A new $3 billion support package is welcome but businesses need restrictions to relax further to survive, the head of Bendigo's business body says.
On Sunday the state government unveiled the new business support package, which includes $1.1 billion in cash grants, as well as tax and fee relief.
"I think any support businesses can get in the current environment is well and truly worthwhile," Be.Bendigo chief executive officer Dennis Bice said.
More COVID-19 news: One active coronavirus case remaining in Greater Bendigo
But he said restrictions needed to ease further than what was outlined in the government's reopening plan, to the point that businesses could get up and running again.
"The reality is, they'll only survive if they can get back to work, get back to operating, and have a future to work towards," Mr Bice said.
While financial support was beneficial, he said, there was a danger such funding was propping up businesses that would not be able to survive the restrictions.
Premier Daniel Andrews has said the path out of lockdown has to be taken steadily to avoid a third wave of COVID-19 infections.
But Mr Bice said it was pleasing to see specific support for hospitality in the new package, as well as funding for business groups and chambers of commerce to support their members.
Under the support package, businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million could be eligible for grants of $10,000, $15,000 or $20,000, depending on their size.
There will be a $251 million fund to support licensed venues.
Eligible venues in regional Victoria can receive grants of $10,000 to $25,000, depending on their venue's capacity, and liquor licence fees are waived for 2021.
Payroll tax for businesses of payrolls up to $10 million will be deferred for the full 2020-21 financial year.
Chambers of commerce and business groups can apply for grants of up to $20,000.
The package also includes a $20 million program to support small businesses adapt to online and digital operation.
Industry Recovery Minister Martin Pakula said he expected grant applications to open this week.