COVID-19 hardship grants: Northern beaches businesses delayed by planned maintenance

LOCKDOWN DAYS: Three months after the grants were announced, applicants have been delayed by planned maintenance. Picture: Supplied
LOCKDOWN DAYS: Three months after the grants were announced, applicants have been delayed by planned maintenance. Picture: Supplied

HARDSHIP grants may now be available to northern beaches businesses, but planned online maintenance has delayed applications even further.

The grants of $3000 and $5000 were announced three months ago, but have only just become available to help businesses hardest hit by the sudden lockdowns during the Avalon COVID-19 cluster.

While applications opened on Friday, by that night the Service NSW website was welcoming users with a message saying: "This transaction is not available at this time. Try again later."

"Online service maintenance As a result of planned maintenance of the Australian Business Register (ABR), this online transaction will be unavailable from 11pm Friday, April 30 to 11pm Sunday, May 2. We apologise for any inconvenience caused," the Service NSW message read.

On February 4, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet announced the grants were coming and said the NSW Government was committed to supporting businesses while keeping people and communities safe.

"The northern beaches community and businesses did an outstanding job in helping control the spread of the virus at a critical time, and unfortunately that had a material impact on many businesses," he said.

For businesses keen to apply, there's two tiers of help available - $3000 for eligible small businesses that suffered at least a 30 per cent decline in turnover due to the northern beaches lockdown; and $5000 available for a 50 per cent decline in turnover.

Pittwater MP Rob Stokes the grants help cover business operating expenses - such as utilities, rent, financial advice and marketing.

"These cash grants are an important component in a targeted support package for local businesses - which also includes the Dine & Discover voucher program, the $1500 small business fees and charges rebate, and the major surfing event recently held at North Narrabeen," he said.

TESTING TIMES: Thousands of people flocked to get a COVID-19 test during the Avalon cluster. Picture: Simon Bennett

TESTING TIMES: Thousands of people flocked to get a COVID-19 test during the Avalon cluster. Picture: Simon Bennett

"It's great to have this assistance available, and to see people out and about enjoying this beautiful time of the year and supporting our local businesses."

The grants can be used by businesses that don't qualify for the Dine & Discover program.

The Northern Beaches Small Business Hardship Grants will be open for applications from local small businesses and not-for-profit organisations until 11.59pm on June 11, 2021.

Applications for the Northern Beaches Small Business Hardship Grant and the Small Business Fees and Charges Rebate can be submitted online via the Service NSW app or website, or by calling Service NSW on 13 77 88.

Eligibility

Tier One: $3000 grant

Small businesses and not-for-profits that were subject to the Public Health (COVID-19 Northern Beaches) Order 2020 ('the Northern Beaches Public Health Order') will be eligible for a one-off $3,000 tier one Northern Beaches Small Business Hardship Grant if they:

  • Are a business or a Not-for-Profit Organisation with fewer than 20 full-time equivalent staff (FTE), including non-employing entities;
  • Have an Australian Business Number (ABN) registered in, or they can demonstrate they are, as at 1 December 2020, physically located and primarily operating in the Northern Beaches Local Government Area (LGA);
  • Experienced a decline in turnover of at least 30 per cent due to the Northern Beaches Public Health Order over a minimum two-week period from 19 December 2020 to 10 February 2021 compared to the same time last year;
  • Have total Australian wages below the NSW Government 2020-21 payroll tax threshold of $1,200,000 as at 1 July 2020;
  • Have an annual turnover of more than $75,000 as at 1 March 2020; and
  • Had unavoidable business costs during the Northern Beaches lockdown (e.g rent), for which there is no other government support available.

Tier Two: $5000 grant

Small businesses and not-for-profits that were subject to the Northern Beaches Public Health Order will be eligible for a one-off $5,000 tier two Northern Beaches Small Business Hardship Grant if they meet all the eligibility criteria for the $3,000 tier one grant, except they must:

  • Have experienced a decline in turnover of at least 50 per cent due to the Northern Beaches Public Health Order over a minimum two-week period from 19 December 2020 to 10 February 2021 compared to the same time last year.

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