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1. About the program

1.1 On 19 December 2020, the Public Health (COVID-19 Northern Beaches) Order 2020 ('the Northern Beaches Public Health Order') was issued. This restricted freedom of movement, gatherings and the ability of certain premises to open on the Northern Beaches.

1.2 The Northern Beaches Small Business Hardship Grant ('the Grant') will provide a one-off payment to help small businesses impacted by the Northern Beaches Public Health Order meet unavoidable costs.

1.3 Applications will open on 30 April 2021 and close at 11:59pm on 11 June 2021.

1.4 Businesses that have received the COVID-19 Small Business Support Grant and/or the Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Grant may be eligible to apply for this Grant.

1.5 Service NSW and NSW Treasury will deliver the Grant on behalf of the NSW Government.

1.6 By applying for the Grant, applicants 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.

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 $3000 (tier one) or $5000 (tier two) via one application:

  • $3000 (tier one): Small businesses that have experienced a decline in turnover of at least 30% due to the Northern Beaches Public Health Order will be eligible for a grant of $3000.
  • $5000 (tier two): Small businesses that have experienced a decline in turnover of at least 50% due to the Northern Beaches Public Health Order will be eligible for a grant of $5000.

2.2 Eligible businesses may only receive either the $3000 (tier one) grant or the $5000 (tier two) grant, not both. Only one grant is available for a single ABN.

3. Eligibility criteria

3.1 Businesses and not-for-profit organisations that were subject to the Northern Beaches Public Health Order will be eligible for the $3000 (tier one) Northern Beaches Small Business Hardship Grant if they:

  • are a business or a not-for-profit organisation with fewer than 20 FTE (this includes non-employing entities)
  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN) registered in or can demonstrate they are, as at 1 December 2020, physically located and primarily operating in the Northern Beaches Local Government Area
  • have experienced a decline in turnover of at least 30% due to the Northern Beaches Public Health Order over a minimum 2-week period from 19 December 2020 to 10 February 2021 compared to the same time last year
  • have total Australian wages below the NSW Government 2020-21 payroll tax threshold of $1.2 million as at 1 July 2020
  • have an annual turnover of more than $75,000 as at 1 March 2020
  • had unavoidable business costs during the Northern Beaches lockdown, for which there is no other government support available.

3.2 Businesses and not-for-profit organisations will be eligible for the $5000 (tier two) grant if they:

  • meet the eligibility criteria set out in Section 3.1, except they must:
    • have experienced a decline in turnover of at least 50% due to the Northern Beaches Public Health Order over a minimum 2-week period from 19 December 2020 to 10 February 2021 compared to the same time last year.

4. How funding may be used

4.1 The Northern Beaches Small Business Hardship Grant will help eligible small businesses and not-for-profit organisations with unavoidable business costs incurred since 19 December 2020. These costs may include, but are not limited to, the following expenses:

  • unavoidable business operating expenses, such as utilities or rent
  • financial, legal or other advice to support business continuity planning
  • marketing and communications activities
  • 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 wages for staff eligible for JobKeeper.

5. Evidence in support of eligibility

5.1 Applicants for the $3000 (tier one) and the $5000 (tier two) Northern Beaches Small Business Hardship Grant are required to:

  • declare they had unavoidable business costs from 19 December 2020 to 10 February 2021. 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
  • submit a business activity statement (BAS) or other documentation to demonstrate their business had an annual turnover of at least $75,000 as at 1 March 2020
  • lodge other supporting documents as required to demonstrate that they meet the eligibility criteria.

5.2 Applicants for the $3000 (tier one) Northern Beaches Small Business Hardship Grant are also required to declare:

  • they are a business or a not-for-profit organisation with fewer than 20 FTE
  • they have experienced a decline in turnover of at least 30% due to the Northern Beaches Public Health Order over a minimum two-week period from 19 December 2020 to 10 February 2021 compared to the same time last year.

5.3 Applicants for the $5000 (tier two) Northern Beaches Small Business Hardship Grant are required to submit evidence that they meet the FTE criteria and have experienced a decline in turnover of at least 50% due to the Northern Beaches Public Health Order over a minimum two-week period from 19 December 2020 to 10 February 2021 compared to the same time last year. This evidence 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.

5.4 A template is available on the Service NSW website detailing what the accountant’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.

5.5 If a business’s total Australian wages exceeds $900,000, the applicant is required to submit evidence demonstrating their total Australian wages was below $1.2 million as at 1 July 2020. The evidence is required 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.

5.6 Businesses physically located and operating in the Northern Beaches Local Government Area with their Australian Business Number registered elsewhere will need to also provide evidence their business was physically located and operating in the Northern Beaches Local Government Area as at 1 December 2020. Evidence to demonstrate this includes 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 Where a small business or not-for-profit organisation was not in operation a year earlier, or where their turnover a year earlier was not representative of their usual or average turnover because the business has been affected by drought or bushfires, the administrating agency will have discretion to consider additional information that the small business or not-for-profit organisation can provide to establish that they have been significantly affected by the impacts of the Northern Beaches Public Health Order.

5.8 Where a small business does not submit a BAS to the Australian Tax Office, the small business should contact Service NSW to discuss further. In these cases, an income tax declaration may be accepted as evidence of an annual turnover of $75,000.

5.9 Where a small business operates through a trust structure, the applicant will be required to provide additional information to demonstrate an annual turnover of $75,000 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
  • profit and loss statements
  • extracts from an accounting software (e.g., Xero)
  • 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. Terms and Conditions

6.1 Applicants are able to apply for either a $3000 (tier one) or $5000 (tier two) grant where they are an eligible small business owner or not-for-profit organisation.

6.2 Applicants will be required to provide supporting documentation at the time of application.

6.3 Service NSW will check whether an applicant's business is registered for GST during the assessment process.

6.4 Applicants must retain for 5 years all tax invoices, official receipts, bank statements or other similar records that show grant monies have been used to purchase items that will allow the business to meet unavoidable business costs in accordance with these Guidelines.

6.5 Applicants must agree to the Administering Agency conducting an audit of documentation used to support an application to verify information provided.

6.6 Service NSW/NSW Treasury will survey businesses at the end of the program to gather data on whether the grant has supported this intent.

6.7 If information in the application is found to be untrue or misleading, Service NSW may seek to recover any payments. The matter may be referred to NSW Police and criminal penalties may apply.

6.8 Payments to eligible small businesses and not-for-profit organisations will be made as act of grace payments under section 5.7(1) of the Government Sector Finance Act 2018 ('GSF Act'). The conditions in clause 6 have been approved by the Minister and are Terms and Conditions imposed by the Minister or his delegate on the making of the payment under section 5.7(2) of the GSF Act. If any of the conditions in clause 6 are contravened, the payment may be recovered from the recipient by the Crown in a court of competent jurisdiction as a debt due to the Crown pursuant to section 5.7(3) of the GSF Act.

6.9 By applying to register to participate in the Scheme, a business agrees to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.

7. Definitions

Administrating Agency means the responsible agency/department/body for assessing and/or administrating the grant package including any applications.

Eligible expenses are costs small businesses and not-for-profit organisations incur in meeting unavoidable business costs that arise from the Northern Beaches Public Health Order.

Employee means an individual employed by the business and included in the payroll. An employee is someone who the business makes payments to subject to withholding for tax purposes, such as salary, wages or director fees.

Full-time employment means an individual who ordinarily works for at least 35 hours each week for the small business.

Full-time equivalent (FTE) employment is the total number of paid employee hours divided by the number of full-time employment hours. To calculate, divide the employee's hours by 35 to determine the FTE. For example, an employee scheduled to work 21 hours per week would be 0.6 FTE.

Independent qualified accountant, registered tax agent or registered BAS agent means the 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.

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.

Northern Beaches Public Health Order refers to the Public Health (COVID-19 Northern Beaches) Order 2020 that commenced on 19 December 2020.

Small business is a business that:

  1. holds an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  2. has fewer than 20 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff (including non-employing businesses).

Small business owner is a sole trader, partnership, private company or trust that carries on a small business.

Turnover is the total ordinary income derived in the ordinary course of running a small business, typically measured on an annual basis.