What is the Night-time Economy Business Support Initiative?

The Night-time Economy Business Support Initiative is a program to support commercial rental relief for licensed venues impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic who aren’t covered by the Commercial Tenancies Relief Scheme.

 

Background

The Victorian Government has announced a $40 million program, the Night-time Economy Business Support Initiative, to support commercial tenants operating pubs, clubs and restaurant businesses that are experiencing rental payment hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis.

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.

The Night-time Economy Business Support Initiative is part of the Victorian Government’s $500 million Business Support Fund.

 

Funding

The Night-time Economy Business Support 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

Applicants are eligible if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Operate licensed pubs, clubs or restaurants under a general, full club or on-premises liquor licence as a commercial tenant, on tenanted premises as part of a group
  • Have an annual turnover of less than $50 million at each individual premises operating within the group
  • Are suffering financial stress or hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis
  • 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

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 2020External link (opens in same window) 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.

 

Timing

Applications close 30 November 2020.

 

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