VICTORIAN businesses will receive more financial assistance during the state's lockdown with the announcement of a $2.34 billion support package.
Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula said the package, co-funded by the federal government, is expected to support 175,000 businesses affected by the extended lockdown.
"I think businesses will be thankful for that level of certainty over the next four weeks," Mr Pakula said.
"If it needs to be extended at a later date, we will have more to announce then."
If lockdown is eased in regional Victoria and businesses are allowed to resume operating, which could occur in the coming week depending on the distribution of Victoria's COVID cases, they would still be eligible for the full first fortnight's payment Mr Pakula confirmed.
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.
These 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.
Mr Pakula said the move to a tiered system of funding 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," he 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."
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