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  • Rikki Lambert

Funding flows as Mildura MP calls for regional hospitality help

Hospitality businesses in the Mildura town centre

More than 100,000 Victorian businesses will be able to get extended financial support from the federal and state governments due to the Melbourne lockdown - on the same day a country independent MP called for help for regional hospitality businesses.

Independent state member for Mildura, Ali Cupper, said the regional accommodation industry is one of the many financial victims of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With Melbourne in lockdown, a hard border with NSW and little incentive for South Australians to head East, Ms Cupper said the client pool for regional Victoria’s hotels and motels is quickly drying up.

“As regional Victoria is out of lockdown, accommodation providers outside of Melbourne are no longer eligible for disaster payment funding.
“They’re staring down the barrel of financial peril, as the bulk of their clients remain in lockdown or across State borders.
“Without the safety net of JobKeeper or support payments these businesses are being left with empty beds and untenable balance sheets.”

Ms Cupper wrote to Victoria’s Minister for Industry Support and Recovery, Martin Pakula, requesting that the State Government introduce a temporary grant scheme that can keep the industry afloat.

The Victorian government's wheels were either quickly - or already - in motion, declaring the same afternoon that more Victorian businesses will be eligible for financial support as another $807 million is put towards those most impacted by Melbourne's lockdown extension.

About 110,000 Victorian businesses across hospitality, retail, tourism, events, hairdressing and beauty services will benefit from the new money, which adds to financial support announced last week.

It will include automatic payments of $5600, or $2800 per week, delivered through a $625 million boost to the Business Costs Assistance Program.

Another $72 million will be put into the Small Business COVID Hardship Fund, with grants increasing by $4000, from $10,000 to $14,000, for small and medium-sized businesses across the state.

The licensed hospitality venue initiative will receive an additional $110 million, with payments of $5000 for a capacity of up to 99 patrons, $10,000 for 100 to 499 and $20,000 for a capacity over 500.

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and his Victorian counterpart Tim Pallas said the joint funding was targeted to help businesses most affected by the lockdown being extended until September 2.


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