The Morrison-McCormack Government and Austrade have today released more eligibility details of the $130 million extension to the COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program. Here’s what we know so far.
While there has been no formal announcement from the government today, in an email sent to its members this afternoon, The Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO) has provided further details and industry eligibility criteria for V2.0 of the $130 million Consumer Travel Support Program extension grant scheme.
The federal government say they “will continue to consult with the industry to finalise the conditions of the program extension.”
The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) said it welcomes the Morrison-McCormack Government’s commitment to working with industry to ensure the $130 million extensions to the COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program helps as many travel agents and businesses as possible.
“This package, which provides a further $130 million in targeted industry support to travel agents, wholesalers and inbound tour operators is an important lifeline to help get agents and travel businesses through the next three months while vaccines roll out and Australia prepares to open its borders again.” Said AFTA CEO Darren Rudd.
It’s important to note that several adjustments have been made to this V2.0 second round of the program as a result of industry feedback and eligibility challenges with the first round.
Key changes announced include:
- An additional $130 million (On top of the previous $128 million in Round One) has been provided to help give eligible travel agents and tour arranging service businesses extra breathing space to facilitate customer refunds and follow up travel credits.
- Payments under Round Two of the program will automatically apply to businesses successful under Round One who reported GST Turnover on the G1 line of their BAS.
- No additional payments under Round Two will be made to those who it is determined were paid under Total Transaction Value (TTV) in Round One.
- The number of turnover tiers used to calculate payments will be reduced from 41 to 7, with eligible businesses to receive between $5,000 up to $100,000 per eligible application.
- Businesses with sales over $500,000 and less than $20 million seeking a Round Two payment will be subject to an audit. This will further ensure only those who were paid on the basis of GST Turnover in Round One are eligible for Round Two.
- The Government’s SME Recovery Loan Scheme will move to V2.0 until 30 June 2021 to support the economic recovery, and to provide continued assistance, to firms currently on JobKeeper.
- Further information and updates will be provided on the Austrade website shortly including the expected timeline for Round Two.
Pending appeals under exceptional circumstances
Regarding any requests seeking exceptional circumstances, people are encouraged to lodge an application with Services Australia in the first instance before midnight 13 March 2021. You should have registered under Round One to be eligible in Round Two.
If you have a pending exceptional circumstances review, this will be finalised as soon as possible so that applicants are able to determine their eligibility for Round Two.
If you would like to check on the status of these please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Note that due to the volume of cases, staff are unable to discuss individual cases over the phone.
Where to find further information
COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support grants under Round One are processed and administered by Services Australia through its Business Hub.
Information relating to the Round One application process is available on the Services Australia website.
Feedback can also be provided through the Services Australia Complaints and Feedback line (1800 132 468).
As the program has rolled out, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are being captured and updated regularly by Austrade (the agency responsible for program policy and design). FAQs surrounding Round Two will be released shortly.
Click here for more information on the Consumer Travel Support Program.
Click here for the link to the SME loan scheme V2.0.
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