About the initiative

Our much-loved pubs, club and restaurants will benefit from the Victorian Government’s $40 million Night-time Business Economy Support Initiative, which will provide commercial rental relief for licensed businesses impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic who aren't covered by the Commercial Tenancies Relief Scheme.

The support, made available through the Victorian Government’s Business Support Fund, is available to licensed venues across Victoria with an annual turnover of  $50 million or more that operate as part of a group.

The initiative will also provide access to free mediation services to help eligible tenant businesses reach agreements with their landlords on rent relief during the pandemic.

Application is a two-step process. Please read the information on this page carefully before registering your interest.

Night-time Economy Business Support Initiative Guidelines (PDF 211.52 KB)PDF icon

The fund closed for applications on 30 November 2020.

What support is available?

This initiative provides eligible businesses with:

  • Reimbursement of up to $20,000 per business group for expenses incurred in obtaining specialist business and tenancy advice since 29 March 2020
  • Free mediation services to help tenants and landlords reach a fair and proportionate commercial outcome on rental payments
  • Relief for commercial rent hardship of up to $150,000 per business group where it can be shown that the business has sought to negotiate in good faith with the landlord with no result.

Eligibility criteria can be found below and should be read before submitting your application.

Applications can be made via the ‘Apply now’ button on this page.

For urgent leasing matters call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15.

Applications will be accepted until 1 June 2020 or until available funding has been committed.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for support from Night-time Economy Business Support Initiative applicants must:

  • Operate licensed pubs, clubs or restaurants on tenanted premises under a general, full club or on-premises liquor licence as part of a group; and
  • Employ people; and
  • Have an annual turnover of less than $50 million at each individual premises operating within the group; and
  • Hold an Australian Business Number (ABN) and have held that ABN at 16 March 2020 (the date Victoria’s State of Emergency was declared); and
  • Were engaged in carrying out the operation of the business at the tenanted premises in the Australian State of Victoria on 16 March 2020; and
  • Have had a reduction in turnover of at least 30 per cent at one or more individual premises operating within the group since 16 March 2020; and
  • Do not qualify for the Victorian Government’s Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme under the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) (Commercial Leases and Licences) Regulations 2020 because the business is part of a group that has an aggregated annual turnover greater than $50 million (in the past financial year).

Businesses that are not registered in Victoria but operate more than one premises in Victoria may also apply for support, but these applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

What specialist business and tenancy advice expenses can be claimed?

The types of specialist business and tenancy advice that can be claimed as expenses under this initiative are:

  • Basic professional services (such as accounting, property, financial, tax and legal business requirements and consultancies); and
  • Costs associated with licencing and lease documentation and financing fees.

How can the commercial rent relief funding be used?

The commercial rent relief funding is to be used for meeting lease-related business costs, including rent, utilities, outgoings and other property-related expenses.

Evidence of eligibility and compliance

  • Applicants must certify in writing that they meet the eligibility criteria.
  • Applicants may be subject to audit by the Victorian Government or its representatives and will be required to produce evidence: such as financial reports to demonstrate impact and/or allocation and use of funds, at the request of the Victorian Government for a period of four years after funding has been approved.
  • If any information in the application is found to be false or misleading, or grants are not applied for the purposes of operating the businesses in accordance with the terms of funding as set out in these guidelines and the application, the grant will be repayable on demand.

How to apply

  1. Your business group must first register its interest in receiving support through the ‘Register your interest’ button on this page. After receiving your registration, a Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions staff member will contact you to discuss your circumstance.
  2. If invited to submit a full application, you will be provided with a link to an online form. Please complete all questions to ensure a timely assessment of your eligibility.

You will also need to provide all of the following with your application:

  • A copy of financial accounts identifying monthly business turnover since March 2019;
  • A copy of the group financial statement for the last financial year showing a turnover of greater than $50 million;
  • A copy of the most recent Business Activity Statement (BAS);
  • A copy of the Liquor Licence for each of the premises applicable as at 16 March 2020;
  • A copy of the Commercial Tenancy Agreement applicable at or immediately prior to 16 March 2020, and any variation(s) to the Rental Payment Schedule agreed with the landlord of each of the licensed premises since 16 March 2020;
  • Any other materials that support your claim.

Night-time Economy Business Support Initiative Guidelines (PDF 211.52 KB)PDF icon