Sarah Courtney, Minister for Small Business, Hospitality and Events
The Tasmanian Government knows that a significant number of Tasmanian businesses have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and acknowledges the enormous toll this is taking on thousands of Tasmanians across our state.
With Stage One restrictions being eased this week, Tasmania is now on the road to recovery and we’re doing everything we can to support small businesses through this next chapter.
As the Premier recently announced, an additional $20 million was allocated to extend our Small Business Emergency Support and Hardship grant programs, bringing the total support package to $60 million. Since opening across late March and early April, there has been an overwhelming number of applicants, with more than 15,000 Tasmanian businesses receiving direct financial support through these COVID-19 Small Business support grant programs.
As a result of this unprecedented response from businesses, we are redirecting the allocation of the additional $20 million funding across the programs to ensure we are supporting as many eligible businesses as possible.
The Small Business Emergency Grant program has provided immediate relief to many small businesses, with close to 12,000 grants of $2,500 paid within days of an eligible application being received. More than $3 million has been reallocated to this program, to make sure this emergency support is provided to more eligible small businesses that submitted an application by the 4 May deadline.
$140,000 has also been reallocated to the Small Business Continuity Grant program, which provides grants of up to $750 towards obtaining business continuity planning and advice.
The Small Business Hardship Grant program has also been revised to ensure additional stimulus funds will reach as many eligible small businesses as possible. The original allocation of $20 million will be used to continue to distribute Grants of $15,000 to those businesses under the individual merit-based assessment process, as outlined in the eligibility guidelines.
The additional funding will go towards smaller hardship grants of $4,000, with eligible businesses to be assessed against a lower threshold. Business will only be eligible if they have already submitted an application prior to the closure date, and have not already received a hardship grant or advised they are ineligible.
These changes will mean that approximately an additional 1900 small businesses across Tasmania will be supported through the small business support grant programs.
While these programs are not being reopened for new applications, any Tasmanian business needing advice are encouraged to contact Business Tasmania on 1800 440 026 or at email@example.com.
Businesses are able to register to receive up to date information on other Government supports available, as well as connect with the Business Enterprise Centre program to access free advice in areas like finance, planning and marketing, regulation, administration and human resources. Businesses requiring business continuity planning support can also receive up to five hours of free advice through their local Business Enterprise Centre.
I would like to thank the business community for their patience throughout this challenging time, we will continue to work with them during this recovery phase.