Businesses, workers, across NSW are all set to benefit from a major financial support package of more than $1 billion to help those that have been hardest hit by the Omicron wave.
The package includes financial support for small businesses to offset the cost of rapid antigen tests (RATs) to help keep their workers safe and a new Small Business Support Program to help businesses survive the immediate impacts of the Omicron wave and keep workers employed.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said though case numbers were declining, the NSW Government was determined to support those businesses that had been most affected during this wave of the pandemic.
“As part of the package, we are introducing the Small Business Support Program to help support businesses that experienced the worst effects of the Omicron wave,” Mr Perrottet said.
“We are also providing support to businesses to help reimburse the cost of rapid antigen tests for their workers, extending the Commercial Landlord Hardship Grant and delivering additional funding for the performing arts sector.
“This targeted package provides support for businesses who experienced cash flow issues and the immediate economic impacts of the Omicron outbreak.
“NSW is tracking better than expected and confidence is returning. And as we did with earlier recoveries, we will come through this recent challenge stronger than ever.
“We’ve got the backs of businesses, as we have throughout this entire pandemic.”
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the support package would provide a statewide response to the Omicron wave of the pandemic, targeting those businesses that needed it the most.
“This package shows that the NSW Government continues to have the back of residents and businesses in the bush with practical measures to ensure they keep their workers safe and businesses open.”
Treasurer Matt Kean said: “We know some businesses in NSW have faced challenges and it is vital we get them the support they need to stay afloat and keep their workers in jobs.
“As we continue to protect the health and safety of our community, we have to ensure our economy is resilient and our businesses are supported so they bounce back from this most recent phase of the pandemic.
WHO CAN BENEFIT?
“The Small Business Support Program helps those businesses with an annual turnover launch of between $75,000 and $50 million with a decline in turnover of at least 40 per cent by providing a payment covering up to 20 per cent of their weekly payroll.
“By ensuring businesses keep their doors open and their employees paid, we are confident our economy will bounce back strongly as it did last year.”
Small Business Minister Eleni Petinos said the program was important to ensure small businesses had the resources and cash flow they needed to survive this outbreak and bounce back.
“We know that the 800,000 small businesses in NSW are the lifeblood of local communities and that many of these businesses experienced challenges due to the Omicron wave of the pandemic,” Ms Petinos said.
“This package will help relieve some of the costs of small business including keeping workers safe, assist with cash flow and support small businesses to continue trading.”
The Small Business Support Program will provide eligible businesses with a lump sum payment for the month of February 2022. Eligible employing businesses will receive 20 per cent of weekly payroll with a minimum payment of $750 per week and a maximum payment of $5,000 per week. Non-employing businesses will receive $500 per week.
In addition, the existing Small Business Fees, Charges and RAT Rebate will be increased from the current $2,000 limit to $3,000 and employing businesses will be able to offset 50 per cent of the cost of RATs. This will support worker availability by helping reduce costs to small businesses and enabling healthy staff who have been exposed to COVID-19, but test negative, to return to work.
Business requiring assistance with their online application can contact Service NSW on 13 77 88.