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.

Latest news

Temporary Outdoor Dining – How can we help?

Under current COVID-19 restrictions, restaurants, cafes and hotels are limited in how many customers they can serve indoors and outdoors.  The State Government is encouraging food and beverage business operators to explore their options to create more outdoor dining space. Council is very keen to assist where possible and to support the local business community to recover quickly and thrive once again.

If you are seeking to introduce or expand your outdoor dining options temporarily whilst COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, please contact the Local Laws team on 5422 0333 to discuss what is required to apply for a Local Law permit for the purpose. Should you want to chat to a member of the Economic Development Team as a start point to share your plans and discuss possible options prior to contacting the Local Laws team, please email your initial thoughts to ecodevadmin@mrsc.vic.gov.au  

You can stay up to date with current COVID-19 restrictions at coronavirus.vic.gov.au

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

Advice for farmers

Farmers and producers are vital to all Victorian communities. Find out the latest advice for your agribusiness from Agriculture Victoria

Agriculture Workforce Plan

The $50 million Agriculture Workforce Plan is helping Victorian businesses meet their labour and business operation needs during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Find out more

Business impact survey

In order to fully understand the effect that COVID-19 is having on local businesses, both positive and negative, a business impact survey was recently conducted. The survey closed on 31 July and the results are being analysed and used to inform decision making.

To identify business impact trends as restrictions continue to have an effect, a second survey commenced on 1 September. Due to Council elections and restrictions around communications during the caretaker period, the survey temporarily closed on 21 September. 

Subsequent surveys will be undertaken quarterly. All local businesses are urged to participate in each survey to ensure that the data is comprehensive. Your time is appreciated.

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 being delivered 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.

Find out more

Online business resilience program

The Australian Small Business Advisory Service (ASBAS) and Melbourne Innovation Centre launched an online Business Resilience program.

This program is designed to assist Victorian small businesses affected by COVID-19. Support includes free access to virtual mentoring, online workshops and resources. 

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

Find out more about workshops

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.

Go Local First

It has been wonderful to see so much adaptability and creativity recently, with many businesses changing to online services and providing take away and delivery options where possible.

To help encourage a greater focus on local shopping, Council is participating in a nationwide campaign initiated by the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA). The GO LOCAL FIRST campaign is being rolled out on outdoor, broadcast, print and digital advertising with the simple call to action for Australians to spend locally first.

Find out more

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

These new financial support measures take effect immediately and will assist the community, residents, businesses, staff and sporting clubs.

Australian Government support

Find a full listing of Australian Government support and information including business and employer information. 

Managing cash flow and retaining employees

The Australian Government Treasury has information on how to manage cash flow challenges and retain employees during this difficult time.

  • JobKeeper payment
  • Boosting cash flow for employers
  • Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
  • Increasing the instant asset write-off
  • Backing business investment
  • Supporting apprentices and trainees
  • Business Liaison Unit

State Government support

Business Support Fund

Applications for the third round of the Business Support Fund close at 11.59pm on 23 November.  

Find out more

Grants for food production businesses

The Victorian Government has launched the Business Adaptation grants program to support food supply chain businesses in making their workplace safe and keeping supply chains uninterrupted. Individual grants from $10,000 to $300,000 are available. 

Find out more 

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

Coronavirus business support and financial assistance finder

A range of assistance is available from the Australian and Victorian governments and other organisations to support businesses impacted by COVID-19. The finder will ask you a series of questions to help you find the funding or support available to you based on your circumstances.

Launch finder

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

NBN

NBN Co has announced it has established a relief and assistance package(PDF, 174KB) . To find out the latest updates, working from home tips and FAQs, visit the nbn project blog.

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

Recovery Operations Centre established

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.

Small Business Australia

Small Business Survival Plan

Join Small Business Australia free and get a copy of the ‘5- step Small Business Survival Plan: How to stay in business and reach the other side’. You will also get access to their small business news, expert advice and grant opportunities via a monthly update. Join now.

Tourism support

The Victorian Tourism Industry Council (VTIC), an industry body for the tourism and events sector, is waiving membership fees for 'In the Loop' and 'Essentials' membership packages. They will also be providing additional services including training credit to courses provided by the Victorian Chamber.

Working for Victoria

If you are looking for work, or run a business and are looking for workers, find out how to register your interest in the Working for Victoria program.

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.