COVID-19 business support

Overview

We know that many businesses are doing it tough and are having to react and adapt to rapidly changing restrictions. 

The information provided on this page is from the Australian and Victorian governments, Council and other agencies, and is the most current information available for businesses in the shire. 

You can also keep up-to-date with information about the pandemic from:

Call (03) 5421 9616 or email ecodevadmin@mrsc.vic.gov.au with any suggestions as to how we can further support our local business community.

Creating a COVIDSafe Plan

It is now mandatory for every Victorian business to have a COVIDSafe Plan. To ensure compliance, the State Government is conducting random spot checks throughout Victoria.

Your COVIDSafe Plan must demonstrate:

  • your actions to help prevent the introduction of coronavirus (COVID-19) to your workplace
  • the type of face mask or personal protective equipment (PPE) required for your workforce
  • how you will prepare for, and respond to, a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace
  • how you will meet all the requirements set out by the Victorian Government. Some higher-risk industries or workplaces have additional requirements of employers and employees.

Businesses must review and update their COVIDSafe Plans regularly, especially when restrictions or public health advice changes. Organisations with multiple worksites must complete a COVIDSafe Plan for each worksite.

Find out more

Small Business Digital Adaptation Program

The Small Business Digital Adaptation Program is a $20 million initiative to help Victorian sole traders, micro and small businesses adapt to a digital operating environment. The program is open to Victorian businesses from all industry sectors.

Through the Business Victoria website, businesses can trial selected digital products on offer. Available digital products include online website, e-commerce, finance and business management tools. 

Businesses must purchase a digital product available under this program before applying for a program rebate and will be asked to provide evidence of purchase as part of the application process. Further rebates are available for applicants who confirm continued use.

Find out more about the program and eligibility criteria in the attached guidelines at the Business Victoria webpage.

Business workshops and mentoring online

Small Business Victoria workshops

Council is now a Small Business Victoria workshop host. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these workshops are free and will be delivered online. 

The workshops are focused on addressing some of the needs of the business community as restrictions are beginning to ease and recovery becomes the key focus for many.

The program for 2021 is in development and dates for future workshops will be published as soon as they become available.

Find out more

Online business resilience program

The Australian Small Business Advisory Service (ASBAS) Digital Solutions Mentoring and Business Resilience Program covers digital and general business topics.

Digital topics include websites and selling online, social media and digital marketing, using small business software, and online security and data privacy, while general topics include business strategy, finance, human resources, resilience and wellbeing, and COVID-19 stimulus packages for small business.

This program is being delivered by the Melbourne Innovation Centre.

Businesses must be Victorian for-profit, have an active ABN and less than 20 employees to participate in this program.  Workshops are being updated regularly.

Book a workshop

Also on offer is up to four hours of mentoring, delivered in 2 x 2 hour sessions. Examples of discussions include COVID-19 best practices for small business, developing a crisis management plan, digital transformation and communicating with your customers during COVID-19.  This program concludes June 2021.

Find out more about mentoring

Places are limited and bookings are essential.

Australian Taxation Office

Webinars for small business

The Australian Taxation Office has split their current free small business webinar series into different session topics that cover both general and industry-specific areas of tax obligations. Each session runs for approximately 45 to 60 minutes.

These sessions are of interest if you:

  • are starting a new business or just thinking about starting one
  • want to update your knowledge
  • work in any of the industry-specific areas advertised.

Find out more

Rural Financial Counselling Services 

Rural Financial Counselling Services is a government-funded service with the sole purpose of assisting small business owners. The advice is independent, confidential and cost free.  If your business is in financial distress, please contact Marty Sammon, Small Business Financial Counsellor, for more information at msammon@sunrcs.com.au or 0417 357 909.

Fair Work Ombudsman

If you have any questions about workplace entitlements, the Fair Work Ombudsman has advice about rights and responsibilities during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Financial support and employer advice 

Council financial support measures

To help address the financial difficulties many people are facing as a result of COVID-19, financial support measures have been put in place by Council to assist the community, residents, businesses, staff and sporting clubs.

Managing cash flow and retaining employees

The Australian Government Treasury has information available about how to keep businesses in business and Australians in jobs.

State Government support

Upskill My Business

The Victorian Government has launched Upskill My Business in partnership with key industry groups and education providers.The online programs, short courses and events cover topics ranging from business innovation and staff development to export preparation – important areas of development that can help shape the future of businesses and individuals.

Find out more

Business Victoria financial assistance and support

Business Victoria has a range of advice, updates and support to help with your workforce plan and response to COVID-19. 

Advice for landlords and agents

If your tenant is having difficulty paying rent due to COVID-19, find out what help is available from the Victorian Small Business Commission

Physical distancing and transmission reduction

All businesses should follow advice from the Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services to reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Find out more

Storm recovery

The shire-wide Recovery Operations Centre (ROC) is a centralised service for residents and businesses to ask for support, request information, offer assistance or put forward recovery ideas and suggestions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Restrictions for business

Restrictions are in place but changing frequently. Visit Business Victoria for latest advice on how to operate under the current COVID-19 restrictions or you can also call their coronavirus hotline on 13 22 15.

Additional resources

As we move closer to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, it’s vital to recognise that this has been, and may continue to be, a hard time for some in our community. No two people will react in exactly the same way at the same time, but it is important to be prepared with information about what people can do and what supports are available if needed. The following resources may be helpful.

Heads Up

Heads up is a guide outlining actions you can take to support a client, customer, family member or friend, including:

  • Who to contact for immediate support
  • What are the symptoms of poor mental health and wellbeing
  • How to speak with someone you're concerned about
  • How to help small business owners take action
  • How to look after your own mental health

An initiative on behalf of the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance and Beyond Blue.

Ahead for Business

Ahead for Business includes a website and app for small business owners.

The website connects small business owners with information, programs and interventions that can help with planning, managing every day business stressors and taking action for mental health challenges.

National Debt Helpline

If you are experiencing financial difficulties, the National Debt Helpline offers free financial counselling.