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  • Writer's pictureCDG Chartered Accounting

Victorian Business Grants 2: What is the Sole Trader Support Fund and the Outdoor Eating Package?

A few days ago, we authored a post explaining an overview of the Victorian Government’s $3 Billion Business Support Package. In it, we discussed two of the grants in detail, the Business Support Fund Round 3, and the Licensed Venue Fund, and how they interact with each other.

This post will look at some of the other grants available, particularly for those businesses without staff. To recap, the recent round of funding includes the below:

- Business Support Fund (Third Round)

- Licensed Venue Fund (Hospitality Only)

- Sole Trader Support Fund

- Alpine Support Grants

- Business Chambers and Trader Groups Grants

- The Melbourne City Recovery Fund

- Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package (Hospitality)

- A number of other schemes, deferrals, and tax waivers.

The Sole Trader Support Fund is a significant offering as it is open to ‘non-employing Victorian Sole Traders’. This grant is not open to other entities such as partnerships, companies, or trusts. The fund allows up to $100 million in grants for eligible Sole Traders of a maximum $3000 each. The key eligibility criteria that will exclude many sole traders is the commercial premises requirement. The sole trader must operate from a commercial

premises as a tenant, licensee, owner/occupier or operator of a registered ‘mobile food premises’ which has a permit or commercial agreement to operate at specific premises. Note you must have been operating in this way for at least 6 months before applying.

Essentially, you must be paying some form of commercial occupancy costs. Sole traders that work from home, even in a designated area will not qualify for this grant, and the property they are operating from must be a commercial one. In addition to this, you must have no employees (no Worksafe Registration and Annual Payroll less than $7,500), operate in Victoria (as per the Australian Business Register), and be operating the business under one of the listed ANZSIC codes, which are industries with significant restrictions. The Sole Trader must also be nominated as an ‘eligible business participant’ under the Jobkeeper scheme and have an ABN and GST Registration as at the 14th of September 2020. The commercial premises criteria will exclude many businesses, so be sure that you meet this requirement before making an application.

Hospitality Venues are now also eligible for the Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package, due to open for applications today. This grant, unlike the Business Support Fund and Licensed Venue Fund, is non-exclusive, in that you can apply for this grant, and still apply for the Business Support Fund or Licensed Venue Fund. It is intended to assist hospitality businesses to move their venue outside and provides a grant of up to $5,000 for practical items like furniture, umbrellas, and screens for outdoor dining. This grant is simple, and all restaurants considering an outdoor offering should apply. Eligibility criteria are that the business operate in Victoria (but NOT in the City of Melbourne local area), the business holds a valid Class 2 or Class 3 Service Sector Certificate of Registration, and the business is registered with Worksafe. Funds are able to be used for marketing, purchase of equipment, training of staff and any other costs associated with expanding or adapting to outdoor dining.

Grants are often complicated processes, and although many COVID-19 related grants are streamlined, you should always consult an experienced Chartered Accounting Firm prior to lodging an application, to ensure you are eligible, but also to ensure the grant you are applying for is the most beneficial to your circumstances. After all, if you are going through the effort of a grant application, at least do it properly!

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