New updates on the easing out of restrictions in Victoria plus Stage 4 extension in Melbourne

On September 16th, the Victorian Government made an announcement regarding the easing of restrictions in Regional Victoria starting at 11:59pm. The industry had already established the COVIDSafe Plan, so the changes in the building and construction industry following the announcement are minimal. However, the most relevant change to know about is that outdoor auctions will now be able to allow a maximum of 10 people. As for display homes and real estate inspections, will remain to be on an appointment basis. MBV has already reached out to the government about prioritizing the re-opening of display homes, land offices, sales suites, and inspections.

Here are some of the key features of the changes that will implemented:

  • There are no longer only four reasons to leave your house

  • Hospitality opens with distancing, number caps, and safety rules for indoor and outdoor

  • Social gathering limits increase to 10 maximum outdoors, and 5 maximum indoors from one family

  • Tourist accommodation will open in regional Victoria for people who live within regional Victoria only

  • Community sport will return for children; non-contact only for adults.

  • The boundaries of Regional Victoria and Metropolitan Melbourne have not changed.

On September 14, an announcement was made to extend the Stage 4 restrictions currently implemented in metropolitan Melbourne. This means that workers are still required to carry a Permitted Worker Permit to carry out their daily tasks.

The Permit will utilize the same document which means the rules and all that was previously stated remain but it has to reflect new dates starting September 14. Here is some important information to remember.

  • No need to acquire re-issued Permits if the businesses already have future date ranges;

  • It is allowed for businesses to edit and add to the dates on the permitted worker permits;

  • No need to re-issue childcare permits for remote or onsite permitted workers.

Other key points regarding the extension state that all Melbourne workplaces must be closed unless it is part of the permitted activity or employees are working from home.

For more details, check out this link.

The pandemic has affected a lot of businesses and fortunately, there has been a lot of support from the Victorian Government. In fact, the government has just made its latest investment focused on providing more support for businesses, which could help rehabilitate the country’s economy – the business survival and adaptation package.

So what is this about?

The business survival and adaptation package is a $3 billion investment allotted to help businesses that were impacted by the ongoing restrictions to prepare for a COVID normal return. So what are the inclusions? According to Master Builders Victoria, here are the following:

- Small and medium-sized businesses ($822 million): The third round of the Business Support Fund will provide up to $20,000 for business with a payroll of up to $10 million. Grant applications open on Friday 18 September 2020;

  • 1.7 billion to defer payroll tax for businesses with payrolls up to $10 million for the full 2020-21 financial year;

  • $41 million to bring forward the 50 percent stamp duty discount for a commercial and industrial property for all of Regional Victoria;

  • $33 million to defer the planned increase in the landfill levy for six months;

  • $30 million to waive 25 percent of the Congestion Levy this year, with the outstanding balance deferred;

  • $6 million to waive Vacant Residential Land Tax for vacancies in 2020

Sole traders will get to enjoy more support from the government as they acknowledge that there is an actual need for it after everything that had happened. You can check out more information about the package on this link. The business resilience package will definitely provide more aid in this very confusing time. Hopefully, it will help regain what was lost during the pandemic.

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