COVID-19 COVID-19 assistance

COVID-19 Community Update: restrictions, schools and assistance (24 March)

27 March 2020

Over the weekend further announcements were made by both the state and federal governments regarding COVID-19.

Some of these announcements caused confusion after the Victorian Government said all “non-essential” businesses would close. This morning that was amended to a narrow list of businesses under stage 1 restrictions.

So what does that mean? 


The following businesses have closed from midday today:

  • Pubs, registered and licensed clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation);
  • Gyms and indoor sporting venues;
  • Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos, and night clubs;
  • Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery; and
  • Religious gatherings, places of worship (except for funerals and weddings).

These measures also apply to outdoor spaces associated with the above venues.

At this stage, all other businesses can continue to trade, while observing social distancing measures.

Many of our pubs, restaurants and cafes are now offering take away and home delivery following their closure today. Please take up these options and continue to buy your morning coffee and cake or takeaway for lunch or dinner. If we continue to shop local, we will help keep more local people in work. 


School holidays will be brought forward to begin tomorrow, Tuesday 24 March. Teachers and staff have been advised to prepare flexible and remote learning programs for students.

At this stage early childhood services remain open. 


The Victorian Government has promised to deliver care packages to those self-isolating who don’t have anyone nearby to support them.

Please share this information with those who might need assistance and encourage them to phone the coronavirus hotline for more details: 1800 675 398.


Federal Government Support 

The Federal Government has announced $66 billion in measures to support businesses during this difficult time. Information on each program can be found here or via the fact sheets linked below:

I strongly encourage you to read through these fact sheets to check your eligibility for support or call the ATO for more information on 1800 806 218.

Victorian Government Support

The Victorian Government is providing full payroll tax refunds for the 2019-20 financial year to small and medium-sized businesses with a payroll of less than $3 million. The same businesses will also be able to defer any payroll tax for the first three months of the 2020/21 financial year until 1 January 2021.

They have also announced the following support for businesses in Victoria:

  • Business Support Fund – to assist small to medium businesses most impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. There are limited details about this program at present however you can register your interest to receive more information here.
  • Waiving of rent for businesses in government buildings;
  • Waiving of 2020 liquor licencing fees;
  • Commitment to pay State Government invoices within 5 days; and 
  • Business Victoria Hotline – to provide advice and support to help workplaces plan and respond to COVID-19: 13 22 15.

Support from Australian Banks

The Australian banks have announced that they will defer loan repayments for small businesses affected by COVID-19 for six months. You can contact the major banks about this announcement on the following numbers:

ANZ: 1800 351 548

CBA: 132 607

NAB: 1300 769 650

Westpac: 132 142


The Victorian Government has established the Working for Victoria Fund to assist people who have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19.

The fund aims to put people in paid jobs that will help to manage the event and support the community.

Applications are not currently open however you can register your interest here.


The Federal Government is temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments and establishing a new, time-limited coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight.

The government is also making two separate $750 payments to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders.

Access to superannuation has also been made available under specific criteria.

More detailed information is available at:


The impact of COVID-19 can lead to feelings of anxiety and concern. Try to remember that health professionals and governments are working to contain the virus and keep our community safe.

Make sure you get regular fresh air, exercise as appropriate and keep in touch with family and friends.

Please make sure you pass this information on to those that need it most. Beyond Blue also has some excellent resources to help you through this difficult time – you can find them here.


The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, breathing difficulties, cough, sore throat, and  fatigue or tiredness. If you suspect that you or someone you know may have the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), please call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398. Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.

Locally, screening and assessment clinics have been established at Goulburn Valley Health, Bendigo Health and the Northern Hospital in EppingBenalla Health has also established a clinic out the front of the hospital which is currently operating between 1.30pm and 3.30pm each day.

If you think you have COVID-19, the hotline above is still the first port of call.


It’s important to get accurate information from credible sources such as those listed below:


As directed by the Parliament of Victoria, unfortunately my office will be closed for walk-in and face-to-face meetings from today until further notice.

However we are still on deck and we can be reached via phone and email.

If you need help, don’t hesitate to get in touch and we will do our best to assist you: email [email protected] or phone 5762 1600.




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