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COVID-19 economic support for business


Tourism and Hospitality Sector

Tourism, hotels and hospitality support is designed to protect and create local jobs.

$1,000 electricity rebate

Cafes, restaurants and takeaway businesses in the ACT are eligible to receive a one-off $1,000 rebate on their electricity bills until 30 June 2021.

Download the factsheet to find out more or fill in this form on the Access Canberra website to receive this rebate.

Rebate of fixed water and sewerage charges

Hotels and other accommodation providers, as well as venues whose primary purpose is to host functions and events (such as concerts, weddings and funerals) can apply to receive a rebate on their fixed water and sewerage charges.

This will save businesses hundreds of dollars in fixed charges as they transition to COVID-normal operations.

For hotels and other accommodation provides: Download the factsheet to find out more or fill in this form on the Access Canberra website to receive this rebate.

For function and event venues: Download the factsheet to find out more or fill in this form on the Access Canberra website to receive this rebate.

Food business registration, outdoor dining and liquor licencing fee waivers

A range of licence and fee waivers have been extended:

  • The food business registration fee waiver has been extended for another 12 months, until 31 March 2022.  If food business registration has been prepaid for more than one year in advance, an additional 12 months will be added to the licence.
  • The outdoor dining permit fee waiver has been extended for another 12 months, until 30 June 2022.

On and off liquor licencees will have received a fee waiver on the annual licence fee for 12 months from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.

The annual licence fee waiver for some liquor licencees has been tapered to provide a 50 per cent fee reduction for 12 months from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022. Eligible licensees include nightclub licence, restaurant and café licence, bar licence, general licence, catering licence, special licence and club licence.

If you hold an existing on liquor licence, you can also choose to move to a general liquor licence, free of charge until 30 June 2021 to provide an option to broaden your business model.

Businesses do not need to contact the ACT Government for these waivers. They will be applied automatically as part of the normal annual fee licencing process.

Micro-producer application fee reduction

Micro-producers will receive a 90 per cent reduction off their application fee in the first year of their off licence from 22 May 2020 if they produce and sell up to $100,000 of liquor on their licenced premises.

To qualify for the initiative, you must:

  • have not previously held an off licence;
  • conduct your business at your licensed premises and sell only the liquor you produce on the premises; and
  • provide a written statement to the Fair-Trading Commissioner that the estimated gross revenue from liquor you produce won’t be more than $100,000 during your reporting year.

Visit the Access Canberra website to apply.

Hire car and charter bus registration fees

From 1 October 2020, vehicle registration fees will be waived for hire cars and charter buses registered in the ACT, providing further relief to tourism businesses. This is in addition to the hire car annual licence fees that were waived for 12 months as part of the assistance package announced in early April 2020.

Please see the Rego Fees Waiver Hire Car and Charter Bus Factsheet for more information.

To receive the waiver, contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81.

Tourism Cooperative Marketing Fund

The Tourism Cooperative Marketing Fund has been established to provide funding to cooperative marketing projects proposed by ACT tourism operators and attractions. Further information is available on the Visit Canberra Corporate website.

COVID-Safe Tourism Co-Investment Program

The COVID-Safe Tourism Co-Investment Program provides funding for the development of COVID-safe tourism products and infrastructure. It is designed to help the tourism industry recover from the combined effects of bushfires and COVID-19. Further information is available on the Visit Canberra Corporate website.

ACT events sector

Events are proven tourism demand drivers that contribute significantly to the visitor economy.

ACT Event Fund

The ACT Event Fund has been established as a key mechanism for stimulating and fostering a range of positive economic, community and social outcomes for the Canberra region through the festivals and events sector.

It assists eligible event organisers to develop, market and promote their events in a way that helps maximise these outcomes, while also helping to fill identified event calendar gaps and support sustainable growth opportunities.

In 2021, the ACT Event Fund will play an important role in supporting events that can safely connect our community and visitors in line with Public Health Directions.

Support under the ACT Event Fund 2021 is made available through a Main Round of funding (Part A) and Community Event Funding (Part B).

The Main Round has now closed to applications, with funding fully allocated for the 2021 calendar year. The Community Event Funding stream will remain open ongoing, until the designated funding allocation has been exhausted.

Visit the ACT Events website to find out more, email eventfund@act.gov.au or phone the team at Events ACT on (02) 6205 0666.

Commercial property owners

Commercial rates rebate

A rates rebate of $2,622 will be applied to commercial properties with an Average Unimproved Value (AUV) of $2 million or below on their property.

The rebate amount will be automatically applied against any outstanding charges on your account and rolled over to future rates charges.

Visit the ACT Revenue Office website to find out more.

Rideshare, taxis, and hire cars

The ACT Government has waived a range of fees for rideshare, taxis and hire cars. Visit the Access Canberra website to find out more.

In 2020, a total of $3.3 million was distributed to clubs from the Diversification and Sustainability Support Fund as emergency relief funding for payment of wages and other financial support to club staff, in the context of club operations being affected by COVID-19-related public health directions.

The Government is providing gaming machine licensees with the opportunity to access a payment of $15,000 per authorisation if they voluntarily surrender gaming machine authorisations These payments are to be used towards staff employment, diversification activities and initiatives, and energy and water efficiency measures. Licensees have until June 2021 to access this measure.

Licensees interested in accessing payments to voluntarily surrender gaming machine authorisations should email the Liquor, Racing and Gaming Policy team. 

Other initiatives will allow clubs to claim contributions to members of the local live performance industry as community purpose contributions where an emergency declaration is or has been in place, and provide incentives for clubs to prepare food for emergency-affected people.

Construction industry

Lease Variation Charge

A 50 per cent lease variation charge (LVC) remission, capped at $125,000, is available when an application to enter the LVC deferred payment scheme is made between 24 December 2020 and 30 June 2021 and construction commences by 30 September 2021.

Payroll tax waivers, deferrals and exemptions

Payroll tax waivers/exemptions

Businesses that are unable to operate due to ACT Government health-related restrictions will be eligible for payroll tax exemptions and case-by-case waivers will be available for businesses that can only operate on a limited basis, until 30 June 2021. This ensures that should restrictions need to be tightened again, a payroll tax exemption/waiver will be accessible to assist businesses whose operations are significantly impacted by those restrictions.

Find out more on the ACT Revenue Office website.

Payroll tax deferral

All ACT businesses with Australia-wide wages of up to $10 million can defer their 2020-21 payroll tax, interest free until 1 July 2022.

Businesses will need to confirm if they are eligible by visiting the ACT Revenue Office website.

Payroll tax exemption – apprentices or trainees

Wages paid to apprentices or trainees employed after 1 August 2020 are exempt from payroll tax from the start of their employment until 30 June 2021.

Find out more on the ACT Revenue Office website.

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