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Western Australian Government offers new financial support for businesses impacted by COVID restrictions

Western Australian Government offers new financial support for businesses impacted by COVID restrictions
December 31, 2021

Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan has announced a multimillion-dollar financial support package for businesses directly impacted by the current public health rules impacting greater Perth.

Public health and safety measures for the Perth and Peel region, that apply until 4th January have seen festivals and events cancelled and other activities curtailed.

Advising that with the restrictions in place for a short period over the festive season, an enhanced financial support package has been developed, recognising the impact of unrecoverable losses and the usual higher level of trade for some businesses over this period.

Premier McGowan stated “the public health rules were introduced based on our expert health advice to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus in our community, sparked by the recent Delta outbreak.

"Thankfully, by reacting quickly, it appears we are on the cusp of eliminating the virus in our community and I want to thank every Western Australian for playing their part.

"I acknowledge that with that has come some understandable frustration from sections of the WA economy, and that's why we have developed an enhanced financial support package.

"The comprehensive package is designed to provide some assistance to those businesses that have been directly impacted by public health rules or forced closures and cancellations.

"I'd like to again thank the business sector and all Western Australians for playing their part to keep WA one of the safest places on the planet - so we are in the best position to return to normal operations on Tuesday."

Designed to assist small businesses, event companies, artists and creatives who were directly impacted by the public health measures in place, those directly impacted will soon be able to apply for a grant of up to $12,500 (sole traders up to $4,400) to assist with some of the costs incurred as a direct result of the public health rules, which included an indoor mask mandate, a dancing ban and seated consumption of food or drink only.

The Small Business Assistance Grants program is open to eligible businesses - including creative and performing arts, catering, rental and hiring services and other hospitality businesses that can demonstrate a reduction in turnover of at least 30% compared to the same 11-day period last year.

Nightclubs forced to close are eligible for a one-off $20,000 grant - recognising these businesses have had no ability to trade because of the specific public health direction.

Businesses impacted by the cancellation of major music events or festivals - which were deemed high-risk and potential ‘superspreader’ events - will be able to apply under a revamped 'Getting the Show Back on the Road' program.

Under the new program, eligibility guidelines have been adjusted to ensure events impacted over this 11-day period can be covered.

Getting the Show Back on the Road will support 75% of box office loss for cancelled events, capped at $150,000. Consideration will be given for larger events to be exempt from the cap on a case-by-case basis, pending a detailed assessment.

The program was first put in place as part of the WA Recovery Plan in July 2020, which aimed at reactivating live performances, festivals and touring activities - by easing the financial risks for performing arts organisations, live music producers and presenters, festival organisers and commercial event companies to stage events during the pandemic.

Commenting on this aspect of the support package, Western Australian Culture and the Arts Minister, David Templeman added “the revamped Getting the Show Back on the Road program will enable event and festival holders whose events could not go ahead an opportunity for financial support.

"We know a number of businesses invested significantly over this period and this support package will provide those eligible with financial support to assist in these difficult circumstances.

"The nature of many of the events planned meant they simply could not go ahead under the necessary public health measures, and this iteration of Getting the Show Back on the Road will soon be available to provide some important support to eligible event holders, artists and creatives."

Images: Festival crowd (top, credit: Ticketek) and Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan (below).

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