Today is my second last day at work until October 18th. As I’ve mentioned before, Paul Matthews (ex-Visit Vic and VTIC) is filling in for me. He will be monitoring my emails and is there for you.
Paul and I were chatting yesterday about the recent Covid case in Daylesford and exposure site in Woodend and the impact on tourism. One thing is for sure…it’s a case of when, not if, we get another case in our region.
We spoke with a crisis management expert in State Govt about how we should, as an industry, respond next time. We have also spoken to a number of you.
Where we landed, was that we will share a ‘play book’ or framework with you soon. This will help guide you as you make decisions about how to respond, and what protocols to follow that will enable you to remain open (if allowed) and protect your staff, loved ones, customers and ultimately, business.
It is not my (or Paul’s) place to provide my opinion on what you should do next time. It is our place, however, to work with the experts to give you the tools you need to help make an informed decision. My previous boss, the head of Parks Australia used to say: ‘process is your friend’. These are words I quote often.
We’ll share the guiding principles with you ASAP.
You might have seen or heard me on the media lately. I have been pushing hard for the continuation of the business support measures (BCAF and LHVF) that are in place for regional Victorian tourism and hospitality businesses. The withdrawal of support because regional Victoria is open remains a risk. Of course our position here is clear: while Melbourne is in lockdown, regional tourism and hospitality businesses are in lockdown by proxy. If support is not in place, businesses might close, and staff might be let go. The medium term ramifications of this are huge.
For now, some support measures are in place. While they are not what have asked for, they are something. There is a detailed list of what is in place below.
We are also sharing opportunities for free training for VTIC members. See the bottom of this email for more information on how to apply.
Of course, the other key advocacy piece from our side is density limits. 10 people indoors is not sustainable. And this absolutely strengthens the need for support.
One final thing: Paul, in addition to acting as CEO is rolling out our Industry Development program between now and mid-2022. Stay tuned for opportunities available to DMT partners.
Anyway, I am signing off until 18 October. Paul is great and you’re in good hands. Of course the amazing DMT team is still here, working hard for you. So it’s business as usual.
See you next month,
Business Grants and Financial Support
Economic Survival Package
Information on the latest restrictions in place and recovery support available to help your workplace plan and respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Provides support and advice for businesses, workers, and the community.
Business Costs Assistance Program grants and top-up payments
The Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two July Extension provides eligible businesses that had not previously applied for the Program in June, or have since become eligible, with the opportunity to apply for $4800 in support. (Closes 20 August 2021)
- Business Costs Assistance Program – Round 4
- Eligible businesses will receive additional payments of $2800, $5600 or $8400 per week with payment size determined according to their 2019-20 annual payroll size.
Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 July Extension
The Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 July Extension provides eligible businesses that did not apply for the program in June 2021 with the opportunity to apply for $7200 in support. (Closes 20 August 2021)
- Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund
- Second prong of the $367 million package announced
- Payments of between $5000 and $20,000 will be paid in the weeks after August 12 to more than 7000 licensed hospitality venues in metropolitan Melbourne that received support under the same program through previous lockdowns.
- Venues with capacity for up to 99 patrons will receive $5000 grants, while venues with a capacity of between 100 and 499 will receive $10,000 grants, and venues with a capacity of 500 or above will receive $20,000 grants.
COVID-19 Disaster Payment (Vic)
Support if you couldn’t work due to a Victoria COVID-19 public health order and don’t get a payment from the government (e.g. Centrelink payments). This is a lump-sum payment for people who lost work and income due to a Victoria COVID-19 public health order.
- The payment is set at $450 for people who have lost from eight and up 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.
- COVID-19 Disaster Payment – Further funding allocated on 12 August
Commercial tenancy relief for Victorians in small business
To support Victoria’s small and medium-sized businesses, the Victorian Government is making it a requirement for commercial landlords to provide rent relief that matches their tenants’ fall in turnover in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), where the tenant is eligible for this support.
Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund (Round 3)
The Victorian Government is offering grants of up to $3,000 per tenancy to landlords of property subject to a Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme. (Closes 31 October 2021)
Coronavirus liquor licence fee waivers
Businesses that have paid for a renewable liquor licence for 2020 will be reimbursed their licence fee and those yet to pay will have the fee waived. The State Revenue Office will administer the reimbursement, regardless of whether the licence fee was paid to it or the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.
COVIDSafe Deep Cleaning Rebate (if listed as an exposure site)
Rebates to help businesses cover the cost of cleaning after closing a worksite due to a suspected or confirmed coronavirus (COVID‑19) case.
Payroll Tax Deferrals
- Waiving of 2019-20 payroll tax for employers with annual Victorian taxable wages up to $3 million – announced on 21 March 2020.
- Exempting additional payments under the JobKeeper program from payroll tax – announced on 5 May 2020.
- Deferring 2020-21 payroll tax liabilities for employers with Victorian payrolls up to $10 million, based on their 2019-20 financial year returns, until the 2021-22 financial year – announced on 13 September 2020.
- Waiving of 2020-21 and 2021-22 payroll tax for eligible employers after applying the New Jobs payroll tax credit – announced in the 2020-21 Budget on 24 November 2020.
Relief and Recovery Fund
The $1 billion federal government fund is designed to support regions, communities and industry sectors affected by the coronavirus. Supported industries include aviation, agriculture, fisheries, tourism and the arts.
Employment assistance and subsidies
Jobs Victoria Fund
The Jobs Victoria Fund is providing $250 million in wage subsidies to assist Victorian businesses to employ at least 10,000 people who are looking for work. Jobs Victoria wage subsidies of up to $20,000 are available for eligible employers who hire eligible jobseekers. Wage subsidies can be used to meet the costs of taking on new employees for the first 12 months of employment.
JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme
The JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme is an incentive for businesses to employ additional young job seekers aged 16–35 years. Eligible employers can access the JobMaker Hiring Credit for each eligible additional employee they hire between 7 October 2020 and 6 October 2021.
Businesses or group training organisations that employ an Australian apprentice before March 31, 2022 may be eligible for a subsidy of 50 per cent of wages for a 12-month period. The maximum payment is $7000 per quarter and there is no cap on the number of eligible trainees/apprentices.
Business mentoring and counselling
Business recovery and resilience mentoring
Delivering a business mentoring program in partnership with VCCI to help small businesses navigate the economic challenges posed by COVID-19 restrictions. Businesses can receive up to four one-on-one mentoring sessions over a three-month period. It covers topics such as
- Business recovery
- Market transformation
- Digital literacy and engagement
- Market and supply chain diversification
- Reskilling and training
(Closes 31 December 2021)
Access advice, support, and resources for your business’ industry.
Partners in Wellbeing Helpline
Free, confidential, one on one support to improve your financial, business and emotional wellbeing.
Small Business Digital Adaptation Program
A Victorian government initiative that allows eligible businesses to trial and then receive access to digital products, tools, and training they can use to build digital capability in their operations.
Seasonal Workforce Support Package
The $17 million Seasonal Workforce Support Package is Helping address seasonal workforce shortages brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. (e.g. contributing to the costs of quarantine)
Mental Health during COVID-19
Advice and resources to maintain your and your employees’ mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Support for Families & Individuals
Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment
This initiative provides a $1500 one-off payment to help you during the 14 days you need to self-isolate, quarantine or care for someone who has been directed to do so.
COVID-19 Test Isolation Payments
Workers can apply for a $450 payment that provides financial support while they self-isolate to wait for the results of their COVID-19 test results.
Follow this link for more info:
Victorian Energy Saver
If you are having trouble paying your energy bill, there are rules which mean your energy company must let you know what help is available.
Low income households may be eligible for a $250 once off payment for energy bills.
- Isolation and Quarantine – extra help and support
- Australian Red Cross Relief Packages
- Extreme Hardship Support Program (extra $5.9 million extended to 31 Dec 21)
- Food Relief
- Boost to Emergency Relief For Victoria’s Most Vulnerable ($4.5 million package)
- International student support
- No Interest Loans scheme
- Help with electricity, gas and water bills
Economic survival package
COVID-19 business information
Australian Government COVID-19 information and support for business
Find financial assistance, eligibility and timing for government support for Australian businesses impacted by COVID-19.
Free training opportunity for VTIC Members
Funded by the Victorian Government, these programs aim to support Victoria’s tourism businesses to re-open strongly and reconnect with customers and key markets across Australia.
Tourism Digital BizKeeper
Open to all Victorian tourism businesses
The Tourism Digital BizKeeper is a practical and interactive program that will walk you through the fundamentals of a digital presence that your customers will seek, and you will keep for many years to come. The program will give you the digital skills you need if you don’t have the luxury of having a digital marketer in house.
Who should apply?
- Tourism, events and hospitality businesses in Victoria (from both Greater Melbourne and regional).
- The program is best suited for businesses that do not have a digital expert in house.
- This is a foundation course, so no previous training is required. We will be running a Digital BizKeeper 202 program in 2022 for those a bit more advanced.
- Applicants must be able to participate in weekly online sessions and activities.
What will you learn in Tourism Digital BizKeeper 101?
- What strategies, tools and techniques a smart tourism business needs to have in place to get more leads and convert more enquiries into bookings.
- The fundamentals of what makes a good website to convert leads into enquiries and bookings.
- Identify your markets and gain a competitive advantage through research, content and psychology.
- Social media in 2021 – what works and what doesn’t.
Applications will remain open until allocations are exhausted.
21 October – 2 December 2021 | Sessions 1-6 (weekly)
This program is FREE of charge to successful applicants (valued at $1,500).
Look after yourselves.
Steve, Paul, and the DMT Team