a future with high levels of vaccination and greater freedoms,” Mr Pakula said.

    “These are hard yards being done right now, but the rewards will be significant. In the meantime, we’ll continue to stand by Victorian businesses and their workers.”

    Details about Victorian business support payments is available at business.vic.gov.au.

    Business Costs Assistance Program Round 4

    Funding of up to $1.6 billion will support about 132,000 businesses across multiple sectors who were recipients of the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two or July Extension.

    Businesses throughout Victoria will receive automatic payments of $2,800 a week (annual payroll below $650,000), $5,600 a week (payroll of 650,000 to $3 million) or $8,400 (payroll of $3 million to $10 million) to cover ongoing costs such as wages, rent, utilities and insurance.

    Businesses will remain eligible while they are unable to operate due to public health restrictions.

    Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021

    Licensed hospitality businesses that have previously received grants under the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 or July Extension programs will receive automatic payments of $5,000, $10,000 and $20,000.

    Payment amounts are tiered according to premises capacity: $5,000 for a capacity of up to 99 patrons or where patron capacity is not specified, $10,000 for a capacity of 100 to 499 patrons, and $20,000 for a capacity of 500 or more.

    Up to $289 million funding will support more than 9,300 premises impacted by lockdown.

    Hospitality businesses will remain eligible while they are unable to operate due to public health restrictions.

    Small Business COVID Hardship Fund

    The Small Business COVID Hardship Fund will receive a $448 million boost, increasing the total grant amount available to small and medium-sized businesses from $14,000 to $20,000 in recognition of the impact of the lockdown extension.

    The Fund now stands at $700 million, providing support for up to 35,000 businesses. Some 16,000 businesses that have already received a Small Business COVID Hardship Fund grant will receive an automatic top-up payment of $6,000.

    This program supports businesses that have been ineligible for Victorian Government business support programs since May but have experienced a reduction in revenue of at least 70 per cent. This includes businesses that are legally allowed to operate but are restricted in their ability to generate revenue.

    Applications for the Small Business COVID Hardship Fund will close on 10 September.

    Alpine Support Package – September Top-Up

    Alpine businesses will share in $11.2 million in support through another automatic top-up payment of between $10,000 and $40,000.

    These payments will assist alpine businesses through the remainder of the ski season, with a top-up payment available for approximately 430 businesses based on and off the mountain.

    For off-mountain businesses, the payment will be $10,000, for on-mountain business with no employees, $20,000, and for on-mountain businesses with employees, $40,000.

    COVID-19 Disaster Payments

    Eligible workers across the state who lose hours of work due to the lockdown will be able to access the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Disaster Payment, as will individuals who are sole-trader business owners who lose work and that do not qualify for Victorian Government support programs.

    The COVID-19 Disaster Payment is administered through Services Australia, with the Federal Government funding the areas declared a Commonwealth hotspot and the Victorian Government assuming responsibility to fund payments in locked-down areas that are not deemed to be official hotspots.

    The payment is set at $450 for people who have lost from eight to 20 hours work or a full day of work (over seven days), and $750 for 20 hours or more of work lost. People who receive certain Commonwealth income support are eligible to receive a $200 payment where they have lost eight hours or more of work due to the lockdowns.

    Victorian micro-businesses and sole trader business owners who wish to apply for the Commonwealth COVID-19 Disaster Payment can access the Business Victoria Concierge Service on 13 22 15 and schedule an appointment that will provide them with assistance to make an application.


  8. Graeme Day

    Mark, what I said was correct The Victorian Premier is no fool he quickly realised where COVID was going and no one can stop it. He did the same deal as ALL States were offered and agreed based upon Vaccination, 70-80% etc etc.
    All we need now is for the rogue states to follow suit.
    I did not praise NSW over other states I even pointed out that Jobkeeper is NOT Jobsaver and how I think it isavantages the employer.
    We are on the right path and if the others don’t comply Cash the West Australian federal politician and Australian Attorney- General will take on these states under the Australian constitution Section 92. of which Gowan is fearful of unlike the botched job Clive Palmer attempted this will win as there already has been a referendum approving such action for these circumstance and their likewise ilk.


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