As Australia slowly starts to overcome the challenges of the past year and a half, many small businesses are still suffering greatly. The constant uncertainty and changes in lockdown rules have been not only disconcerting on many levels but also very challenging financially.
Many Australian business owners who have risked their entire livelihood to start their own business have been pushed to the limit and are worried about how they will recover.
Thankfully, the Australian government has provided small businesses and their staff with a range of grants and relief payments since March 2020.
As we emerge from lockdown in the coming weeks, some options for assistance are still available for Australian businesses that have been negatively affected by the ongoing COVID lockdowns. They may not entirely cover the losses and setbacks but they are a source of some relief.
Sourcing the correct information and lists of COVID-19 government relief options in Australia can be confusing, convoluted, and time-consuming for individuals and small business owners.
This article will look at some of the requirements and opportunities for Australian business grants directly related to COVID-19 and beyond.
Begin By Updating Your Books
In order to prepare to apply for an Australian COVID-19 government grant, your financial figures must be up-to-date and current to make it quicker to prove your financial position and in turn make it easier to apply for grants.
Without up-to-date records, the application process can be drawn out, time-consuming and ultimately unsuccessful as application timelines are often short and inflexible.
Many business owners don’t have the time or know-how to sift through application criteria and details to determine eligibility. Having a bookkeeper who keeps your data up to date and current makes the application process easier and more effective. A bookkeeper who provides business reporting and insights can easily pinpoint data that may be valuable for such an application.
Also, be aware that some Australian business grants will require input from your Bookkeeper (a registered BAS Agent) or your Accountant (a registered Tax Agent) to sign off on the validity of the data.
Understanding the Different Types of Grants
There are many different types of Australian government grants to assist with COVID and lockdown conditions. Some business grants are State-dependent, and others are provided by local governments. These grants may also be industry-specific.
The best resource for finding a complete list of Australian government grants for COVID is on the business.gov.au website.
Here you can find a list of business grants for COVID relief based on both national and State programs. In addition, you can find all the necessary criteria for applying for government grants and how the process works.
Some industry-specific grants are also available via the COVID Relief and Recovery Fund. These grants support industries including aviation, agriculture, fisheries, tourism, and the arts.
Staying Prepared Financially
Even though these past 18 months have been an incredibly challenging time for small business owners in Australia, some hope is on the horizon. With increasing vaccination rates and talks of permanently reopening the country, it is starting to feel like business may be getting back to normal in 2022.
In the meantime, access to COVID relief grants for Australian businesses may be one small way to survive and start to recover from some of the losses we have all experienced.
Post COVID-19 all small businesses should be maximising the grants that are accessible to them. Pre COVID-19 in 2018, the Our Community Funding Centre database tracked more than 3400 grants programs in Australia. They estimated that around $80 billion is allocated each year, the bulk of it from the government, with that figure rising each year.
Additionally, approximately 20% of state and federal government expenditure is in the form of grants. Many Australian small business owners engage a Grant application company to assist in finding and preparing grant applications.
Having a trusted and knowledgeable bookkeeper on your team will ensure real-time accurate data and assist in grant applications and ultimately receiving valuable funding from Federal and State governments.