New Council Procurement Policy increases support for local businesses
At its meeting on Tuesday 23 June, Council adopted a new procurement policy. Importantly for local businesses, the new policy has doubled the weighting of the criterion for local content when evaluating tenders. Including a 10% weighting for local content (compared to 5% in the previous policy) will create greater opportunities for local suppliers when tendering for goods and services used by Council. The following extracts from the new policy should be noted:
4.2. Support of Local Business and Industry
Council recognises the need to support the local economy, To encourage this, Council will actively seek offers from local suppliers where possible by:
- encouraging participation from local suppliers and
- including an evaluation criteria that gives a maximum weighting of 10% for local content where considered relevant by the Tender Panel.
To accommodate this support, Council has encouraged local traders to register on Council's e-tender board. This will enable the traders to be emailed details of any tender opportunities within their field of registration.
'Local content' means any business based in the Shire boundaries or with a branch based within the Shire boundaries.
Central Goldfields Business Support
Council has developed a financial response package to assist local businesses with the impact of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. The support includes:
- Payments of local suppliers weekly to improve business cash flow;
- Waived rent for businesses occupying Council buildings and facilities;
- Dedicated business contact officer within Council;
- Dedicated COVID-19 Business Support page on Council's website;
- Access to Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Support in partnership with Committee for Maryborough.
For full details on what is included in the financial response package click here.
Temperature Testing Tools Delivered Across the State
Infrared thermometers are being distributed across the state, along with coronavirus testing clinic being set up in popular tourism destinations along the Great Ocean Rd and Alps.
The thermometers are being distributed to local councils, and out Victorian Information Centre is delivering to the accommodation operators and tourism venues. Please contact the VIC for more information on 5460 4511 or EMAIL
Local Business Contact Information
For more information about Business in Central Goldfields contact Alisha, Andrea, Lee or Sally at the Visitor Information Centre on 5460 4511 or 0438 868 420 or email email@example.com
Council, together with the Committee for Maryborough are regularly updating the Visit Maryborough and Surrounds, Committee for Maryborough and Central Goldfields Shire Council Facebook pages to encourage our local community to support local business.
Economic Development and Tourism and Events Strategies
The 2020-2025 Economic Development and Tourism and Events strategies were adopted at our Ordinary Meeting of Council on Tuesday 24 March, 2020. While we need to focus on the economic impacts of the current pandemic crisis in the short term, these strategies will be important in the recovery process and building economic resilience over time. Both strategies are available to view here.
There are a number of free training opportunities available for businesses to participate in during this time.
Victorian Chamber of Commerce Virtual Training Workshops
The 12 month Free Essentials membership gives any business who would like to sign up, a $700 credit and the opportunity to enroll in any of our current online/virtual courses using that credit to cover the cost of the course. Businesses can also enroll in face to face courses which have been scheduled in the months ahead for when restrictions begin to lift. Visit VCCI to view the current 24 courses available in virtual training and more will be added in the coming weeks.
Business Victoria Free Training - Upskill my Business
Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Business Victoria has online training via the Digital Opportunities Roadshow during June, 2020.
A number of these training events have a specific regional focus. Bookings are essential. Find out more here or phone 13 22 15.
Planning your Business Recovery Resource
This resource by Deloitte looks like a highly practical self-help program for small to medium businesses to map out a path to recovery:
Small Business Roadmap for Recovery and Beyond Workbook
Business Webinars at La Trobe University
Tuesday 14 July, 12pm - Jan Vydra, Executive Director - Fresh Leaf Farms Limited
Tuesday 11 August, 12pm - Joanna Yan, Entrepreneur and Venture Capital/Investment Analyst
Biznet Breakfast Tuesdays July and August - 7.30am to 8.15am
City of Greater Bendigo
At the CoGB one of the key initiatives they are currently delivering is a weekly webinar around key topics filmed locally and presented by local businesses. They are likely to continue to run these for the next 6 months. These are being streamed every Tuesday at 12pm but can also be watched after the event for those who can’t make it at the time. These may be useful for some of your business owners particularly as there are topics around employment law, cash flow and HR among others, VISIT HERE
E-Training for Health Professionals
This training is for care workers across all health care settings, including:
- primary care
- aged care (both in residential aged care facilities or with visiting carers at home, including cleaners and cooks)
- disability (both in residential/shared care facilities or part-time carers in people’s homes, including cleaners and cooks)
- allied health
- Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services
- dental practices, including dentists, nurses, cleaners and receptionists
Melbourne Innovation Centre Business Resilience Program
Melbourne Innovation Centre has launched their ‘Business Resilience Program’ which will assist Victorian SMEs affected by COVID-19. Support includes FREE access to virtual mentoring, online workshops, and resources.
- A Business Resilience Mentoring webinar with four hours of free mentoring with a business resilience expert, and the session is guided by your needs
- A range of Business Resilience Workshops, that so far include:
- Create a Crisis Management Plan
- Pivoting Your Business Model
- Staying Connected with Customers
- Working on Wellbeing
ATO Small Business Webinars
- Learn how to make the move from AUSkey to myGovID via this free webinar. The myGovID app is an easy and secure way to prove who you are when using government online services. Register at: myGovID Small Business Digital Identity
- Is your small business affected by COVID-19? Come to this free 60-minute webinar to find out how the Government's stimulus package can help your small business. Register at: Tax support for small business
Small Business Australia Survival Plan
Small Business Australia has developed a five-step small business survival plan to help businesses in the current climate. Get your free copy of their SME survival plan “How to Stay in Business and Reach the Other Side” HERE
Small Business Guide for Creating a Mental Health Plan
The Victorian Small Business Commission has developed a small business owner's guide to creating a mental health plan in response to coronavirus (COVID-19).
It comes with an easy to use template for small business owners to build their own tailored plan and an example plan to use as a guide point.
If you would like more information about their resource or other supports we provide, please contact Cate Hamill on 9651 9114 or EMAIL or VISIT HERE
Tourism Accommodation Support Program
As announced on Tuesday 30 June 2020, specific postcodes in Victoria will return to Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The return to Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions mean some residents within these hot zones will have to cancel travel bookings to regional Victoria during the period, placing additional strain on accommodation providers.
Accommodation providers in regional Victoria impacted by these cancellations will be able to apply for direct financial support of up to $225 per booking per night through the new Tourism Accommodation Support Program.
Sustaining Creative Workers’ grants
These will provide funds for Victorian-based independent creatives and micro organisations with at least five years of professional experience. Grants of $5,000 will be available for individuals, and $10,000 for micro organisations and businesses. An additional $2,500 in access funding will be available for creatives with a disability, and disability-led organisations from Victorian Government’s $13 million Strategic Investment Fund for Non-Government Arts and Cultural Organisations. Details of the latest grant recipients available HERE
Australian Government’s $27 million Relief & Recovery Fund for the Cultural & Creative Sector
There’s dedicated financial support immediately available:
- Indigenous art centres and Indigenous art fairs supported through the Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support program will have access to $7 million to maintain operations, support artists and their communities and enable the continued creation of artwork (and income)
- The charity, ‘Support Act’, will receive $10 million to provide immediate crisis relief to artists, crew and music and live performance workers who have lost employment or are experiencing hardship
- Artists and arts organisations in regional Australia will be able to access additional funding of $10 million through the Regional Arts Fund to develop new work and explore new delivery models.
For more information, see the Fact Sheets HERE
Sustainability Victoria Grants - One Grant open
- Up to $50k on a 1:1 funding basis under their Investment Support Grants – Packaging to help Victorian organisations to reduce packaging waste disposed in landfill. Applications close Friday 5 March 2021.
Financial Counselling Available - Small and Rural Business
Free financial counselling available for small and agricultural businesses from Sunraysia Rural Counselling Service. Call them directly on 1300 769 489 or visit HERE
Australian Banking Association
The Australian Banking Association (ABA) has stated all small businesses hit by the Coronavirus Pandemic will be able to access a six-month deferral of all loan repayments.
Assistance can include:
- A deferral of scheduled loan repayments
- Waiving fees and charges
- Interest free periods or no interest rate increases
- Debt consolidation to help make repayments more manageable.
If your business is affected by COVID-19 speak directly to your bank to receive a six month business loan payment deferral.
Free Membership with the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
The Victorian Chamber (VCCI) is able to assist members. The Chamber is waiving any new entry level membership, so businesses in the region are encouraged to apply. Members of the Chamber have access to industry updates and training webinars. For more information visit Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Assistance and advice with Energy Bill payments
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has set reasonable expectations of energy companies to protect householders and small business customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For suggestions how to save energy while living and working from home during this period visit the AER website
The Essential Services Commission also has relevant information about the obligations for energy suppliers, noting:
“We have reminded them of their obligations to help customers who are having trouble paying their bills. Ensuring those sectors can cope with an expected increase in the number of households and small businesses who need help with their bills is an immediate focus for us.”
More information can be found here
If you are experiencing difficulty paying your energy bills at this time please contact your energy provider.
Citipower and Powercor Support
A network relief package is still available for residential and small business customers who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 situation. The relief is in the form of either rebates or deferred payments for network charges on electricity bills incurred between 1 April and 30 June 2020.
The organisation is continuing to review all critical works requiring planned outages. Where possible, they are breaking work programs down into smaller packages with shorter duration outages or using generators or network transfers to provide back-up resources. The news page on HERE has more information about our extensive works program which is progressing to plan in 2020. This includes the Melbourne CBD Security of Supply project and the continuing investment in bushfire mitigation through the Rapid Earth Fault Current Limiter rollout.
Central Highlands Water (CHW)
CHW are here to support the community. You can contact them for confidential support via our website Live Chat 8.15am - 10.00pm Monday to Friday, via phone (free call) 1800 061 514 or email
NBN Relief and Assistance Package
The relief fund, created following a short industry consultation led by NBN Co, is aimed at helping internet providers connect low-income households with home schooling needs, supporting emergency and essential services, and assisting small and medium businesses and residential customers who are facing financial hardship.
To help unconnected low-income families with school children get connected, NBN will be waiving its $37 monthly wholesale charge for internet providers for many services on the 25/5 Mbps speed tier between April and September.
For more information, visit NBN Working From Home
Victorian Government Assistance
$10,000 Grants to Help Businesses During Pandemic
The $500 million Business Support Fund will support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) within the hardest hit sectors, including hospitality, tourism, accommodation, arts and entertainment, and retail. Eligible businesses can apply for a one-off $10,000 grant which can be used towards costs such as utilities, rent and salaries, and activities to support business continuity planning.
Through Business Support Fund established by the Victorian Government, small businesses are eligible for a $10,000 grant if they:
- employ staff
- are subject to closure or highly impacted by shutdown restrictions
- have a turnover of more than $75,000
- have payroll of less than $650,000.
To be eligible, businesses must also be operating in the hardest hit sectors including:
- Accommodation and food services (e.g. cafes, restaurants, caterers, hotels, motels)
- Arts and entertainment (e.g. cinemas, performing arts venues, creative spaces, performers, museums)
- Health and beauty services (e.g. hairdressers, barbers, beauty therapists)
- Sport and recreation (e.g. gyms, swimming pools, indoor climbing, play centres)
- Tourism (e.g. tourist transport, tour operators, tour arrangement)
- Retail, other than supermarket, groceries, liquor and pharmacy businesses
- Other services (e.g. real estate agents)
For eligibility and to apply visit the Business Support Fund Program
Working for Victoria Fund
Under the $500 million Working for Victoria Fund, displaced workers will be eligible to apply for different types of work. This presents opportunities for paid work and a chance to contribute to Victoria’s ability to manage this event and support the community. Register your interest.
Payroll Tax Refund
Businesses with annual taxable wages up to $3 million will have their payroll tax for the 2019-20 financial year waived, giving $550 million back to businesses who need it. Eligible businesses must continue to lodge returns but do not need to make further payments for this financial year. These businesses can also defer paying payroll tax for the first quarter of the 2020-21 financial year. More information.
Commercial tenancies relief scheme
The Victorian Government will immediately introduce a commercial tenancy relief scheme to alleviate the financial hardship faced by tenants and landlords as a result of COVID-19. More information.
Land tax relief
Landowners who have at least one non-residential property and total taxable landholdings below $1 million have the option of deferring their 2020 land tax payment until after 31 December 2020. Landlords who provide tenants impacted by COVID-19 with rent relief may be eligible for a 25 per cent reduction on the property’s 2020 land tax. More information.
Liquor licence fees waived
Renewable liquor licence fees for 2020 will be waived. Businesses who have already paid will be reimbursed. More information.
Fast tracking outstanding supplier invoices
The Victorian Government will pay all outstanding supplier invoices within five business days - releasing up to $750 million into the economy earlier.
Rent relief for commercial tenants in government buildings
The Victorian Government will work directly with commercial tenants in government buildings who can apply for rent relief. Private landlords are also being encouraged to provide rent relief or holidays to help businesses.
Commonwealth Government Assistance
Under the JobKeeper program, businesses will be able to access a wages subsidy to continue paying their employees: a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum of six months.
The following information explains how you can enrol for the JobKeeper payment:
- Step 1 – Register your interest and subscribe for JobKeeper payment updates via the ATO.
- Step 2 – Check you and your employees meet the eligibility requirements.
- Step 3 – Pay at least $1,500 to each eligible employee per JobKeeper fortnight (the first JobKeeper fortnight is the period from 30 March to 12 April) deducting the correct amount of PAYG withholding tax from this payment.
- Step 4 – Notify your eligible employees that you are intending to claim the JobKeeper payment on their behalf and check they aren’t claiming JobKeeper payment through another employer or have nominated through another business.
- Step 5 – Send the JobKeeper employee nomination notice to your nominated employees to complete and return to you by the end of April if you plan to claim JobKeeper payment for April. Keep it on file and provide a copy to your registered tax agent if you are using one.
- Step 6 – From 20 April 2020, you can enrol directly with the ATO for the JobKeeper payment using the Business Portal. You must do this by the end of April to claim JobKeeper payments for April.
Extension for Instant Asset Write-Off Scheme
Under this scheme, eligible businesses are able to immediately write off the cost of each asset worth less than $150 00 and claim a tax deduction for the business portion of the purchase cost in the year the asset is first used or installed ready to use. Call your accountant or book-keeper for more information.
Boosting cash flow for employers
Up to $100,000 will be available for eligible small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) and not-forprofits (NFPs) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000. More information.
Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
The Commonwealth Government is temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will tailor solutions for owners or directors of business that are currently struggling due to coronavirus. More information.
Supporting the flow of credit - SME Guarantee Scheme
SMEs with a turnover of up to $50 million will be eligible to receive a guarantee of 50 per cent to SME lenders to support new short-term unsecured loans to be used for working capital. The Scheme will guarantee up to $40 billion of new lending. More information.
Increasing the instant asset write-off
The instant asset write-off (IAWO) threshold has been increased from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanded access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million) until 30 June 2020. More information.
Backing Business Investment (BBI)
BBI is a time limited 15-month investment incentive (through to 30 June 2021) to support business investment and economic growth over the short term by accelerating depreciation deductions. Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million will be able to deduct 50 per cent of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset’s cost. More information.
Supporting apprentices and trainees
Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Where a small business is not able to retain an apprentice, the subsidy will be available to a new employer that employs that apprentice. More information.
Assistance for affected regions, communities and industries
The Commonwealth Government is providing $1 billion to support regions, communities and industries most significantly affected by the coronavirus outbreak. A major relief package of up to $715 million is also available to support the airline industry. More information.
Fair Work Commission Provisional Variation to Modern Awards
Up to 103 modern awards, including the Hospitality Award, the Clerks-Private Sector Award and the Restaurant Award, have been varied to provide relief to workers impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic. The changes address unpaid pandemic leave and the flexibility to take annual leave at half pay. It is proposed the the variations are in place to 30th June 2020 (however they may be extended). For more information visit the Fair Work Commission.
Australian Energy Regulator Support
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has set reasonable expectations of energy companies to protect householders and small business customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To read more, visit General Information.
Assistance to Exporters
Increase in Export Market Development Grants
The Commonwealth Government has increased funding for the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG). Funding for the scheme will increase by $49.8 million in the 2019-20 financial year, allowing exporters and tourism businesses to get additional reimbursements for costs incurred in marketing their products and services around the world.
This increase supplements the additional $60 million already committed by the Government and brings EMDG funding to its highest level in more than 20 years at $207.7 million for the 2019-20 financial year. More information.
International Freight Assistance Mechanism The new $110 million International Freight Assistance Mechanism will assist Australia’s agricultural and fisheries sector by helping them export their high-quality produce into key overseas markets, with return flights bringing back vital medical supplies, medicines and equipment.
Exporters wishing to access the mechanism can register their interest or call the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment on (02) 6272 2444.
COVID-19 Export Capital Facility
The Commonwealth Government has established a $500 million COVID-19 Export Capital Facility to assist previously profitable Australian exporters whose businesses have been impacted by COVID-19.
Exporters will be able to access loans from $250,000 to $50 million under the Facility. The Facility will complement other measures announced by the Government which enable banks to support new and existing clients. Exporters should contact their banks in the first instance to determine what assistance may be available to them.
Visit the Export Finance Australia website or call 1800 093 724.
Agriculture Workforce Plan
The Victorian Government is helping businesses in rural, regional and outer metropolitan Victoria to meet their labour needs during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Businesses may also be eligible to receive:
- A daily travel-to-work allowance of up to $50 per employee to attract new staff if there are delays filling eligible job roles.
- Up to $200 per day for the cost of accommodating new employees to enable them to fill eligible roles if they were unable to be filled locally.
- For impacted businesses, between $1,000 and $100,000 to induct workers into new roles and deliver training that has been necessitated as a result of the pandemic
- Between $10,000 and $300,000 to cover up to 50 per cent of the cost of adapting workplaces to comply with COVID-19 health, safety and social distancing requirements or adapt to required business changes imposed from the COVID-19 pandemic
Businesses with urgent needs or those that would like to talk to someone about targeted support, should email the Agriculture Workforce Plan and a case manager will respond to them directly.
Victorian Country Market
The Stage Government has launched the Victorian Country Market - an e-commerce initiative to promote the best that regional Victoria has to offer. The program provides a digital platform for you to promote your business and receive support from local communities. From Sunday May 17 suppliers of the best produce, products and services from around regional Victoria will have the opportunity to sell products with the support of an online platform. The market will be a unique, purpose built site to reflect our Victorian community, and will continue to add new traders after the initial launch. The site will be ongoing, and all fees will be funded by the Victorian government over the next 12 months. To find out more and to register to be part of the market Click Here
Campaign to support local restaurants, hotels, clubs and cafes
Taylors Wines and Support Local are calling on all venues across Australia to visit www.localnightin.com.au and fill out the form to provide information about their venue’s at-home dining and drinking options available. Hundreds of venues have already thrown their support behind the campaign and registered with Support Local, a website dedicated to listing local restaurants who are currently operating and providing food and drink for their community during COVID-19.
The #LocalNightIn campaign will showcase the wide variety of restaurants, hotels, clubs and cafes on the list that are offering special takeaway, pick-up and delivery options to people in their local area. The list will then be used as part of a consumer-friendly platform for at-home diners to access and learn about the venues in their area that are still open for business.
Free online platform for Food and Beveridge Businesses ‘Fair Foodie’
The Fair Foodie platform allows vendors to sign up, free of charge, and create their own personalised digital shopfront. Each profile features images, videos, descriptions, products and pricing managed completely by the vendor. Vendors also have the opportunity to utilise the secure e-commerce facility should they wish to introduce online sales. Visit the website HERE
Small Business Roadmap resource: This resource by Deloitte looks like a highly practical self-help program for small to medium businesses to map out a path to recovery: Small Business Roadmap for Recovery and Beyond Workbook