Supporting local businesses and the economy

Tourism and Hospitality Support package

The Tourism and Hospitality Support package, announced in August 2020, is designed to protect and create local jobs.

Tourism Cooperative Marketing Fund

The package includes the establishment of a Tourism Cooperative Marketing Fund to provide funding to cooperative marketing projects proposed by ACT tourism operators and attractions. Further information is available here.

Further relief to the hotels and hospitality industry

The package also provides further relief to Canberra's hotels and hospitality industry, extending the support announced earlier in the year:

  • Hotels and serviced apartments will receive a rebate on their water and sewerage fixed charge on Icon Water bills for the second two quarters of 2020-21.
  • Cafes and restaurants will be able to receive a one-off $1,000 payment on electricity bills until 30 June 2021.
  • Existing on-licensees will still have the option to move to a general liquor licence, free of charge until 30 June 2021.

Further information is available at here.

Hire car and charter bus registration fees

The package provides further relief to tourism businesses by introducing a waiver on registration fees for hire cars and charter buses registered in the ACT. This is in addition to the hire car annual licence fees that were waived for 12 months as part of the assistance package announced in early April. Please see the Rego Fees Waiver Hire Car and Charter Bus Factsheet for more information.

The waiver includes:

  • The registration fee for the vehicle;
  • The costs of the Motor Accident Injuries (MAI) insurance with your chosen insurance provider; and
  • National Heavy Vehicle fees associated with the vehicle (if relevant).

The waiver does not include fees for roadworthy certificates. You are still required to have your vehicle inspected at the Hume Motor Vehicle Inspection Station. You will need to pay the following fee for your vehicle inspection:

  • Light Vehicles: $73.50
  • Heavy Vehicles: $167.40

If your light vehicle has a current roadworthy certificate, you may be eligible for an exemption.

This waiver is in addition to the hire car annual licence fees that were waived for 12 months as part of the assistance package announced in early April 2020.

To receive the waiver, contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81.

Support for the ACT events sector

Events are proven tourism demand drivers that contribute significantly to the visitor economy. This package included increased funding for community events via Events ACT and support for a physical distancing technology pilot to help position Canberra to attract new business events.

ACT Event Fund

The ACT Event Fund has been established as a key mechanism for stimulating a range of positive economic, community and social outcomes for the Canberra region through the festivals and events sector.

The Fund assists eligible applicants to develop, market and promote their events – while fostering a diverse, high-quality calendar of events each year. For 2021, the ACT Event Fund will also play an important role in supporting events that can safely connect our community and visitors in line with Public Health Directions.

For more information, including funding guidelines and access to online application forms, visit www.events.act.gov.au/funding, email eventfund@act.gov.au or phone the team at Events ACT on 6205 4324.

Commercial property owners

Commercial rates and fees

Commercial property owners with an Average Unimproved Value (AUV) of $2 million or below on their property will notice;

  • 2019-20 quarter four commercial general rates notices were delayed by four weeks. Payable one month after the date of issue.
  • a credit of $2,622 (equivalent to the annual fixed charge) automatically applied to their quarter four 2019-20 general rates. If bills are already paid in full or if the quarterly bill is less than the credit, this credit will be rolled over to the next bill.
  • the 2020-21 Fire and Emergency Services Levy has been frozen at the 2019-20 amount.
  • The usual annual increase will not be applied to 2020-21 general rates bills. Changes in land values will drive changes in individual rates bills.

Commercial rates relief

The government has developed a scheme that provides rates relief for landlords and owner-operated commercial properties.

Visit the Commercial Tenancies page to find out more.

Rates Deferrals

Commercial property owners affected by COVID-19 can defer their rates (interest free) until 1 April 2021.

Visit the ACT Revenue Office website to apply for a deferral.

City Centre Marketing and Improvement Levy

The 2020-21 City Centre Marketing and Improvement Levy was reduced by 50 per cent for commercial properties in the city centre and Braddon. The remaining 50 per cent will be deferred by six months until February 2021.

Visit the City Renewal Authority website to find out more.

Commercial property tenants

Commercial tenancy relief

The government has developed a scheme that provides relief for business tenants and owner-operated commercial properties.

Visit the Commercial Tenancies page to find out more.

Rental relief to tenants of ACT Government owned properties

Commercial tenants significantly affected by COVID-19 may receive rental relief from 1 April 2020 for up to six-months.

Email ACT Property Group to find out more at: ACTPGExecutiveSupport@act.gov.au

Community clubs and the Canberra Casino

A total of $3.3 million has been distributed to clubs from the Diversification and Sustainability Support Fund to keep staff employed.

The government is also supporting community clubs and Casino Canberra, to enable them to keep staff employed.

Measures include:

  • Providing gaming machine licensees with the opportunity to access a payment of $15,000 per authorisation if they voluntarily surrender gaming machine authorisations;
  • A waiver/refund of gaming machine tax liabilities for clubs for March 2020 gaming activity (for clubs that pay tax monthly) or gaming activity in the first quarter of 2020 (for clubs eligible to pay tax quarterly).
  • Providing clubs with a rebate of fixed water and sewerage charges on Icon Water bills for the next two quarters.
  • a waiver/refund of the annual licence fee and gaming tax liabilities for March 2020 activity for Casino Canberra; and
  • Application of the small business $750 electricity rebate to non-licenced sporting clubs and community clubs (with usage of less than 100 megawatt hours per annum on a business tariff with an electricity retailer).

The government is continuing to consult with community clubs to investigate further ways to support them to keep as many Canberrans employed as possible as they re-adjust to a changed operating environment.

Clubs will also benefit from additional business supports and measures in this package.

Clubs interested in accessing payments to voluntarily surrender gaming machine authorisations should contact the Liquor, Racing and Gaming Policy team at: LRGPolicy@act.gov.au.

Gaming tax liability waivers or refund are administered through existing channels related to gaming machine tax collection.

Clubs can apply for the electricity rebate through the Access Canberra website until 31 December 2020. Read the factsheet to find out more.

Other initiatives will allow clubs to claim award wages payments made to staff as community purpose contributions where an emergency declaration has been made and provide incentives for clubs to prepare food for vulnerable people.

Rideshare, taxi’s and hire cars

The government will automatically waive the following fees;

  • The Rideshare vehicle licence fee will be waived for 12 months for rideshare operators from 1 April 2020 as part of the normal licencing processes. If licences have already been prepaid 12 months in advance, an additional 12 months credit will be added to the license at the next due date.
  • All government leased taxi plate fees will be waived, including wheelchair accessible taxis to help support this vital service.
  • the $48.80 re-establishment fee for taxi service operators wanting to re-register their vehicles after cancelling their registration due to COVID-19. The requirement for a roadworthy inspection will be waived for any taxis being re-registered, if the vehicle has undergone a roadworthy inspection in the past 9 months.
  • Hire car annual licence fee for 12 months. If hire car operators have paid for a 6-year licence, an additional 12 months credit will be added to their licence starting from the next due date.

You do not need to contact Access Canberra for this to happen.

The government will also provide a one-off payment of up to $5,000 to taxi operators who lease their taxi plates from private owners. This is in line with support already being provided to taxi operators who lease government issued plates in the Territory.

Taxi operators who lease their taxi plates from private owners will need to complete an application form available on the Access Canberra website.

Construction industry

Payroll tax deferral for construction industry

ACT businesses in the construction industry can defer their payroll tax liability, interest free for the nine months from April to December 2020. Interest will not be charged on deferred amounts until January 2021.

To apply complete a simple online application form on the ACT Revenue Office website.

Stamp duty concessions for owner-occupiers

The ACT Government is offering stamp duty concessions in the ACT for some home buyers planning to live in their new property. This initiative will encourage growth in the residential property construction sector to create and support jobs.

Find out more on the Families and Households webpage.

Lease Variation Charge

The lease variation charge (LVC) has been reduced by 50 percent (capped at $250,000) for developments requiring a lease variation. This applies to LVC’s paid between 25 June 2020 and 23 December 2020. Construction must commence by 31 March 2021 regardless of when the development application was lodged or approved.

LVC payments will be administered through the deferred payments system and the 50 percent remission will take effect when construction commences.

Hotels and hospitality industry

Food business registration, outdoor dining and liquor licensing fee waivers

On liquor licencees and Off licencees with gross liquor purchase value of $3 million or less in the last reporting year will receive a 12-month waiver of their annual food business registration and liquor licencing fees from 1 April 2020. Outdoor dining fees for 2020-2021 will also be waived.

The application fee for a general liquor licence will be waived for existing on licensees from 22 May 2020 until 31 December 2020.

Commercial liquor permits issued to allow takeaway sales during COVID-19 can be extended to run up to a total of 12 months free of charge. These permits support restaurants and cafes to continue to offer takeaway and home delivery options. These permits were initially offered to on licensees for three months from 23 March 2020.

If you hold an existing ON licence, you can also choose to move to a general liquor licence, free of charge until 31 December 2020 to provide an option to broaden your business model.

If food business registration has been prepaid for more than one year in advance, an additional 12 months will be added to the license.

Businesses do not need to contact the ACT Government for these waivers. This will be applied automatically as part of the normal annual fee licencing process.

Micro-producer application fee

Micro-producers will receive a 90 per cent reduction off their application fee in the first year of their off licence from 22 May 2020 if they produce and sell up to $100,000 of liquor on their licenced premises.

To qualify for the initiative, you must:

  • have not previously held an off licence;
  • conduct your business at your licensed premises and sell only the liquor you produce on the premises; and
  • provide a written statement to the Fair-Trading Commissioner that the estimated gross revenue from liquor you produce won’t be more than $100,000 during your reporting year.

Visit the Access Canberra website to apply.

Hotels and accommodation providers fixed charge rebate

Hotels and serviced apartments will receive a rebate of the water and sewerage fixed charges on Icon Water bills for the full 2020-21 financial year, saving businesses hundreds of dollars in fixed charges as they transition to reopening safely.

For hotels and other accommodation providers, download the factsheet to find out more, or apply on the Access Canberra Website to receive this rebate.

Function and event venues fixed charge rebate

The fixed water and sewerage charges rebate has recently been extended to venues whose primary purpose is to host functions and events such as concerts, weddings and funerals noting that COVID 19 restrictions have severely affected the ability of these venues to operate.

For function and event venues, download the fact sheet to find out more, or apply on the Access Canberra website.

Cafes, Restaurants - $1,000 rebate

Caf├ęs, restaurants and takeaways will receive a $1,000 rebate on electricity bills. Applications for this rebate can be submitted up to 30 June 2021.

Download the factsheet to find out more, or eligible businesses can apply on the Access Canberra Website to receive this rebate.

Small, medium and large businesses

Payroll tax waivers

All businesses whose operations were directly affected by restrictions and prohibitions as part of the COVID-19 public health response may be eligible to receive a payroll tax waiver from April to September 2020.

Businesses will need to complete a simple online application form on the ACT Revenue Office website to confirm their eligibility.

Businesses that are unable, or essentially unable, to trade due to COVID-19 health related restrictions may be eligible for a further payroll tax waiver from October to December 2020. This ensures that should restrictions need to be tightened again, a payroll tax waiver will be accessible to assist businesses prevented from trading by those restrictions.

Find out more on the ACT Revenue Office website.

Payroll tax deferral

All ACT businesses with Australia-wide wages of up to $10 million can defer their 2020-21 payroll tax, interest free until 1 July 2022.

Businesses will need to confirm if they are eligible by visiting the ACT Revenue Office website.

Payroll tax exemption - apprentice or trainees

Businesses who take on new or additional apprentices or trainees may be eligible to apply for a six-month payroll exemption.

Find out more on the ACT Revenue Office website.

Canberra Business Advice and Support Service

The Canberra Business Enterprise Centre (CBEC) is offering advice and support to existing ACT businesses impacted by the recent extreme events in our community, including the bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic.

The service supports small businesses to address the impact of these recent events on their business and provides one-on-one business management advice. Business owners can receive up to four hours of fully subsidised, (free) tailored advice and access to business development resources.

To access this service please call 6297 3121 or email: janine@srbec.com.au

More information is available on the CBEC website.

Small to medium businesses are receiving support as they reopen their doors and adjust to physical distancing requirements.

Fees and charges frozen

A range of government fees and charges will not increase in the 2020-21 financial year to support the community to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fees and charges listed below will remain at current levels for 2020-21:

  • Light vehicle registration fees;
  • ACT Government pay parking fee and parking permit fees;
  • Public transport fees;
  • Food business registration fees;
  • Liquor licencing fees;
  • Infection control licence fees;
  • Taxi licence fees;
  • Rideshare vehicle licence fees; and
  • Hire car licence fees.

All fees and charges included in the following fee determinations will also remain at current levels for 2020-21.

  • Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Building (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Community Title (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Construction Occupations (Licensing) (Fees) Determination 2019 (No 2)
  • Controlled Sports (Fees) Determination 2019 (No 1)
  • Domestic Animals (Fees) Determination 2019 (No 1)
  • Emergencies (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Electricity Safety (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Fisheries (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Food (Fees) Determination 2019 (No 1)
  • Gaming Machine (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Land Titles (Fees) Determination 2019 (No 2)
  • Liquor (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Partnership (Fees) Determination 2019 –
  • Planning and Development (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Public Health (Fees) Determination 2019 (No 1)
  • Registration of Deeds (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Road Transport (General) (Parking Permit Fees) Determination 2019 (No 1)
  • Road Transport (General) (Pay Parking Area Fees) Determination 2019
  • Security Industry (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Sex Work (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Traders (Licensing) (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Unit Titles (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Waste Management and Resource Recovery (Fees) Determination 2019 (No 2)
  • Water and Sewerage (Fees) Determination 2019

Copies of the fee determinations are available on the ACT Legislation Register at: www.legislation.act.gov.au/

Infection control support

Fees

The government has waived fees for 12 months from 1 April 2020 for businesses that require an infection control licence such as beauty therapists, nail salons, tattoo parlours and dentists.

You do not need to contact Health Protection Services, this will automatically happen as part of the normal licencing process.

Training

Free nationally accredited training is now available to help ACT businesses be COVID safe.

This training aims to support businesses to re-open safely, reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and support consumer confidence.

Fully funded training places are available in a selection of infection control Skill Sets for customer-facing workers (including business owners and supervisors).

The Skill Sets are designed to complement, rather than replace, existing non-accredited infection control training.

Support program

An infection control support program will be available through an online platform to provide information to businesses about workplace health and safety, workers’ rights and how to keep safe and report non-compliance in the hospitality industry.

For more information go to the Skills Canberra website.

Small business electricity rebate

Small business owners with electricity usage below 100 megawatts per year received automatic rebates of $750 to their electricity bill in around June or July 2020.The rebate was applied regardless of whether customers are on standing or market offers.

Priority Investment Program – Jobs and Economic Recovery Round

The ACT Government’s Priority Investment Program aims to enable collaboration between the ACT Government, industry, research and the tertiary sectors to attract investment and grow established and emerging priority sectors of Canberra’s economy. The program supports ACT-based businesses with projects or proposals that will directly contribute to long-term job creation and economic recovery in priority areas.

Find out more information including how to apply at: www.act.gov.au/pip

acknowledgement icon
Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.

Last Updated: September 28 2020