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COVID-19: A guide to NSW business support grants and government assistance

This article has been written based on the current restrictions, and government assistance and support packages, available to business customers in NSW. For up-to-date information on the above, please visit the Service NSW website.

3 minute read

What’s in this article:

  • Small businesses will be eligible for support payments provided they retain existing staff 
  • Disaster payments for people in COVID-19 hotspots have been expanded
  • This support package now applies to any state or territory that experiences an extended lockdown following the declaration of a Commonwealth hotspot

As the country continues to battle the highly contagious Delta strain of COVID-19 and fluctuating rates of community transmission, the length of the current lockdown remains unknown. Together, the Federal and NSW State governments have produced a support package for households and businesses in NSW, designed to help the economy can bounce back once the outbreak is under control and restrictions have eased in various areas across NSW.

When extended lockdowns occur, they come quickly with little time for businesses and individuals to prepare. Support packages are intended to offer help to ensure businesses can keep their staff and sole traders can support themselves and their families during these difficult times.

For Small to Medium Business Owners

There are various levels of support available for small and medium businesses.

Business Support Payment

The small to medium business support payment is available to non-employing and employing entities in NSW if they meet the following criteria.

  • Annual turnover between $75,000 and $250 million.
  • Maintain full time, part time and long term casual staff, as of 13 July 2021.
  • Turnover must be at least 30% lower than an equivalent two week period in 2019.

Payment amounts

  • Eligible entities, including not-for-profits, will receive 40% of their NSW payroll payments, at a minimum of $1,500 and a maximum of $10,000 per week.
  • Eligible non-employing businesses, such as sole traders, will receive $1,000 per week.

The support payment will end when lockdown restrictions are eased or when the area is no longer considered to be a Commonwealth hotspot.

Applications are open from 26 July 2021. Your business will need a MyServiceNSW Account and business profile, so you’ll need to set this up if you don’t already have one.

Businesses can expect to receive funds in their accounts within five to 10 business days from their approval date.

Business Support Grant

If you’re a business, sole trader or not-for-profit organisation, with annual Australian wages up to $10 million, you may be able to apply for a government support grant of up to $15,000 from 19 July 2021 for your business. This can be used to cover business expenses such as rent, utilities and wages, where no other government support is available.

There are three business support grant amounts, based on your level of impact or reduction in turnover:

  • $7,500 for a decline of 30% or more.
  • $10,500 for a decline of 50% or more.
  • $15,000 for a decline of 70% or more.

Look out for full eligibility criteria on the Service NSW website.

Micro Business Support Grant

If you’re a micro business (small business or sole trader with annual turnover of more than $30,000 and under $75,000), you may be eligible to apply for a $1,500 fortnightly payment from late July 2021.

More detail will be available on the Service NSW website.

Business tax relief

To further help small and medium businesses, there is additional government assistance through tax relief:

  • NSW small business grants, including the small business support payments, are expected to be tax exempt.
  • Business can apply for reduced payment plans, no interest on late payments, and to vary instalments - providing welcome administrative relief.
  • All businesses paying payroll tax in NSW can defer payroll tax payments until 7 October 2021.
  • Businesses with annual payrolls between $1.2m and $10m may also be eligible for a payroll tax relief of 25% of the business’ annual liability.


The NSW government is offering incentives for residential landlords to reduce rent for affected tenants, alongside a 60-day eviction moratorium for those who fail to pay their rent after losing at least 25% of their income due to COVID-19.

Residential and commercial landlords will also receive Land Tax relief of up to 100% of the land tax liability if they reduce rents for their tenants.

For individuals in financial difficulty

The existing COVID-19 Disaster Payment has been expanded and is accessible if you’re locked down for more than seven days.

Where a lockdown occurs as the result of a Commonwealth Government declared hotspot and your working hours are reduced, you may be eligible for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment.

  • The COVID-19 Disaster Payment was initially increased to $600 for anyone who lost 20 or more hours of work a week, or $375 for those who lost between 8 and less than 20 hours of work a week.
  • However, from 2 August 2021, the payment will increase to $750 if you’ve lost 20 or more hours of work a week and $450 if you’ve lost between 8 and 20 hours. This higher rate will apply from the first week of any state or territory’s lockdown in the future.
  • You may still be eligible for the payment while you’re still working if you’ve lost more than 8 hours or a full day of work each week.
  • For the first time, if you receive welfare payments, you’re also eligible for a COVID-19 disaster payment of $200 a week (in addition to your existing benefits) if you’ve lost more than 8 hours of work.

From 18 July 2021, the COVID-19 Disaster Payment will also be available to anyone outside Commonwealth declared hotspots in NSW if they meet the criteria.

For individuals requiring Mental Health support

The Government recognises that support is not just a financial need and has introduced a $17.35 million mental health support package.

  • A boost for crisis and mental health services, including Lifeline, free 24 hour support via Sonder and counselling for perinatal depression and anxiety.
  • Funding for mental health support for vulnerable and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
  • Assistance for young people through headspace, Kids Helpline and the Butterfly Foundation.

This increased support for businesses and individuals experiencing extended lockdowns is part of the Government’s plan to secure Australia’s ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

You may find these useful

Managing business cash flow during the COVID-19 crisis

Four ways to show customers you’re still open for business

Five useful cash flow management tips

Important information

This article is a general overview and should be used as a guide only. We recommend that you seek independent professional advice about your specific circumstances before acting.

© St.George Bank - A Division of Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL and Australian credit licence 233714.