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EXTRA CASH BOOST: Another $367 million to go to Melbourne businesses in lockdown

ASSA | 2021-08-16 09:57:39

Another $367 million will go to Melbourne businesses struggling through the city’s extended sixth lockdown.

The Victorian and Australian governments announced the extra cash for multiple business funds on Thursday.

“In recognition of the fact that the regions are open at this stage, this is package of $367 million to support more than 100,000 predominantly metropolitan Melbourne businesses affected by that second week of lockdown,” Victorian Industry Support and Recovery Minister Martin Pakula told reporters.

“We have put $1.4 billion-plus into bank accounts since the May-June lockdown commenced, so that is the benefit of the automatic payment process that we are undertaking for the vast majority of businesses that are receiving our support.”

Thursday’s new money is $271 million for a business costs assistance program which will give $2800 grants to more than 95,000 businesses, a $55 million top up for the hospitality venue fund, and $41 million to the small business hardship fund.

Victoria has recorded 21 new locally acquired coronavirus cases, including four mystery infections.

The health department on Thursday confirmed 17 of the new cases are linked to known outbreaks, while 15 were in quarantine during their infectious periods.

Two cases were also reported as interstate acquired.

Some 45,408 tests were processed in the 24 hours to Thursday morning, while 25,418 Victorians were vaccinated at state-run hubs.

It comes after Melbourne’s lockdown was extended by a week, in part due to new mystery cases on Wednesday.

Ten new Tier 2 sites have been identified at Melbourne Paediatric Specialists in Parkville, next to the Royal Children’s Hospital, after a healthcare worker attended while infectious on Monday.

Secret Sofa in Cheltenham, in Melbourne’s south east, is also listed as a Tier 1 site for August 5 from 11.45am to 12.45pm.

The furniture store is some 50km away from Melbourne’s western suburbs, where the majority of infections and exposure sites are located.

Meanwhile, 73 people were arrested for gathering in Melbourne’s CBD overnight to protest against the lockdown.