Businesses, workers and the performing arts across NSW are all set to benefit from a major financial support package of more than $1 billion to help those that have been hardest hit by the Omicron wave.

The package includes financial support for small business to buy rapid antigen tests (RATs) to help keep their workers safe and a new Small Business Support Program to assist businesses to help keep their workers employed.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said while case numbers are now declining, the NSW Government is determined to support those businesses that have been most affected during this wave of the pandemic.

“As part of the package, we are introducing the Small Business Support Program to help support businesses that experienced the worst effects of the Omicron wave,” Mr Perrottet said.

“We are also providing support to business to help reimburse the cost of rapid antigen tests for their workers, extending the Commercial Landlord Hardship Grant and delivering additional funding for the performing arts sector.

“This targeted package provides support for businesses who experienced cashflow issues and the immediate economic impacts of the Omicron outbreak.

“NSW is tracking better than expected and confidence is returning. And as we did with earlier recoveries, we will come through this recent challenge stronger than ever.

“We’ve got the backs of businesses, as we have throughout this entire pandemic.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the support package would provide a statewide response to the Omicron wave of the pandemic, targeting those businesses that need it the most.Minister for Small Business Minister for Fair T rading

“Our regions have felt the impacts of Omicron, and it’s critical we give them a helping hand to recover and get local economies humming again,” Mr Toole said.

“This package shows that the NSW Government continues to have the back of residents and businesses in the bush with practical measures to ensure they keep their workers safe and businesses open.”

Treasurer Matt Kean said we know some businesses in NSW have faced challenges and it is vital we get them the support they need to stay afloat and keep their workers in jobs.

“As we continue to protect the health and safety of our community, we have to ensure our economy is resilient and our businesses are supported so they bounce back from this most recent phase of the pandemic,” Mr Kean said.

“The Small Business Support Program helps those businesses with annual turnover of between $75,000 and $50 million with a decline in turnover of at least 40 per cent by providing a payment covering up to 20 per cent of their weekly payroll.

“By ensuring businesses keep their doors open and their employees paid, we are confident our economy will bounce back strongly as it did last year.”

Small Business Minister Eleni Petinos said the program was important to ensure small businesses have the resources and cash flow they need to survive this outbreak and bounce back.

“We know that the over 800,000 small businesses in NSW are the lifeblood of local communities and that many of these businesses experienced challenges due to the Omicron wave of the pandemic,” Ms Petinos said.

“This package will help relieve some of the costs of small business including keeping workers safe, assist with cash flow and support small businesses to continue trading.”

The Small Business Support Program provides eligible businesses a lump sum payment of 20 per cent of weekly payroll with a minimum payment of $500 per week and a maximum payment of $5,000 per week.

In addition, the existing Small Business Fees, Charges and RAT Rebate will be increased by 50% from the current $2,000 limit to $3,000 and employing businesses will be able to use the rebate to obtain RATs. This will support worker availability by helping reduce costs to small businesses and enabling healthy staff who have been exposed to COVID-19, but test negative, to return to work.

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