25th March, 2021
A raft of measures designed to boost small business support in NSW have been announced, writes Nina Hendy.
Small business owners in New South Wales are expected to embrace a new rebate scheme that puts $1500 back in their pocket.
The rebate scheme has been designed to help tens of thousands of small businesses pay for local government fees and charges, such as licenses, council rates and registration fees. It will open next month.
The rebate comes as welcome relief given the economic suffering of last year, taking a little bit of heat off small businesses still grappling with the financial all-out from last year’s lockdowns.
The announcement coincides with once in a lifetime floods battering the state of NSW. Policyholders had lodged 11,700 insurance claims associated with devastating storms and flooding, with further claims made since those numbers were reported Tuesday, 23 March.
The Insurance Council of Australia said it’s too early to estimate the cost of the damage as access to inundated properties is restricted and many remain isolated. A tally of businesses impacted is yet to be made public.
Meanwhile, some Australian banks have come to the party, announcing flood relief packages in the past day or two to assist customers and staff impacted by the devastating floods.
National Australia Bank has set up a Disaster Relief Fund of up to $3 million, with $2,000 grants available to impacted customers and colleagues immediately. Heritage Bank has announced a series of measures, including hardship provisions, waiving fees associated with restructuring loans needed because of flood impacts and waiving or refunding fees incurred due to the impact of the floods.
These announcements alongside the rebate scheme will help hundreds of businesses and entrepreneur and family businesses across the state, ensuring they have more money in their pockets as the state continues its post-pandemic recovery.
The government said that many licence fee waivers are about to expire, and the government encourages small businesses below the new 2020/21 payroll tax threshold of $1.2 million to apply for the rebate scheme.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the Small Business Fees and Charges Rebate, announced in November’s Budget, would provide support for eligible small businesses, sole traders and non-profit organisations. He said that a small pilot program would start this month before it rolls out statewide.
“It’s important that we support businesses to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and encourage business growth by reducing the cost of running a business,” Perrottet said.
The NSW Government has committed close to $500 million for the new scheme, which shows its commitment to small businesses, which in turn supports more than one million jobs, he says.
Businesses would be able to access the scheme via Service NSW, explains Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello.
“In the same vein as other support programs delivered by Service NSW during the pandemic, we want to ensure the application and redemption process is as seamless and intuitive as possible.
“We want small businesses to be spending as much time as possible serving customers and the minimum time possible dealing with government bureaucracy,” Dominello said.
Under the scheme, small businesses, sole traders and non-profit organisations can apply to be reimbursed up to $1500 for NSW and local government fees and charges that are related to the cost of doing business.
The scheme cannot be used for fees and charges specifically excluded under policy guidelines, such as fines and penalties, and will only be available for those charges and fees that are due and paid after 1 March, 2021.
It will roll out via Service NSW early April and will run until June 30, 2022. The scheme will allow eligible businesses to draw down on a $1500 credit to offset the cost of eligible NSW and local government fees and charges.
More information, including the program guidelines, are available here.