This page provides a range of information for the business sector:
Support for small business — a range of advice from sector agencies, TAFE training and health and wellbeing.
Financial support — banks and financial counselling.
Sector specific advice — arts, construction, fitness, hairdressing and food and beverage, including a COVID Safe Plan video for food businesses.
This page will be updated regularly as more information becomes available. If you know of any sector specific initiatives which could assist local businesses please email email@example.com.
For more information on government support for business, click here.
To visit Council's Doing Business webpage, click here.
Support for small business
A Business Continuity Plan prepares your business for unforeseen risks or disaster. The NSW Small Business Commissioner has put together a practical guide to help businesses create a Business Continuity Plan.
Click here for more information.
The NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce supports Aboriginal entrepreneurs, business owners and enterprising communities. It provides a variety of services across a wide range of industries.
If you are not set up on Google My Business you are missing out on customers who use Google searches to find what is available in an area.
Google my Business launched in Australia six years ago and still only 13 per cent of businesses have their Google My Business listings set up correctly. The number is even less in regional communities.
This means 87 per cent of businesses are failing to fully capitalise on the power of Google... and that's only part of the problem.
It also affects the performance of Google "local" Search and the accuracy of Google Maps in your LGA. This is because Google's search and mapping platforms rely on data from Google My Business listings.
Consider reviewing or adding your Google My Business listing to improve your customer visibility and accessibility to your business.
The Business Concierge team at Service NSW provides free, personalised support to small business owners as they start, run and grow their businesses, and as they adapt and recover in times of crisis.
If you own a small business in the City of Canada Bay , your local Mobile Business Concierge can help you find the support you need. Call Service NSW on 13 77 88 and request to speak to Graeam Kingham or visit the Service NSW website here to request a call back.
ACCC guidance for those affected by COVID–19 provides useful information about small business rights and obligations relating to issues such as:
Their guidance will be updated regularly and is available here.
Protect your business from online scams
ACCC are also warning that scammers are taking advantage of the COVID–19 pandemic by exploiting and playing on the fears of consumers and small businesses across Australia. This includes reports of phishing scams sent via email or text message impersonating the World Health Organization, government authorities, and legitimate businesses, including travel agents and telecommunications companies.
Other scams include falsely selling COVID-19 related products online, using fake emails or text messages to obtain personal data, and investment scams claiming COVID-19 has created financial opportunities.
With more consumers and businesses using online platforms it is important to take steps to protect you and your business from scams. This can include:
- Never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for personal or financial details
- Keep your computer’s anti-virus and anti-spyware software up-to-date, use a good firewall, and only buy computer and anti-virus software from a reputable source
- Back-up important data such as customer details and financial information using an external USB or cloud storage service
- Use strong and unique passphrases, not passwords
- Ensure your staff are trained and aware of potential threats.
Operators across NSW are encouraged to register for the State’s expanding small business advisory program to help them navigate these challenging times. Support can be accessed either by calling 1300 134 359 or by clicking here.
Free professional business advice is available from people who have run their own small business. To develop a customised recovery strategy, manage your cash flow, access finance, learn how to market your business to new customers and connect to other government support speak to a professional advisor for free. You can select an advisor online and book an appointment here or call 1300 134 359.
Click here to browse their services.
NetStripes seminars and webinars
Business Connect consultant NetStripes are offering free webinars focused on digital marketing to assist your business to adapt to the current digital paradigm. For more information click here.
Business Connect also has a range of webinars available online. Click here for more information.
Keep informed with the latest information and guidance on how to protect yourself and your staff during COVID-19.
The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), with support from the Federal Government, is providing a suite of free service offerings, advice and tools designed to support business continuity through the use of technology. This support includes advice about remote communications, collaboration, workforce management and video conferencing.
Beyond Blue is a mental wellbeing support service which provides a range of information, advice and strategies to help manage wellbeing and mental health. We encourage you to visit Beyond Blue for practical advice to help you navigate this tricky time.
Pressure on revenue, employee management issues including staffing levels, working from home arrangements for short or extended periods, and planning for the future while dealing with the present, are all weighty issues that need to be addressed. Looking after your own mental health as well as that of your staff is equally important.
Beyond Blue has previously developed a guide for small business owners that you may find useful and also offers practical advice about running your business from home. For more information, click here to visit their website.
New Business Assistance with NEIS is the Federal Government’s self-employment initiative which helps eligible individuals setup and run their own small business. NEIS offers accredited training in small business, helps create a business plan, and provides business advice and mentoring for the first 12 months.
For more information click here.
Sydney Business is an approved NEIS provider which offers free training and access to training materials. To visit the Sydney Business website click here.
You can also search for NEIS providers in your area -by clicking here.
The NSW Government and TAFE NSW are offering a fully subsidised online program for women who are looking to establish a micro business, a small business, or who are already operating a business. Hear from some of Australia’s leading female entrepreneurs and access information about upcoming events and services which will assist in setting up and growing your business.
For more information and to check your eligibility, click here.
While only three per cent of SMEs in NSW usually export and the Australian domestic market contracts may have been impacted by the pandemic, now could be the time for businesses to consider overseas markets. Businesses could capitalise and build on the country’s reputation for high quality and standards. There are a number of initiatives to support both new and existing export businesses:
- The Australian Government is establishing an International Freight Assistance Mechanism to back Australia’s agriculture and seafood export sectors.
- The Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme is a key Australian Government financial assistance program for aspiring and current exporters. Administered by Austrade, the scheme supports a wide range of industries and encourages small and medium-sized Australian businesses to develop export markets.
- Australian exporters impacted by the COVID-19 crisis now have access to business-saving loans between $250,000 and $50 million under a new program announced by Export Finance Australia. This COVID-19 Export Capital Facility will support loans for established and previously profitable exporters which are unable to gain finance from commercial sources due to COVID–19. This scheme also includes provision for a Government guarantee of 50 per cent on new loans issued by eligible lenders to SME up to $250,000.
For more information click here
Safe Work Australia has developed specialised industry guidelines and information across 23 sectors to assist businesses to return to work in a COVID safe environment. To protect workers and businesses, it is advised that Safe Work Australia be the single source of information, allowing businesses to plan future operations with confidence and consistency.
Safe Work Australia’s specialised COVID–19 website provides important information for industries including hospitality, retail, taxi and rideshare and public transport that addresses:
- Duties under WHS laws
- Risk assessment
- COVID-19 in your workplace
- Health monitoring
- Physical distancing
- Hygiene and cleaning
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
There is also a Resource Kit featuring downloadable fact sheets, posters, infographics and guidance materials for businesses to use in the workplace such as a social distancing checklist, incident notification processes and ‘5 things to do in your workplace’. Click here to download.
As the Federal and NSW Governments review current restrictions, businesses are encouraged to review the Safe Work Australia guidelines that apply to their own operations and consider any new measures that should be adopted ahead of reopening.
For more information, click here.
The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has developed a two-part animated video series to dispel common misconceptions about JobKeeper rules and return to work. The videos address common enquiries they have received from small businesses.
Click here to watch the videos.
The FWO has also created a number of letter templates to help small business owners manage their rights and obligations in relation to COVID-19.
Click here to view the templates.
For more information about workplace entitlements and obligations, click here.
Many banks are making their own provision of support for businesses. Examples include the four major banks:
- Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ)—Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates and guidance
- Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA)—Coronavirus support, advice and guidance
- National Australia Bank (NAB)—Guidance during Covid-19
- Westpac—COVID-19: Customer support
To assist those who are struggling on a financial level, be they employees, ex-employee's or friends, National Debt Helpline offers a free service which may help.
Click here to visit their website or call 1800 007 007 (Monday–Friday, 9:30am–4:30pm).
Moneysmart also offer information surrounding financial counselling which may be of use. To visit their website, click here.
This free, independent and not-for-profit service was established earlier this year with Federal Government funding in response to the impact of the 2019–20 summer bushfires on small business. This support service has since been extended to include small businesses impacted by the onset of COVID–19.
Click here to visit their website or call 1800 413 828.
Sector specific advice
Our Love Local campaign includes a free listing tool where you can share your adapted business offering during COVID-19. Head to Love Local for more information.
Artists and arts organisations
The Australian Government has announced arts sector funding to help regional artists and organisations develop new work and explore new delivery models, to support Indigenous artists and arts centres, and to provide mental health services.
The Government has also announced a $400 million incentive to attract film and television productions to Australia, with the aim of boosting employment opportunities within the screen industry.
Australia Council has launched a one-stop shop resource named RE-IGNITE, which aims to help the creative sector navigate the complexities of state and territory restrictions, health and safety practices for a COVIDSafe sector, to decipher government guidelines, and answer industry-specific questions.
The latest offering in this suite of resources is titled Re-activate: beyond step three. This resource sets out industry standards and protocols for the arts and cultural industry to consider in preparation for moving into the next phase of Australia’s response to COVID-19.
The Australia Council has also launched a Facebook group as a digital support to the industry. Artists and organisations can share and promote content on this new channel, and use it as a professional development resource for those who may not have the technology, skill sets or bandwidth to successfully present and represent their work online through live streaming or other methods.
To visit the Facebook page, click here.
Create NSW’s Arts and Cultural Funding Program provides funding opportunities for arts and cultural organisations, professional artists and arts/cultural workers across a wide range of artforms and disciplines.
Small Project Grants (Quick Response) support the creation, development and presentation of new work and professional development opportunities for NSW-based professional artists and arts and cultural workers. This quick response grant offers grants from $500 to $5,000 towards projects.
Individuals and organisations
Regional Arts Touring projects that provide access to arts and culture for audiences living in regional NSW and for regional NSW artists and organisations to tour their work to Sydney and Western Sydney. Funding is available for tours of all artforms, including performing arts, music, visual arts, literature, history, museums and multi-arts.
Go to Regional Arts Touring
There are currently no open funding programs for organisations.
For more information please click here
City of Sydney’s COVID–19 relief grants for a range of artistic, cultural and community activities have now closed, but other grants are still available, including ‘quick response grants’. To find out more and check eligibility, click here.
Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres (Canberra)
Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres (Canberra) have posted an Artist Toolkit Livestream: Centrelink for Artists. This online session features a community lawyer answering questions and explaining how to navigate Centrelink and government support for artists and creatives.
Australian Arts amidst COVID–19
A private Facebook group has also been set up called ‘Australian Arts amidst COVID–19’—a place for Australian Arts to ask questions and share ideas about how to work with COVID–19, and share information and ways artists and organisations all over the world are innovating and surviving.
For artists with disability, the team at Accessible Arts are continuing to work as much as possible with all stakeholders to deliver programs and services, including updates about the evolving impact of COVID-19 on this community specifically as well as the arts and cultural sector more broadly. They can be accessed via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
A number of networks are available to support particular artists through these difficult times. It is important to take care of your mental health so please reach out to the below organisations if you are in need of assistance.
Support Act provides crisis support for people who work in the live music and events industry.
The Artists Benevolent Fund provides crisis support for visual and fine artists.
The Actors Benevolent Fund provides crisis support for performers and theatre workers.
I Lost My Gig (ILMG) is an initiative of the Australian Festivals Association (AFA) and the Australian Music Industry Network (AMIN). ILMG was established as a short-term quick response data capture project to quantify the immediate impact of the COVID–19 pandemic on Australia’s live event and entertainment industries. It aims to bring together the hard data and thousands of stories of live events workers suddenly set adrift, and take them to government to press for action. ILMG also aims to ensure that relevant, up-to-date information and resources are widely available for impacted people and businesses.
For more information, click here.
In response to COVID-19 the NSW Government passed the Environmental Planning and Assessment (COVID-19 Development – Construction Work Days) Order 2020 which is effective from 2 April 2020. Construction sites can now operate on weekends and public holidays.
Details of the Ministerial Order can be found here.
FAQs can be found here.
These measures have been put in place to assist with social distancing rules by allowing work to spread across more days of the week. This means weekday construction hours can be extended over weekends and public holidays subject to the following:
- Compliance with the conditions of consent that restrict the hours of work on any other day (i.e. Monday to Friday)
- Not conduct rock breaking, rock hammering, sheet piling, pile driving or similar activities during the hours that it would not be permitted under the normal conditions of consent
- Take all feasible and reasonable measures to reduce noise.
The NSW Government has announced plans to fast-track the assessment of development applications and re-zonings through the Planning System Acceleration Program. The aim is to make decisions on projects more quickly—the assessment process is being accelerated, not changed. The usual planning rules and policies will apply. All projects will be considered under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
If you are a sole trader, the owner of a small business or a not-for-profit organisation in NSW, you may be eligible for a small business fees and charges rebate of $1,500.
This rebate helps businesses recover from the impacts of COVID-19 and encourages growth by reducing the cost of running a business. Eligible businesses or not-for-profits only need to apply for the rebate once, but can submit multiple claims until the full value of $1,500 is reached.
Funds can be used to offset the costs of eligible NSW and Local Government fees and charges due and paid from 1 March 2021. These include, but are not limited to:
- Food authority licences
- Liquor licences
- Tradesperson licences
- Event fees,
For more information and to apply click here.
Fitness Australia is a not-for-profit industry association that exists to professionalise the fitness industry through engaging in partnerships, advocacy, delivering education, quality and accreditation.
They have a range of COVID-19 resources available through their online Business Toolbox. Click here to access. When visiting the categories, be aware that the information is immediately shown in alphabetical order. To get the most recent information, use the drop down menu to sort by ‘most recent’.
Many fitness organisations are offering alternatives to their facility-based classes such as virtual classes via Zoom or uploading content to social media platforms. One example of this online presence is Les Mills. This international fitness company has partnered with Council’s Five Dock Leisure Centre to provide instructors a range of classes. Short sample videos of their workouts are freely available to the public, click here to view.
This approach enables fitness practitioners to continue to engage with customers, support the community with their health and fitness and generate new interest in their classes and services.
Food and beverage
Businesses need to monitor and review their operation and consider what current COVID safe measures are required. To keep up to date with the current rules and requirements for food and beverage visit NSW Government's website Here
Additional information and resources for food businesses can be found at NSW Food Authority Here
To assist food businesses to create the required COVID–19 Safety Plan, our Environmental Health Unit has produced a series of videos to show what is required. Click here to view.
Results from a new survey by McKinsey suggest where, and how, food retailers might rethink their businesses in the wake of COVID–19. Research was conducted with more than 5,000 consumers in Asia, across seven countries: Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand.
Findings from the survey are presented in key sections:
- Reimagine safety, health, and the scope of supply chains
- Reimagine how technology can enable delivery and the value chain
- Reimagine the meaning of value for money
- Reimagine loyalty.
Read the full article here.
QSR Media have published an article on a post-pandemic industry. It reports on the thoughts of restaurant leaders and considers the delivery, social distancing and higher hygiene standards that are expected to persist.
Read the full article here.
A website has been created to help local food and beverage businesses survive during the COVID–19 restrictions. It is called Who Is Delivering.
The aim is to help cafes, restaurants, catering and event businesses who have decided to stay open for deliveries or take-away attract more customers and let people know that they are still open for business. It is a no-cost register of businesses offering takeaway or delivery that will be promoted to the public as another way of driving local customers their way.
There are many suppliers to chose from in this sector, including Saving Plates.
Some sites will organise the delivery for you as well as promote your business, such as:
The NSW Government has introduced new measures allowing increased flexibility for the continuing operation of food trucks and easier set-up dark kitchens (those that cook meals solely for delivery, rather than eat-in orders) in any existing commercial kitchen.
These are businesses that could offer additional food delivery options for the increasing number of people working from home, or produce greater quantities of meals for people in quarantine or in medical, health or aged care facilities. Food trucks will now be able to operate on any land, at any time, providing they have the landowner’s consent.
To read more click here.
A new digital marketplace is giving Aussie producers a new home to connect with consumers seeking food and beverage products grown or made in their own backyard. The website Fair Foodie has arrived with a mission to celebrate Australia’s diverse food and beverage producers through an interactive platform bringing farmers, chefs, providores, brewers, winemakers and other artisans together with local-loving consumers to help Australian businesses flourish.
Some information to think about for your menus:
(Brain and Poulter 7 April 2020).
There are many businesses coming up with new ways of doing things, for example:
Hairdressing and barbers
There are a number of hairdressers and barbers in our area.
Businesses need to monitor and review their operation and consider what current COVID safe measures are required. To keep up to date with the rules and requirements for beauty and other services visit NSW Government's website Here
- Stop shaking hands to greet others
- Promote good hand, sneeze and cough hygiene
- Provide alcohol-based hand rub for all staff
- Eat lunch away from your work space
- Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces that many people touch
- Open windows or adjust air conditioning for more ventilation
- Limit food handling and sharing of food in the workplace.
Click here to read more.
Restrictions on the numbers of people allowed in your premises can change. It's important to regularly check on current rulings on the NSW Government website.
When calculating how many people can attend your business:
- Measure the length of the room
- Measure the width of the room
- Multiply the length by the width to calculate the area of your room in square metres
- Divide the area of your room (calculated in square metres) by square metre ruling to calculate the maximum number of people allowed.
example provided below for 4 square metre ruling:
Number of people
Minimum space required
4 square metres
40 square metres
80 square metres
To learn more click here
Businesses need to monitor and review their operation and consider what current COVID safe measures are required. To keep up to date with current rules and requirements for beauty and other services visit the NSW Government website.