COVID-19 economic support for business

As we move through the COVID-19 pandemic, the ACT Government is providing a range of support measures to assist small businesses and local industry. See below for available support schemes.


COVID-19 Business Support Grant


The ACT COVID-19 Business Support Grants will deliver support of up to $10,000 for employing businesses and up to $4,000 for non-employing businesses over the three-week lockdown period where those businesses’ turnover has declined by 30 per cent or more as a result of the COVID-19 health restrictions. This program is jointly funded by the ACT and Australian Governments.

Eligibility will include:

  • Registered in the ACT as verified by an ABN and able to demonstrate primary operation in the ACT as at 1 April 2021;
  • Have an annual turnover of more than $75,000 (excluding GST);
  • Be registered for GST as recorded on the Australian Business Register before April 2021; and
  • Have total Australian payroll of less than $10 million.


COVID-19 Small Business Hardship Scheme – up to $10,000


Eligible small businesses will soon be able to apply to the ACT Government to receive credits for payroll tax, utility charges, rates and other selected fees and charges up to a maximum of $10,000 per operator. To be eligible for credits the applicant must be able to demonstrate 30 per cent loss in revenue.

This scheme is for small businesses with a turnover between $30,000 and $10 million per annum.

Small businesses can apply for up to $10,000 of support in the form of credit.

  1. Payroll tax
  2. Utilities
  3. Rates
  4. A range of business licence fees and charges.


Express your interest in these schemes.




COVID-19 Disaster Payment


Employees who are unable to earn an income during the lockdown may be able to access the Commonwealth Government’s COVID-19 Disaster Payment.

Payment amounts will vary from $200 to up to $750 depending on the hours of work lost during the lockdown and other eligibility criteria.

More information about the scheme and how to apply is available on the Services Australia website.




Accommodation and Tourism Venue Operator support program – up to $75,000


Accommodation providers and private tourism venue operators who have experienced a 30 per cent reduction in revenue in July 2021 compared to April 2021, can receive a full rebate on their fixed water and sewerage charges for the first two quarters of 2021-22.

For more information and eligibility, please read the Accommodation and Tourism Venue Operator Support Program factsheet (PDF 281KB) or (DOC 169KB).

Applications are now open. Please read this factsheet and then submit your application via this online form.

If you need assistance or have a question, please email

Applications close at 5pm on 17 September 2021


Small Tourism Operator COVID Recovery Payment – up to $15,000


Small tourism operators and operators likely to receive less than $15,000 under the Accommodation and Tourism Venue Operator support program will be contacted to apply for the Small Tourism Operator COVID Recovery Payment.

Eligible businesses can apply for reimbursement of up to $15,000 per ABN for eligible expenses incurred in June and July 2021.

To be eligible for the rebate the applicant must be able to demonstrate 30 per cent loss of revenue in July 2021 compared to April 2021.

Eligibility requirements are set out in three categories:

  • Tourism businesses with a turnover between $75,000 and $10m per annum (can apply up to $15,000 plus GST)
  • Tourism businesses with a turnover between $30,000 and $75,000 per annum (can apply up to $15,000 plus GST)
  • Seasonal Tourism Businesses (can apply up to $15,000 plus GST)


A range of expense types including ACT Government rates, fees and charges, fuel and mortgage repayments and perishable goods are eligible for reimbursement of up to $15,000 plus GST depending on the category.

Full payment parameters, eligibility requirements and supporting documentation are set out in the Small Tourism Operator COVID Recovery Payment Guidelines (DOC 227KB) or (PDF 971KB).

Please submit your application and supporting documentation via SmartyGrants portal.
Template for accountant or agent letter can be downloaded here.
You can find guidance on how to use Smart Grants here.
If you need assistance or have a question please email

Applications close at 5pm on 17 September 2021.


Hire car and charter bus registration fees


Current vehicle registration fees waivers for hire cars and charter buses registered in the ACT has now been extended to 31 March 2022. Vehicle registration fees will be waived for hire cars and charter buses registered in the ACT, providing further relief to tourism businesses. 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 2020.

Please see the Rego Fees Waiver Hire Car and Charter Bus Factsheet for more information.

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


Tourism Cooperative Marketing Fund


The Tourism Cooperative Marketing Fund (TCMF) will be brought forward in 2021/22. It is designed to encourage Canberra-based organisations or businesses to collaborate on innovative marketing campaigns that increase awareness of Canberra and region as a leisure destination.

Funding of $500,000 will be available to applications from two or more entities in two categories. A focus of the Fund will be to encourage collaboration with accommodation providers.

More information on the Fund will be available on the Visit Canberra Corporate website soon and will open once restrictions are eased.


COVID-Safe Tourism Co-Investment Program


The 2021/22 COVID Safe Tourism Co-investment program will be brought forward and will offer $750,000 in funding to encourage the development of new experiences to attract overnight visitors to Canberra.  More information on the Fund will be available on the Visit Canberra Corporate website soon and will open for applications once restrictions are eased.





A range of licence and fee waivers are available:

  • The food business registration fee waiver has been extended until 31 March 2022. If food business registration has been prepaid for more than one year in advance, an additional 12 months will be added to the licence.
  • The outdoor dining permit fee waiver has been extended for another 12 months, until 30 June 2022.
  • The annual licence fee waiver for some liquor licensees has been tapered to provide a 50 per cent fee reduction for 12 months from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022. Eligible licensees include nightclub licence, restaurant and café licence, bar licence, general licence, catering licence, special licence and club licence.


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


On 1 July 2021, the Government announced that “on liquor” licensees will be able to sell takeaway alcohol and offer it for home delivery until 31 August 2021.

A similar measure was implemented for a short period in 2020 to enable businesses to continue to trade and diversify services as part of the ACT Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Commercial Liquor Permits will be issued to on licensees allowing for the sale of takeaway liquor until 31 August 2021. The application fee for a commercial liquor permit is waived as part of this measure. The permits will be issued automatically for those that took up the same opportunity in 2020.
  • Businesses that did not take up this opportunity last year and would now like to, should contact the Access Canberra Liquor Licensing team at or call (02) 6207 2343.


Micro-producer application fee reduction


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.