With the latest COVID-19 health advice to stay home, we strongly advise you to use our website or call 13 77 88, rather than visit a service centre. Visit our COVID-19 page for information and advice on the assistance available for NSW residents and businesses.

Stay home: use online transactions or call 13 77 88
COVID-19 assistance

Text size

1. About the program

On 7 July 2021, the New South Wales Premier announced the extension of the restrictions originally issued on 26 June under the Public Health (COVID-19 Temporary Movement and Gathering Restrictions) Order 2021 ('the Order'). Under the Order, stay-at-home restrictions were put in place for Greater Sydney.

This restricted freedom of movement, gatherings and the ability of certain premises to open in the Greater Sydney region (Metropolitan Sydney, Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong, and Shellharbour).

While not subject to stay-at-home orders, additional restrictions have been imposed across regional New South Wales. Border restrictions have also been imposed by Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland. Collectively, these restrictions ('Public Health Orders') have occurred over the school holidays, a peak period for many businesses.

The Public Health Orders have created challenges for many businesses across New South Wales that will either be forced to close or experience reduced demand.

The 2021 COVID-19 Business Grant ('the Grant') will provide cash flow support until the JobSaver scheme commences on 18 July, to help cover business expenses for which no other government support is available. The intention of the Grant is to help businesses survive the lockdown so they can continue to support employment and the economy after restrictions are lifted.

The Grant will be available to businesses across New South Wales that meet the eligibility criteria outlined in this document.

Applications will open on 19 July 2021 and close at 11:59pm on 13 September 2021.

Businesses that received previous COVID-19 small business grants, including the 2020 Small Business COVID-19 Support and Small Business Recovery grants, can apply for this Grant.

Service NSW will deliver the Grant on behalf of the NSW Government consistent with policy settings administered by NSW Treasury.

By applying for the Grant, businesses agree that their application may be subject to an audit by the NSW Government or its representatives and agree to participate in the process if required.

Note: Non-employing businesses are not eligible to apply if persons associated with the business, and who derive income from it, have applied for, or are receiving, the Commonwealth COVID-19 Disaster Payment.

In addition, certain entities, such as those earning passive income (rents, interest or dividends), government agencies, local governments, banks, and universities are not eligible for this Grant. The full list of ineligible businesses is at Attachment B.

2. Available funding

2.1 Eligible businesses (including non-employing businesses such as non-employing sole traders) and not-for-profit organisations can apply for a one-off grant of $7,500 (tier one) or $10,500 (tier two) or $15,000 (tier 3) via one application:

  • $7,500 (tier one): Businesses that have experienced a decline in turnover of 30% or more due to the Public Health Orders will be eligible for a grant of $7,500.
  • $10,500 (tier two): Businesses that have experienced a decline in turnover of 50% or more due to the Public Health Orders will be eligible for a grant of $10,500.
  • $15,000 (tier three): Businesses that have experienced a decline in turnover of 70% or more due to the Public Health Orders will be eligible for a grant of $15,000.

2.2 Eligible businesses may only receive one grant tier.

2.3 Only one grant is available for a single ABN.

2.4 Multiple businesses under a single ABN are only eligible for one grant.

3. Eligibility criteria

3.1 Businesses and not-for-profit organisations that have been impacted by the Public Health Orders will be eligible for the $7,500 (tier one) grant if they:

  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN) and were operating in New South Wales as at 1 June 2021;
  • have total annual Australian wages of $10 million or less as at 1 July 2020;
  • had an aggregated annual turnover between $75,000 and $50 million (inclusive) for the year ended 30 June 2020;
  • have business costs for which there is no other government support available;
  • have experienced a decline in turnover of 30% or more due to the Public Health Orders over a minimum 2-week period from 26 June 2021 to 17 July 2021 compared to the same period in June and/or July 2019;
  • maintain their employee headcount as at 13 July 2021 for the period for which the business is receiving payments under this Grant and the JobSaver scheme.

3.2 To calculate ‘total annual Australian wages’, businesses already grouped by Revenue NSW should apply these rules. Businesses not already grouped should apply the ownership grouping provisions set out in the New South Wales Payroll Tax Act.

3.3 Businesses and not-for-profit organisations will be eligible for the $10,500 (tier two) grant if they:

  • meet the eligibility criteria for the $7,500 (tier one) grant set out in Section 3.1, except they must:
    • have experienced a decline in turnover of 50% or more due to the Public Health Orders over a minimum 2-week period from 26 June 2021 to 17 July 2021 compared to the same period in June and/or July 2019.

3.4 Businesses and not-for-profit organisations will be eligible for the $15,000 (tier three) grant if they:

  • meet the eligibility criteria for the $7,500 (tier one) grant set out in Section 3.1, except they must:
    • have experienced a decline in turnover of 70% or more due to the Public Health Orders over a minimum 2-week period from 26 June 2021 to 17 July 2021 compared to the same period in June and/or July 2019.

3.5 A different comparison period may be used for businesses on the Victorian border impacted by the New South Wales stay at home orders that commenced on 27 May 2021. Southern Border businesses will be required to meet the eligibility criteria outlined in Section 3 above, however, to demonstrate the decline in turnover:

  • For the $7,500 (tier one) grant, businesses:
    • must have experienced a decline in turnover of 30% or more due to the Public Health Orders over a minimum 2-week period from 27 May 2021 to 17 July 2021 compared to the same period in May and/or June and/or July 2019.
  • For the $10,500 (tier two) grant, businesses:
    • must have experienced a decline in turnover of 50% or more due to the Public Health Orders over a minimum 2-week period from 27 May 2021 to 17 July 2021 compared to the same period in May and/or June and/or July 2019.
  • For the $15,000 (tier three) grant, businesses:
    • must have experienced a decline in turnover of 70% or more due to the Public Health Orders over a minimum 2-week period from 27 May 2021 to 17 July 2021 compared to the same period in May and/or June and/or July 2019.

4. How funding may be used

4.1 The Grant will help eligible businesses and not-for-profit organisations with business costs incurred from 1 June 2021 to 17 July 2021 (the JobSaver scheme will commence from 18 July 2021). These costs may include, but are not limited to, the following expenses:

  • utilities, wages and rent;
  • financial, legal or other advice to support business continuity planning;
  • marketing and communications activities to develop the business;
  • the cost of perishable goods that can no longer be used; or
  • other activities to support the operation of the business.

4.2 The Grant must only be used for expenses for which no other government support is available. For example, the Grant cannot be used to pay government fees and charges that would be covered by the $1500 small business fees and charges rebate.

5. Evidence in support of eligibility

Businesses on the 'highly impacted industries list' – $7,500 (tier one) and $10,500 (tier two) grants

5.1 Eligible businesses on the 'highly impacted industries list' (see Attachment A) applying for the $7,500 (tier one) and the $10,500 (tier two) grant are required to:

  • declare they experienced the required decline in turnover due to the Public Health Orders over a minimum 2-week period from 26 June 2021 to 17 July 2021 compared to the same period in June and/or July 2019;
    • for Southern Border businesses the turnover period is from 27 May 2021 to 17 July 2021 compared to the same period in May and/or June and/or July 2019.
  • declare they have eligible expenses for which no other government support is available. They will not be required to provide evidence of costs on application (e.g. invoices) but will need to keep evidence of costs for a possible future audit;
  • declare their employee headcount at 13 July 2021;
  • declare they will maintain their employee headcount as at 13 July 2021 for the period for which the business is receiving payments under this Grant and the JobSaver scheme;
  • provide details of their qualified accountant, registered tax agent or registered BAS agent for possible compliance checking;
  • submit an Australian Income Tax Return (or Notice of Assessment) or other documentation to demonstrate their business had an aggregated annual turnover of between $75,000 and $50 million (inclusive) for the year ended 30 June 2020; and
  • lodge other supporting documents as required to demonstrate that they meet the eligibility criteria.

Businesses on the 'highly impacted industries list' applying for the $15,000 grant (tier 3)

5.2 Eligible businesses on the 'highly impacted industries list' applying for the $15,000 (tier three) grant will receive $10,500 if they:

  • declare they experienced a decline in turnover of 70% or more over a minimum 2-week period from 26 June 2021 to 17 July 2021 compared to the same period in June and/or July 2019; 
    • for Southern Border businesses, the minimum 2-week period is from 27 May 2021 to 17 July 2021 compared to the same period in May and/or June and/or July 2019.
  • declare they have eligible expenses for which there is no other support available. They will not be required to provide evidence of costs on application (e.g. invoices) but will need to keep evidence of costs for a possible future audit;
  • declare their employee headcount at 13 July 2021;
  • declare they will maintain their employee headcount as at 13 July 2021 for the period for which the business is receiving payments under this Grant and the JobSaver scheme;
  • provide details of their qualified accountant, registered tax agent or registered BAS agent for possible compliance checking;
  • submit an Australian Income Tax Return (or Notice of Assessment) or other documentation to demonstrate their business had an aggregated annual turnover of between $75,000 and $50 million (inclusive) for the year ended 30 June 2020; and
  • lodge other supporting documents as required to demonstrate that they meet the eligibility criteria.

To receive the remaining $4,500, eligible business will be required to submit evidence that they:

  • experienced a decline in turnover of 70% or more over a minimum 2-week period from 26 June 2021 to 17 July 2021 compared to the same period in June and/or July 2019 (see Section 5.4 for type of evidence required).
    • for Southern Border businesses the turnover period is from 27 May 2021 to 17 July 2021 compared to the same period in May and/or June and/or July 2019.

Businesses outside the 'highly impacted industries list' – all tiers

5.3 Eligible businesses outside the 'highly impacted industries list' applying for the $7,500 (tier one), the $10,500 (tier two) or the $15,000 (tier three) grant are required to:

  • submit evidence that they experienced the required decline in turnover over a minimum 2-week period from 26 June 2021 to 17 July 2021 compared to the same period in June and/or July 2019 (see Section 5.4 for evidence required);
    • for Southern Border businesses the turnover period is from 27 May 2021 to 17 July 2021 compared to the same period in May and/or June and/or July 2019.
  • declare they have eligible expenses for which no other government support is available. They will not be required to provide evidence of costs on application (e.g. invoices) but will need to keep evidence of costs for a possible future audit;
  • declare their employee headcount at 13 July 2021;
  • declare they will maintain their employee headcount as at 13 July 2021 for the period for which the business is receiving payments under this Grant and the JobSaver scheme;
  • submit an Australian Income Tax Return (or Notice of Assessment) or other documentation to demonstrate their business had an aggregated annual turnover of between $75,000 and $50 million (inclusive) for the year ended 30 June 2020; and
  • lodge other supporting documents as required to demonstrate that they meet the eligibility criteria.

Supporting evidence

5.4 Where evidence is required to show total annual Australian wages, and decline in turnover, this will be in the form of a letter from one of the following Independent Practitioners:

  • qualified accountant as defined in the Corporations Act 2001
  • registered tax agent as defined under the Tax Agent Services Act 2009; or
  • registered BAS agent as defined under the Tax Services Act 2009.

5.5 A template is available on the Service NSW website detailing what the accountant or tax professional’s letter must include. If an applicant is not able to provide a letter from an accredited accountant or tax professional to verify their decline in turnover, they should contact Service NSW on 13 77 88.

Alternative circumstances

5.6 Businesses operating in New South Wales with their ABN registered elsewhere should contact Service NSW. They will be able to apply if they can provide evidence their business was operating in New South Wales as at 1 June 2021. Evidence to demonstrate this includes commercial rates notices or lease agreements. Where a rates notice or lease agreement is not available, Service NSW may accept a combination of the following:

  • utility bills
  • insurance papers
  • supply invoices
  • registration papers
  • contractor licences.

5.7 Businesses that cannot demonstrate the minimum $75,000 aggregated annual turnover or the minimum decline in turnover should contact Service NSW as they may still be eligible to apply if they:

  • were not operating for the full year to 30 June 2020 (e.g. they are a new business) but can demonstrate income consistent with $75,000 per annum over a shorter period prior to 26 June 2021, and they can demonstrate they have been significantly impacted by the Public Health Orders, or
  • their turnover in June/July 2019 was not representative of their usual or average turnover (e.g. due to drought or bushfires) which is usually $75,000 per annum or more, and they can demonstrate they have been significantly impacted by the Public Health Orders.

5.8 Where a business does not submit a BAS to the Australian Tax Office, the business should contact Service NSW to discuss further.

5.9 Where a business operates through a trust structure, the applicant will be required to provide additional information to demonstrate an aggregated annual turnover of $75,000 or more is derived through the trust, as opposed to a business linked to a trust.

5.10 Service NSW can request a combination of the following documents to support its determination of eligibility:

  • accountant’s letter
  • prior BAS statements
  • income tax declarations
  • audited profit and loss statements
  • receipts and invoices from purchases.

5.11 Where a business is unable to provide these documents, or where Service NSW is satisfied it has other suitable methods to determine eligibility, Service NSW may accept another form of documentation.

5.12 Businesses requiring assistance with their online application can contact Service NSW on 13 77 88.

6. Definitions

Aggregated annual turnover: the Australian Taxation Office income assessment concept will be applied when assessing whether an applicant had national aggregated annual turnover of between $75,000 and $50 million (inclusive).

Decline in turnover: the Australian Taxation Office Goods and Services Tax (GST) concept will be applied when assessing whether an applicant experienced a 30% or more decline in national turnover.

Employee headcount means the number of persons who are employed in New South Wales and who are permanent (full-time or part-time), or casual staff that have been employed by the business for more than 12 months.

Greater Sydney means (a) the Greater Sydney Region within the meaning of the Greater Sydney Commission Act 2015, and (b) the local government areas of the Central Coast, the City of Shellharbour and the City of Wollongong.

Highly impacted industries means the industries in the list in Attachment A.

Independent practitioner is not an employee or director of the applicant, an associated entity of the applicant, or a director or employee of an associated entity of the applicant.

Maintain their employee headcount means maintenance of the employer-employee relationship consistent with employment law. Employers will, however, remain eligible if employees voluntarily resign.

Non-employing business means a business owner who does not have employees. This may include a range of entity types, such as non-employing sole traders or any other businesses without employees.

Not-for-profit organisation means an incorporated charity or non-profit entity which is registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) or an equivalent NSW regulatory body.

Qualified accountant, registered tax agent or registered BAS agent means an Independent Practitioner that is a:

  • qualified accountant as defined in the Corporations Act 2001;
  • registered tax agent as defined under the Tax Agent Services Act 2009; or
  • registered BAS agent as defined under the Tax Services Act 2009.

Southern Border business is a business that has an ABN registered in, or is physically located and primarily operating in, one of the following local government areas:

  • Albury
  • Balranald
  • Berrigan
  • Bega Valley
  • Edward River
  • Federation
  • Greater Hume Shire 
  • Hay
  • Murray River
  • Murrumbidgee
  • Snowy Monaro
  • Snowy Valleys
  • Wentworth.

Attachment A: List of highly impacted industries

Industry ANZSIC code Industry category Lockdown zone Non-lockdown zone
Accommodation and Food Services 4530 Clubs (Hospitality) Highly impacted  
  4400 Accommodation Highly impacted Highly impacted
  4520 Pubs, Taverns and Bars Highly impacted  
  4511 Cafes and Restaurants Highly impacted  
  4513 Catering Services Highly impacted Highly impacted
  4512 Takeaway Food Services Highly impacted  
Administrative and Support Services 7220 Travel Agency and Tour Arrangement Services Highly impacted Highly impacted
  7299 Other Administrative Services n.e.c. Highly impacted Highly impacted
Arts and Recreation Services 8910 Museum Operation Highly impacted Highly impacted
  8921 Zoological and Botanical Gardens Operation Highly impacted Highly impacted
  9201 Casino Operation Highly impacted  
  9209 Other Gambling Activities Highly impacted  
  9001 Performing Arts Operation Highly impacted Highly impacted
  9003 Performing Arts Venue Operation Highly impacted Highly impacted
  9139 Amusement and Other Recreational Activities n.e.c. Highly impacted Highly impacted
  9131 Amusement Parks and Centres Operation Highly impacted Highly impacted
  9111 Health and Fitness Centres and Gymnasia Operation Highly impacted  
  9121 Horse and Dog Racing Administration and Track Operation Highly impacted  
  8922 Nature Reserves and Conservation Parks Operation Highly impacted Highly impacted
  9114 Sports and Physical Recreation Administrative Services Highly impacted Highly impacted
  9112 Sports and Physical Recreation Clubs and Sports Professionals Highly impacted  
  9113 Sports and Physical Recreation Venues, Grounds and Facilities Operation Highly impacted  
  9002 Creative Artists, Musicians, Writers and Performers Highly impacted  
Information Media and Telecommunications 6010 Libraries and Archives Highly impacted  
  5513 Motion Picture Exhibition Highly impacted Highly impacted
Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services 6720 Real Estate Services Highly impacted  
  6611 Passenger Car Rental and Hiring Highly impacted Highly impacted
  6619 Other Motor Vehicle and Transport Equipment Rental and Hiring Highly impacted Highly impacted
  6639 Other Goods and Equipment Rental and Hiring n.e.c. Highly impacted Highly impacted
Other Services 9534 Brothel Keeping and Prostitution Services Highly impacted  
  9511 Hairdressing and Beauty Services Highly impacted  
  9512 Diet and Weight Reduction Centre Operation Highly impacted  
  9531 Laundry and Dry-Cleaning Services Highly impacted  
  9539 Other Personal Services n.e.c. Highly impacted  
Retail (excluding food retailing) 3911 Car Retailing Highly impacted  
  3912 Motor Cycle Retailing Highly impacted  
  3913 Trailer and Other Motor Vehicle Retailing Highly impacted  
  3921 Motor Vehicle Parts Retailing Highly impacted  
  3922 Tyre Retailing Highly impacted  
  4129 Other Specialised Food Retailing Highly impacted  
  4211 Furniture Retailing Highly impacted  
  4212 Floor Coverings Retailing Highly impacted  
  4213 Houseware Retailing Highly impacted  
  4214 Manchester and Other Textile Goods Retailing Highly impacted  
  4221 Electrical, Electronic and Gas Appliance Retailing Highly impacted  
  4222 Computer and Computer Peripheral Retailing Highly impacted  
  4229 Other Electrical and Electronic Goods Retailing Highly impacted  
  4231 Hardware and Building Supplies Retailing Highly impacted  
  4232 Garden Supplies Retailing Highly impacted  
  4241 Sport and Camping Equipment Retailing Highly impacted  
  4242 Entertainment Media Retailing Highly impacted  
  4243 Toy and Game Retailing Highly impacted  
  4244 Newspaper and Book Retailing Highly impacted  
  4245 Marine Equipment Retailing Highly impacted  
  4251 Clothing Retailing Highly impacted  
  4252 Footwear Retailing Highly impacted  
  4253 Watch and Jewellery Retailing Highly impacted  
  4259 Other Personal Accessory Retailing Highly impacted  
  4260 Department Stores Highly impacted  
  4271 Pharmaceutical, Cosmetic and Toiletry Goods Retailing Highly impacted  
  4272 Stationery Goods Retailing Highly impacted  
  4273 Antique and Used Goods Retailing Highly impacted  
  4274 Flower Retailing Highly impacted  
  4279 Other Store-Based Retailing n.e.c. Highly impacted  
  4310 Non-Store Retailing Highly impacted  
  4320 Retail Commission-Based Buying and/or Selling Highly impacted  
Transport 4900 Air and Space Transport Highly impacted Highly impacted
  4820 Water Passenger Transport Highly impacted  
  5010 Scenic and Sightseeing Transport Highly impacted Highly impacted
  5029 Other Transport n.e.c. Highly impacted Highly impacted
  4621 Interurban and Rural Bus Transport Highly impacted Highly impacted
  4622 Urban Bus Transport (including Tramway) Highly impacted  
  4623 Taxi and Other Road Transport Highly impacted  
Education and Training 8211 Sports and Physical Recreation Instruction Highly impacted  
  8212 Arts Education Highly impacted  
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services 6991 Professional Photographic Services Highly impacted Highly impacted
Health Care and Social Assistance 8531 Dental Services Highly impacted  
  8532 Optometry and Optical Dispensing Highly impacted  
  8533 Physiotherapy Services Highly impacted  
  8534 Chiropractic and Osteopathic Services Highly impacted  
  8539 Other Allied Health Services Highly impacted  
  8790 Other Social Assistance Services Highly impacted  
Other Health Care Services 8599 Other Health Care Services n.e.c. Highly impacted  

Note: A 'lockdown zone' is defined here as all LGAs in Greater Sydney, Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour. All other LGAs in NSW are defined as ‘non-lockdown zone’ LGAs.

Attachment B: Ineligible businesses

A business is not eligible for the 2021 COVID-19 Business Grant if any of the following apply:

  • the Major Bank Levy was imposed on the entity or a member of its consolidated group for any quarter before 1 July 2021
  • the entity is an Australian government agency (within the meaning of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997)
  • the entity is a local governing body
  • the entity is wholly owned by an Australian government agency or local governing body
  • the entity is a sovereign entity or owned by a sovereign entity
  • the entity is a company in liquidation or provisional liquidation
  • the entity is an individual who has entered bankruptcy
  • the entity has been found to have been engaged in fraud
  • the entity primarily earns passive income (rents, interest, or dividends).