Businesses gain relief from licence fees

Commercial Directions

Up to 200,000 licence holders within the trade and construction sectors will avoid paying more than $50 million in licence fees in the next 12 months after the
NSW Government’s announcement of 15 April 2020,  which aims to combat the dire impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on small businesses.

The announcement follows an earlier release from the NSW Government (on
3 April 2020) which provided that small businesses may be eligible to receive a $10,000 grant to assist in dealing with the current unprecedented situation. To be eligible for the grant, businesses will need to:

  • Have between 1-19 employees and an annual turnover of more than $75,000
  • Have a payroll below the NSW Government 2019-20 payroll tax threshold of $900,000
  • Be based in NSW, have an Australian Business Number and employ staff as at
    1 March 2020
  • Be ‘highly impacted’ by the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 issued on 30 March 2020
  • Use the funding (from not paying the annual licence fee) for unavoidable business costs such as utilities, overheads, legal costs and financial advice, and
  • Apply with appropriate documentation.

Is my business ‘highly impacted’ by the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020?

Under clause 7 of the Order, the following business types were impacted and forced to close as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Pubs and registered clubs, except for selling food for the purpose of consuming off premises
  • Food and drink premises (other than pubs), except for the purpose of selling food and beverages to consume off premises
  • Entertainment facilities
  • Amusement centres
  • Casinos, except for the purposes of (if the premises include hotel or motel accommodation) providing accommodation, including providing food or beverages to people using that accommodation to consume in their rooms
  • Micro-breweries or small distilleries holding a drink on-premises authorisation under the Liquor Act 2007 (NSW) or cellar door premises, except for the purposes of selling food or beverages for people to consume off premises
  • Recreation facilities (indoor)
  • Places of public worship, except for the purpose of conducting weddings of no more than five people and funerals of no more than 10 people
  • Business premises that are spas, nail salons, beauty salons, waxing salons, tanning salons, tattoo parlours or massage parlours
  • Business premises that are auction houses or betting agencies
  • Markets, but not markets that predominantly sell food
  • Information and education facilities
  • Caravan parks and camping grounds, except for permanent residents of those properties and visitors of residents
  • Community facilities, such as swimming pools, outdoor play equipment and skate parks, and
  • Sex services premises.

Business may also be ‘highly impacted’ by the rules outlined in clause 6 of the Order regarding restrictions on gatherings over two people.

Further information / assistance regarding the issues raised in this article is available from the authors, Tina van Epen – Partner and Emily Gagliardi – Lawyer or your usual contact at Moray & Agnew.

The above content is commentary rather than legal advice and was prepared on the basis of applicable legislation, government programs and initiatives that were in place as of the date of publication. Given the ongoing evolution of both the COVID-19 pandemic and frequent consequential changes to the various laws and programs within all Australian states and territories, readers should seek legal advice on the current situation as applicable to their specific circumstances before taking any action in relation to the above.


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