Lockdown payments and support

Payments and support available for workers and businesses closed due to lockdown

Note: This article was last updated on 16 August 2021. 


The highly infectious Delta COVID variant is triggering lockdowns across the country. If you can’t work because you or someone in your household is impacted by COVID-19, support is available. Here’s a summary of where support stands around the country.



There are two payments accessible to individuals: the COVID-19 Disaster Payment; and, the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment.

You can apply for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment through your MyGov account if you have created and linked a Centrelink account. Apply for the Pandemic Leave Payment by phoning Services Australia on 180 22 66.

1. COVID-19 Disaster Payment

The COVID-19 Disaster Payment is a weekly payment available to eligible workers who can’t attend work or who have lost income because of a lockdown and don’t have access to certain paid leave entitlements. If you are a couple, both people can separately claim the payment.

Sole traders may apply for COVID-19 Disaster Payment if you are unable to operate your business from home. However, you will not be eligible if you are also receiving a state business grant such as the NSW 2021 COVID-19 Business Grant or JobSaver.

Timing of the payment

Previously the payment only applied from day 8 of a lockdown. However, from 2 August 2021, payments will apply from day one of the lockdown and will be paid in arrears once claims open. In general, you need to be living in, or impacted by Commonwealth declared lockdown to receive the payment although some States have funded an extension of the payment beyond hotspot areas.

How much is the payment?

The COVID-19 disaster payment amount available depends on:

  • How many hours of work you have lost in the week, and
  • If the payment is on or after the third period of the lockdown.
Disaster payment amount Lower rate Higher rate
Payment amount from 2 August 2021 $450 $750


The payment applies to each week of lockdown you are eligible for and is taxable (you will need to declare it in your income tax return).


The COVID-19 disaster payment is emergency relief. It is available if you:

  • Live or work in an area that is subject to a state or territory public health order that imposes restriction on movement and is declared a Commonwealth COVID-19 hotspot, or
  • Have visited an area that is a Commonwealth COVID-19 hotspot and you are subsequently subject to a restricted movement order when you return.

And you:

  • Are an Australian citizen, permanent resident or temporary visa holder who has the right to work in Australia, and
  • Are aged 17 years or over, and
  • Have lost 8 hours or more of work or a full day of your usual work as a result of the restrictions – losing work includes being stood down by your employer, not being assigned any shifts for the week of restrictions and being unable to work from home. Losing a full day of what you were scheduled to work but could not work because of a restricted movement order. This includes not being able to attend a full-time, part-time or casual shift of less than 8 hours, and
  • Don’t have paid pandemic-related leave available through your employer (annual leave is not taken into account for this), and
  • Are not receiving income support payments, a state or territory pandemic payment, Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment or state small business payment for the same period. See ‘Top up’ payments for those on income support below. Income support payments include Age Pension, Austudy, Carer Payment, Disability Support Pension, Farm Household Allowance, JobSeeker Payment, Parenting Payment, Partner Allowance, Special Benefit, Widow Allowance, Youth Allowance and Income Support Supplement, Service Pension or Veteran Pension from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

A liquid assets test of $10,000 previously applied to the disaster payment but was removed from Thursday, 8 July 2021.

‘Top up’ payments for those on income support

A special separate $200 ‘top-up’ payment will be made to those who currently receive an income support payment through social security, in addition to their existing payment, if they can demonstrate they have lost more than 8 hours of work and meet the other eligibility requirements for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment.

If you are a member of a couple, you can both apply for this payment.

How to claim

The payment is currently available to workers in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria.

To claim the payment, you will need a myGov account linked to Centrelink. If you don’t have a myGov account, you’ll need to create one and link it to Centrelink. You can find detailed instructions on how to claim on the Services Australia website.

2. Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment

The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is for those who have been advised by the health authorities to self-isolate or quarantine because they:

  • Test positive to COVID-19;
  • Have been identified as a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case;
  • Care for a child, 16 years or under, who has COVID-19; or
  • Care for a child, 16 years or under, who has been identified as close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case; or
  • Care for a person who has tested positive to COVID-19.

How much is the payment?

The payment is $1,500 for each 14 day period you are advised to self-isolate or quarantine. If you are a couple, you both can claim this payment if you meet the eligibility criteria.


The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is available if you:

  • Are an Australian citizen, permanent resident or temporary visa holder who has the right to work in Australia; and
  • Are aged 17 years or over; and
  • Are unable to go to work and earn an income; and
  • Do not have appropriate leave entitlements, including pandemic sick leave, personal leave or carers leave; and
  • Are not getting any income support payment, ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Paid parental leave or Dad and Partner Pay. Income support payments include Age Pension, Austudy, Carer Payment, Disability Support Pension, Farm Household Allowance, JobSeeker Payment, Parenting Payment, Partner Allowance, Special Benefit, Widow Allowance, Youth Allowance and Income Support Supplement, Service Pension or Veteran Pension from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

The payment is taxable and you will need to declare it in your income tax return.

If you are uncertain of your eligibility, talk to Services Australia.

If you are concerned about the impact of disaster relief payments on you, talk to us.





1. COVID-19 Business Support Grants

Your business may be eligible for financial support through the 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grants. $5,000 grants will be made available to small and medium businesses or large tourism and hospitality businesses across Queensland affected by COVID-19 lockdowns.

Applications for the 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grants will open on 16 August, at 12pm (midday).

Applications for these grants will remain open for three months, so there is time to get your application ready and apply.

Guidelines on how to apply for the grants are now available on the Business Queensland website.

Importantly, all eligible businesses who apply for a grant during the 3-month application period will receive a grant.

Businesses must have experienced at least a 30% reduction in turnover as a result of the lockdowns to be eligible as well as meeting other eligibility criteria.

Small and medium businesses are defined as businesses that have a turnover of more than $75,000 per annum and have an annual payroll in Queensland of up to $10 million.

Businesses or not for profit organisations do not have to be located in one of the lockdown areas to be eligible.

Getting ready to apply – important information

When the program opens, the online application form for the 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grants will be available via the QRIDA application portal.

Creating a QRIDA profile is the first step in the application process. Businesses without a profile can create a profile prior to applications opening. When applications open on Monday 16 August you must log into your profile on the portal to complete and submit your application.

Step by step instructions on how to create a QRIDA portal profile are available at: www.business.qld.gov.au/supportgrant


Use this eligibility checker to test your eligibility.


2. Small Business Adaption Grants

A Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grant of between $2,000 and $10,000 is available to eligible regional Queensland businesses. The grant requires your business to have suffered a decline in turnover of at least 30% because of COVID-19 for at least one month since 23 March 2020. The grant is accessible to businesses with less than 20 staff.


3. COVID-19 cleaning rebate

The Queensland COVID-19 cleaning rebate supports small and medium businesses and not-for-profit organisations that have been listed as an exposure site by Queensland Health.

It will help cover professional cleaning expenses by providing a rebate of up to 80% of cleaning costs, capped at $10,000 (excluding GST) per incident, where a business is identified as a COVID-19 exposure site by Queensland Health.

To be eligible, businesses (including sole traders) need to have a Queensland based business premises (i.e. principal place of business is located in Queensland) and an annual payroll in Queensland of not more than $10 million.

More details on how to access the rebate will be available in the near future. You can find out more and sign up for updates on the Business Queensland website.


4. Payroll tax relief for the hospitality and tourism sector

If you are a business operating in the hospitality or tourism sector and lodge payroll tax returns monthly, you can apply to defer paying your liability for July 2021 for 6 months. If you have paid your July return liability, the deferral will be applied to your August return.

The deferral will only apply to 1 month.

No refunds are available if these July and August returns are paid.

Eligibility criteria

To qualify for the 2021 deferral, your business must:

  • pay payroll tax in Queensland
  • operate in the hospitality or tourism sector (check your ANZSIC code)
  • lodge payroll tax returns monthly
  • have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns in Queensland
  • apply no later than 30 September 2021 using the online form.


5. Liquor licensing fees waived

The Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation will be waiving licence fees for the 2021–22 licence period for operators who were licensed under the Liquor Act 1992 or the Wine Industry Act 1994 as at 30 June 2021.

If you have already paid your licence fees for the 2021–22 period, these will be refunded. Licensees that have not paid are no longer required to pay their fees.

Application fees associated with changes to trading hours or licensed areas will also be waived between now and 30 June 2022.


6. Inbound tour operators fees waived

The Queensland Government has waived the registration fees for a 12-month period for Inbound Tour Operators renewal applications lodged before 30 June 2022 to support businesses that have been negatively impacted by the drop in tourism due to travel restrictions implemented as a result of COVID-19.



The NSW and Federal Governments have announced a series of new measures to support business during extended lockdowns of four weeks or more.

You can streamline the process of applying for business support by ensuring:

1. JobSaver: Cashflow support of up to $100,000

JobSaver is a weekly payment between a minimum of $1,500 and maximum of $100,000 based on 40% of the NSW payroll payments of your business (including not-for-profits).

Eligible businesses without employees that meet the eligibility criteria (such as sole traders with no employees), will be able to access a payment of $1,000 per week.

The cashflow support will cease when lockdown restrictions are eased or when the Commonwealth hotspot declaration is removed.

Funding is also limited to specific purposes.

How to apply

Applications can be made online through Service NSW and close at 11:59pm on 18 October 2021.

If your business has successfully applied for the COVID-19 business grant, your business will be automatically eligible for JobSaver but will need to provide the additional information on payroll and headcount.

To apply for JobSaver, you will need your business’s Australian income tax return, Notice of Assessment or other documentation demonstrating the business had a national aggregated annual turnover of between $75,000 and $250 million for the 2020 income year.

If your business is not on the highly impacted industries list, you will also need to submit a letter from us demonstrating that that you meet the decline in turnover test.

If your business is in the performing arts sector, please see the NSW Performing Arts COVID support package – CreateNSW is streamlining all applications through them.

2. 2021 COVID-19 Business Grant of up to $15,000

The previously announced small business grants have been increased to up to $15,000 and expanded to eligible businesses (including not-for-profits and sole traders) with annual wages of up to $10 million.

The value of the grant is determined by the impact of the lockdown on your turnover. Your business will need to prove a decline in turnover across a minimum 2 week period after the commencement of the major restrictions.

Decline in turnover Grant
70%+ $15,000
50% or more $10,500
30% or more $7,500


The 2021 COVID-19 business grant is available if you:

  • Have an active ABN; and
  • Can demonstrate that your business was operating in NSW as at 1 June 2021; and
  • Have had total annual Australian wages of $10m or less as at 1 July 2020; and
  • Have had an aggregated annual turnover between $75,000 and $50m (inclusive) for the year ended 30 June 2020; and
  • Have business costs for which there is no other government support available; and
  • Maintain employee headcount as at 13 July 2021; and
  • Have experienced a decline in turnover of at least 30% over a minimum 2-week period from 26 June 2021 to 17 July 2021, compared to the same period in 2019.  For businesses and not-for profits on the NSW border with Victoria impacted by lockdown orders that began on 27 May 2021, use the turnover period from 27 May 2021 to 17 July 2021 compared to the same period in May and/or June and/or July 2019.

Some businesses are ineligible for the grant. These include businesses predominantly earning passive income (rent, interest, or dividends), businesses owned by sovereign entities (foreign Governments), businesses in liquidation or bankruptcy proceedings, businesses that did not have an ABN as at 1 June, government agencies, local governments, banks, and universities.

How to apply

Applications are made online through Service NSW and close at 11:59pm on 13 September 2021.


3. $1,500 Micro Business Grants

A new grant for micro businesses (including sole traders) providing $1,500 per fortnight while lockdown restrictions apply. The grants are available from week one of the lockdown until restrictions are eased.


  • Annual turnover of more than $30,000 and less than $75,000
  • Demonstrate a 30% decline in turnover
  • The business provides the primary income source for a person associated with the business
  • Impacted by the current Greater Sydney COVID-19 restrictions

How to apply

Applications for the cashflow support have not yet opened but you can register your interest through ServiceNSW.


4. Payroll tax relief

Payroll tax and lodgement deadline deferred

NSW payroll tax has been deferred for July and August 2021 until 7 October 2021 for all businesses. The due date for the 2020-21 annual reconciliation has also been deferred until 7 October 2021. Previous payroll tax deferrals and payment arrangements for 2020-21 due in July 2021 have not been deferred.

25% payroll tax waiver for businesses between $1.2m and $10m
Businesses with Australian wages of between $1.2 million and $10 million that have experienced a 30% decline in turnover, will be provided with a 25% payroll tax waiver in 2021-22. Further details of the reduction will be available by the end of August from RevenueNSW.


5. Rent protections and grants

Commercial and retail rent protections will be reinstituted.


6. Eviction moratorium

Legislative amendments will be introduced shortly providing a short-term eviction moratorium for rental arrears where a residential tenant suffers loss of income of 25% due to COVID-19 and meets certain other criteria. The moratorium applies to tenants with an annual turnover of $50 million or less.

Commercial and retail landlords will need to attempt mediation before recovering a security bond, or locking-out or evicting a tenant impacted by Public Health Orders.


7. Land tax relief

Land tax relief equal to the value of rent reductions provided by commercial, retail and residential landlords to financially distressed tenants will be available for up to 100% of the 2021 land tax liability.


8. Specific sector based support:

Arts community

A $75 million support package will be provided to the performing arts sector to be administered by Create NSW.

The package will be delivered in two stages:

  • Immediate support to provide relief to eligible organisations who were staging performances during the period covered by the Public Health Orders.
  • Funding available to support eligible organisations to reschedule performances once it is safe for restrictions to ease.

Eligible organisations include performing arts organisations with heavy reliance on box office income, including not-for-profit performing arts companies who were staging, or scheduled to stage performances during the lockdown period, commercial producers and some live music venues.

Organisations will need to provide evidence of performances scheduled, venues and average ticket prices.

CreateNSW will open applications from 23 July 2021.



COVID-19 Business Support Grant

The ACT COVID-19 Business Support Grant will deliver grants of $3,000 for employing businesses and $1,000 for non-employing businesses. The grants will be available to local businesses that have experienced at least a 30 per cent reduction in turnover in the week defined as Friday 13 August – Friday 20 August 2021 (compared to the prior 7-day period) due to restricted trading conditions. This program is jointly funded by the ACT and Australian Governments.

More details will be available soon and you can register your interest in this scheme on the ACT Government website.

COVID-19 Small Business Hardship Scheme

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.

– Payroll tax
– Utilities
– Rates
– A range of business licence fees and charges.

More details will be available soon and you can register your interest in this scheme on the ACT Government website.



There are two main streams for grants in Victoria:

  • Those who qualified for the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two or the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021; and
  • Businesses that previously did not access grants

Existing grant beneficiaries

If your business previously received the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two or the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021, additional grants of $2,800 for the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two and up to $20,000 for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 have been announced. Your business cannot retrospectively apply for these grants. See Helping Victorian Businesses Who Need It Most.

New grants

For businesses that did not access previous grants, the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two July Extension offers grants of $4,800 for employing and non-employing business depending on your sector. For those in the hospitality sector, a new Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 July Extension is available offering grants of up to $7,200 for each eligible premises. Applications for both grants close 13 August 2021.

A new Small Business COVID Hardship Fund grant of up to $8,000 has been announced for businesses that are not eligible for existing support funding. To access the grant, your business must be severely impacted by the COVID-19 lockdowns with a decline in turnover of 70% or more. No further details are available at present.

Other support

For Alpine businesses, additional grants between $5,000 and $20,000 will be available to 430 Alpine based businesses. See the Alpine Resorts Winter Support Program (closes 20 August 2021).

Rent relief for commercial tenants is also now in place for businesses that have suffered a decline in turnover of at least 30% because of COVID-19. Landlords will be required to provide proportional rent relief in line with a business’s reduction in turnover and mediation is available through the Victorian Small Business Commission. A hardship fund will be established for landlords providing rent relief although no details are available yet.



The South Australian Government has announced a July 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grant Program to support South Australian small and medium-sized businesses that suffered a significant loss of income or were forced to close as a result of the restrictions imposed from 20 July 2021.

Grants of $3,000 for employing businesses and $1,000 for non-employing businesses are available for eligible businesses whose turnover declined by 30% or more.

Applications for the Business Support Grant must be submitted by 11:59pm, 30 September 2021. More information can be found on the Department of Treasury and Finance website.



A second round of Small Business Lockdown Assistance Grants of $3,000 are available to eligible businesses in Perth, Peel and regional WA impacted by recent lockdowns. Applications are open and must be received by 11.59pm on Tuesday 31 August 2021.


Further help:

We will continue to provide details on government assistance as soon as the information is available. Should you have any questions about how these measures affect you or your business, please contact us and we can work with you to help you understand your position.

You can find out more about working with Marsh & Partners here. As your Absolute.Account.Ability partner we’re on a mission to make your business life better. We’ll help you set goals for your business, devise an Action Plan to make them happen and meet with you regularly to ensure you stay on track.


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