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  • $400 million support package for businesses hit by lockdown

    Author: AAP

Another $400 million support package has been announced for businesses affected by the latest lockdown.

Businesses hit by Victoria's sixth lockdown will be able to access more government support.

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The state and federal governments announced another jointly-funded $400 million business support package on Friday, coming on top of $400 million agreed on last week.

Victoria went into a seven-day hard lockdown on Thursday, with non-essential businesses again forced to close.

Victorian Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula acknowledged it was "painful and difficult" for venues to cancel bookings due to the sudden restrictions.

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"These lockdowns are very hard, they are very upsetting.... very hard for people to cope with," he told reporters on Friday.

Mr Pakula said he had spoken to Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg just before the announcement and acknowledged the handouts were only possible due to Commonwealth backing.

"We are very grateful for that support, it means that this package can be in the vicinity of $400 million for a seven day lockdown, which is above and beyond what we have been able to do in the past," he said.

Almost 100,000 small and medium businesses, including sole traders, will receive $2800 automatic payments.

That's expected to cover gyms, cafes, restaurants, caterers, hairdressers, dance and swim schools, tourism and event businesses, at a total cost of $266 million.

Automatic payments of $5000 to $20,000 will be made to almost 9000 licensed venues eligible for funding during lockdowns earlier in 2021.

The payments will be staged according to venue capacity, and come at a total cost of $69 million.

Alpine businesses will receive $20,000 if they employ people "on mountain" while those in alpine regions will receive $5000 in a package worth $11 million.

Small businesses that have suffered a 70 per cent turnover reduction and missed out on other assistance will receive grants of up to $8000, funded through a $54 million expansion of the small business hardship fund.

Workers who lose hours of employment, and businesses that are not registered for GST, will be able to access the Commonwealth's COVID-19 Disaster Payment.

The state government has already spent $950 million on business support grants since June, part of more than $7 billion in direct business funding since the start of the pandemic.

The Commonwealth has provided more than $45 billion in pandemic support to Victoria.

Victoria is approaching 200 days under lockdown restrictions.

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