Program overview

The new $92 million Business Costs Assistance Program is part of the Victorian Government’s $143 million Circuit Breaker Action Business Support Package and will assist small businesses, including sole traders, in highly impacted sectors, such as hospitality, food wholesaling, tourism, events, and selected retail.

The program offers grants of $2000 to small businesses, including sole traders, regardless of whether they employ people or not. The grants will support businesses in eligible sectors who have incurred direct costs because of the circuit breaker action, such as the loss of perishable goods, flowers and booking cancellations, and cancellation fees and charges.

Businesses with an annual payroll of up to $3 million, whether they have employees or not, can receive grants of $2000.

Before submitting your application, please read all the information on this page, including the program guidelines and the frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Business Costs Assistance Program guidelines (PDF 258.94 KB)PDF icon

Business Costs Assistance Program guidelines (DOCX 1536.19 KB)DOCX icon

Who can apply for a grant?

To be eligible, you must:

  • be located within Victoria
  • be registered as operating in an eligible industry sector identified in the list of Eligible ANZSIC classes (as defined by the industry classification linked to the business’ ABN)
  • have incurred costs (as outlined in Section 5 of the guidelines) as a direct result of the circuit breaker action announced on 12 February 2021
  • have an annual Victorian payroll of up to $3 million in 2019-20 on an ungrouped basis
  • be registered for goods and services tax (GST) on 12 February 2021
  • hold an Australian business number (ABN) and have held that ABN at 12 February 2021.

Note on evidence of eligibility:

  • If you are an employing business, you will need to provide the WorkCover Employer Number (WEN) or WorkSafe Application Reference Number (WRN) linked to the business
  • Non-employing businesses (such as sole traders) need to provide an eligible proof of identity document.

Eligible sectors

For a list of eligible sectors please see the Eligible ANZSIC classes.

Or download:

List of Eligible ANZSIC Classes - Business Costs Assistance Program (PDF 195.89 KB)PDF icon

List of Eligible ANZSIC Classes - Business Costs Assistance Program (DOCX 82.79 KB)DOCX icon

Other eligibility conditions

  • Businesses that received a grant under the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund are not eligible for a grant under this program.
  • If accommodation businesses apply to both the Business Costs Assistance Program and the Victorian Accommodation Support Program, the maximum grant they are eligible for will be capped at the higher value of the two grants (not the aggregate/total of both grants).

For more information see Frequently asked questions (FAQs).

How much are the grants for this program?

Eligible businesses will receive a one-off payment of $2000.

What can the grants be used for?

The program seeks to assist eligible businesses that have incurred costs as a direct result of the circuit breaker action announced on 12 February 2021 which may include, but are not limited to:

  • the loss of perishable goods (e.g. food or flowers)
  • cancellation fees and charges (e.g. venue/performer/instructor)
  • booking cancellations
  • other costs and losses incurred due to the circuit breaker action that could not be reasonably avoided.

These costs may have been incurred prior to, on or after 12 February 2021. The costs must be incurred by the applying business, as defined by its ABN.

What do I need to apply for this grant?

When applying for this grant you will need:

  • a valid Australian business number (ABN) for your business in one of these eligible business sectors. The ANZSIC class linked to your ABN registration must be one of these eligible sectors.
  • to confirm and attest to the costs you incurred, and commit to retaining evidence of applicable costs for 12 months.
  • if you employ people, your WorkCover Employer Number (WEN) or, if this is yet to be issued, a WorkSafe Application Reference Number (WRN).
  • if you do not employ people, details of a current proof of identity document (Australian driver’s licence, Australian passport, Medicare card and Australian visa information and foreign passport).

Please make sure your ABN registration information and, where required, ASIC registration, or relevant regulator information, is current.

Incomplete or incorrect information may delay your application assessment. Please complete the application correctly and provide all relevant documentation.

Assessing your application

We will endeavour to process your application and notify you about the outcome within 10 business days. There may be delays if your application:

  • does not meet all the eligibility criteria
  • does not have correct evidence or documentation
  • requires you to make changes
  • is a duplicate application for the same business
  • has incorrect information, such as ABN, WorkCover Employee Number (WEN) or bank details (for successful applicants)
  • does not include current or accurate information registered with relevant regulators or partner agencies, such as the State Revenue Office, Australian Business Register or WorkSafe Victoria.

We consider the following circumstances when assessing your application:

  • any adverse findings by a regulator regarding a business
  • if your business is placed under external administration
  • if there is a petition to wind up or deregister a company or business
  • if your business is or becomes deregistered or unregistered (including cancellation or lapse in registration).

Applicants with multiple businesses

You can only apply for one grant per ABN. If you have separate ABNs for your businesses, you must submit separate applications for each ABN. Each business (each ABN) must satisfy all the eligibility criteria.

Not-for-profit organisations

Not-for-profit organisations with an annual turnover between $75,000 and $150,000 that are not registered for GST can apply for a grant. To be eligible, your organisation must meet all the other eligibility criteria.

How to apply

The program will be open for applications until the date the program funds are exhausted or 11:59 pm on 16 March 2021, whichever is earlier.

Applicants should check that their details on the Australian Business Register website are correct prior to submitting an application. This includes ensuring that the industry classification (ANZSIC class code) linked to their ABN registration correctly captures their primary business activity.

Complete all questions in the application form and sumbit it, so we can assess your application as quickly as possible.

You must certify that your business meets all eligibility criteria.

While you do not need to provide receipts, invoices, cancellation documents or other evidence of costs incurred with your application form, you must keep that evidence for 12 months if you receive a grant. The Victorian Government or our representatives may audit your application so you will need to produce evidence (such as receipts and invoices) at the request of the Victorian Government.

If any information in your application is false or misleading, you may be asked to repay the grant.

Please read all the information on this page, the program guidelines, and the frequently asked questions before applying.

Business Costs Assistance Program guidelines (PDF 258.94 KB)PDF icon

Business Costs Assistance Program guidelines (DOCX 1536.19 KB)DOCX icon