The Victorian Government has announced a new package for businesses affected by the current lockdown.

The Circuit Breaker Business Support Package will see $250.7 million deployed to small-to medium-sized businesses and sole traders unable to operate during public health measures.

“This is a contribution, a payment, that the government is proud to make, because we are proud of the effort that Victorians are making during this very difficult time,” said Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas.

The package is split into three pillars.

The $190.01 million Business Costs Assistance Program will provide $2,500 grants for eligible employing and non-employing businesses including those operating in an industry that cannot operate under restrictions and which cannot work remotely.

The $40.7 million Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 provides businesses holding an eligible liquor licence and food certificate with a $3,500 grant per premises.

The final pillar is the $20 million Victorian Events Support Package for operators in the events industry who have incurred losses due to the circuit-breaker restrictions.

Operators will be able to register interest for the hospitality and business costs programs on 2 June, with applications open for three weeks. A date has yet to be announced for the events package.

“This is a bigger and broader package than the one that we delivered through the lockdown, the circuit-breaker lockdown, back in February,” said Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino.

The Acting Premier has called on the federal government for additional assistance, and says more support is needed.

“Victorian workers need support and that is where we needed Canberra to come to the table, and I am very sorry to say that they have refused to do that,” he said.

“We asked multiple times, multiple times, for the federal government to support workers during this period and the unrelenting answer has been, no.

“Victorian workers deserve more from the federal government and I am beyond disappointed that the answer from the Prime Minister and the Treasurer has been no.”

Victoria’s lockdown is slated to end at 11:59pm on Thursday 3 June, however COVID-19 cases have continued to rise.

“It’s the type of cases,” said Merlino on the lockdown ending. “It’s where it’s occurring. It’s [whether] we know where they’re linked, if are they high-risk sites.”

Image credit: ABC