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

4-minute read

This article has been written based on the current restrictions, and government assistance and support packages, available to business customers in NSW. 

Key take-outs

  • 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 ensure the economy can bounce back once the outbreak is under control.


When extended lockdowns occur, they come quickly with little time for businesses and individuals to prepare. Support packages are intended to offer immediate 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 $50 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.


Businesses can register their interest from 14 July 2021 at Service NSW and apply from 21 July. 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.

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 business support grant of up to $15,000 from 19 July 2021. 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 decline 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 the tax system.


  • NSW small business grants, including the small business support payments, are tax exempt.
  • Reduced payment plans, no interest charged on late payments and varying instalments on request will provide 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 will increase to $600 if you’ve lost 20 or more hours of work a week, or $375 if you’ve lost between 8 and less than 20 hours of work a week.
  • You may still be eligible for the payment while you’re still working, as long as you’ve lost more than 8 hours or a full day of work each week.
  • 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. 
  • This is a recurring payment while lockdown restrictions remain in place, so you don’t need to reapply each week.


Information about how to apply for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment is available on the Services Australia website.

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.


We welcome the new support measures with the positive focus on business and household cash flow and keeping people employed. Our priority is to support the Government in its efforts to keep all Australians safe. We're staying close to our customers and encourage you to call us early if you're under any financial pressures. We're here to help.

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Things you should know

This information does not take into account your personal circumstances and is general. It is an overview only and should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon. Consider obtaining personalised advice from a professional financial adviser and your accountant before making any financial decisions in relation to the matters discussed in this article, including when considering tax and finance options for your business.