Money

Victoria’s new $143 million support package to help businesses recover from the five-day “circuit-breaker” lockdown will include an automatic $3000 payment for bars and pubs and a revival of the $200 travel voucher scheme.

In total there would have been 200,000 vouchers for accommodation in regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne issued as part of the scheme, Mr Pakula said.
Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Paul Guerra welcomed the support but called for more clarity from the government on triggers for future lockdowns to provide certainty for business owners.
Licensed hospitality venues will automatically receive a $3000 payment in coming days, while eligible businesses in the hospitality, food wholesaling, tourism, events and selected retail industries will need to apply for a $2000 grant through the Business Costs Assistance Program.
Accommodation providers that had fewer than 10 cancellations were encouraged to apply for a $2250 grant, while those with more than 10 cancellations would be eligible for a $4500 payment.
Whenever there have been costs to businesses, we have worked very closely with business groups to provide what we think is appropriate support, Mr Pakula said.
Id be confident that if there was a similar occurrence in the future and I hope there is not we would work with them to see what sort of support is provided.
The government imposed a snap five-day lockdown on February 12 in response to an outbreak that began at the Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport.
Mr Guerra last week estimated the financial impact of the five-day lockdown would be well north of $500 million, and most likely edge towards $1 billion.
He welcomed the governments multimillion-dollar support package on Sunday, but said businesses needed greater clarity about lockdown triggers.
The conversations Ive had the last week [with the government] is not so much about the money, its about the certainty, Mr Guerra said.
How do we make sure that we can continue to trade into the future so that we dont have another snap lockdown like we had last Friday?
Victoria recorded no new cases of coronavirus in the community or in hotel quarantine on Sunday. Australias COVID-19 vaccination program is due to begin on Monday.
It was the second day in a row there were no new locally acquired cases recorded in Victoria.
The last time the state recorded locally acquired cases was on Friday, when three new infections were confirmed, all linked to the Melbourne Airport Holiday Inn outbreak and in people who had already been told to self-isolate by contact tracers.
There are 25 active COVID-19 cases in Victoria. This number remains unchanged since Saturday.
There were 10,339 tests for the virus carried out on Saturday. Test numbers have decreased each day since Wednesday, the last day of the states five-day lockdown, on which a record number of almost 40,000 test results were processed.
Victorian Employment Minister Jaala Pulford said the state government had given out more than $6 billion in support payments to businesses since the start of the pandemic.
She said this total did not include the $143 million support package announced on Sunday to assist businesses affected by the latest lockdown.
The funding news comes a day before Australians start to roll up their sleeves for a COVID-19 jab.
Dedicated vaccination clinics will be set up at all of Melbournes quarantine hotels in a bid to have thousands of medical staff, cleaners and other front-line quarantine workers fully vaccinated against COVID-19 within about 10 weeks.
About 300 airline flight crew, customs workers, cargo handlers and other airport workers are also expected to receive the vaccine each day at the new vaccination hub at Melbourne Airport, run by Western Health.
And the one-way trans-Tasman travel bubble between New Zealand and Australia has resumed, with Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly saying cases in Auckland posed a low risk of spreading into Australia.
The travel bubble, in which travellers from New Zealand can arrive in Australia without quarantining, was suspended on February 15.
Australians still need an exemption to travel to New Zealand, and must complete 14 days quarantine on arrival.
WithAisha Dow, Melissa Cunninghamand Ashleigh McMillan
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Craig Butt joined The Age in 2011 and specialises in data-driven journalism.
Sumeyya is a state political reporter for The Age.