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Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund

Grants to help licensed hospitality venues get through the coronavirus pandemic and prepare for COVID Normal business.

Program overview

The $251 million Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund program supports eligible liquor licensees with hospitality venues impacted by the restrictions put in place to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Eligible liquor licensees include those in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria operating a restaurant, hotel, cafe, pub, bar, club or reception centre that serves food and alcohol.

Grants of up to $30,000 are available to eligible liquor licensees, based on venue location and patron capacity. Those eligible will receive an invitation to apply from Business Victoria at the email address used to sign up for an eLicence in their Liquor Portal account. Detailed instructions on how to set up a Liquor Portal and sign up for an eLicence are included in the ‘How to Apply’ section below.

To receive a grant, you must submit an online application with Business Victoria through the unique link provided in the emailed invitation.

Before submitting an application, you must read all the information on this page, including the program guidelines and the frequently asked questions (FAQs). Applicants must also ensure they have the required documentation before they apply.

Program guidelines

Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund guidelines (PDF 2538.09 KB)PDF icon
Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund guidelines (DOCX 1526.89 KB)DOCX icon

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Click here to see a list of Frequently asked questions.

Applications will remain open until funds are exhausted or until 11.59pm on 23 November 2020, whichever is earlier.

Who can apply for a grant?

Liquor licensees who operate bars, restaurants, pubs, clubs, hotels, cafes and reception centres that serve food and alcohol, and have received an invitation to apply from Business Victoria. The invitation is sent to the email address used to sign up for an eLicence in the licensee's Liquor Portal account.

The liquor licensee must also:

  • operate one or more licensed bars, restaurants, pubs, clubs, hotels, cafes or reception centres in Victoria that serve food and alcohol as of 13 September 2020; and
  • hold a general or late night (general), full club, restaurant and cafe, or on-premises or late night (on-premises) liquor licence as of 13 September 2020; and
  • have been operating prior to 13 September 2020 and intend to continue to operate under the Licensee’s liquor licence; and
  • have a food business (which may be a third party or the Applicant) holding a Class 2 or 3 Service Sector Certificate of Registration under the Food Act 1984 (Vic) serving food on the same premises; and
  • be registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST) on 13 September 2020; and
  • hold an Australian Business Number (ABN) and held that ABN at 13 September 2020; and
  • be registered with the responsible federal or state regulator.

Businesses that have applied for support both under the Third round of the Business Support Fund and this program will only be entitled to the maximum amount under either program. For example, if you have received a $10,000 grant under the third round of the Business Support Fund and are eligible for $20,000 under this program, you will only be entitled to a maximum of $20,000 across both programs. For further examples see the Frequently asked questions on eligibility.

More information about support for businesses is available on the Business Victoria coronavirus (COVID-19) business information page.

How much are the grants from this program?

The grant funding available for eligible liquor licensees will be based on:

  • the location of the premises as specified in the liquor licence and the food certificate of registration for metropolitan Melbourne or regional Victoria; and
  • the patron capacity as specified by the liquor licence for the premises.

The grant amount per premises is outlined in the table below.

Where the patron capacity is not specified on the liquor licence, the capacity will be deemed to be 21-100 patrons for the purposes of this program for all licence types, except general or late night (general) licences where the patron capacity will be deemed to be 101+ patrons.

An eligible business as defined by its ABN can only receive one grant per premises.

Where a business operates more than one premises under its ABN, the business must make a separate application for each individual premises.

What can the grants be used for?

Grant funds may be used to assist eligible businesses to:

  • meet business costs, including utilities, salaries or rent
  • seek financial, legal or other advice to support business continuity planning
  • develop the business through marketing and communications activities
  • help with any other supporting activities related to the operation of the business.

Documentation or evidence required with an application

Applicants must include a copy of their liquor licence for the relevant premises. The liquor licence must be valid as of 13 September 2020.

The application must include evidence of a current Class 2 or 3 Service Sector Certificate of Registration under the Food Act 1984 (Vic) issued by the local council. The certificate must be valid for 2020 and specify the same business premises as the licensee’s liquor license.

Applicants must also provide details of their date of birth, residential postcode and registration number via their:

  • Victorian Drivers Licence or Learner’s Permit; or
  • Proof of Age Certificate issued by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation; or
  • Seniors Citizens Card issued by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Applicants may be required to provide further information in support of the application at the discretion of the Department of Jobs, Precinct and Regions, for example, copies of utility bills for the relevant premises.

Applicants with incomplete or incorrect information may experience delays and follow up requests to complete their application. In some instances, this may result in an ineligible assessment.

Assessing your application

We will endeavour to process and notify applicants of the outcome of their application within ten business days.

The following circumstances are taken into consideration when assessing applications:

  • any adverse findings by a government agency or local council regarding a business or its operation
  • a business is, or notice has been given that it will be, placed under external administration
  • there is a petition for bankruptcy or to wind up or deregister a company or business
  • the business is or becomes deregistered or unregistered (including cancellation or lapse in registration or any relevant permit).

How to apply

Invitations to submit applications will be sent directly to a licensee or licensee’s authorised officer by Business Victoria using the same email address used to sign up for an eLicence in the licensee’s Liquor Portal Account with the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.

Only licensees who hold a general or late night (general), full club, restaurant and café, or on-premises or late night (on-premises) liquor licence as of 13 September 2020 will be invited to apply by Business Victoria.

Licensees who do not have a Liquor Portal account can create one on the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation website, which has detailed instructions on how to create an account and sign up for an eLicence.

All questions in the application must be completed, and all requested documentation attached, to ensure a timely assessment and grant payment.

Applicants will be subject to an audit by the Victorian Government or its representatives and will be required to produce evidence (such as payroll reports) at the request of the Victorian Government for a period of four years after the grant has been approved.

If any information in the application is found to be false or misleading, any grant awarded to the applicant will have to be repaid on demand by the Victorian Government.

Please read all the information on this page, the program guidelines and the frequently asked questions (FAQs) below before applying.

Program guidelines

Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund guidelines (PDF 2538.09 KB)PDF icon
Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund guidelines (DOCX 1526.89 KB)DOCX icon

Frequently asked questions

Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for any questions you may have about this program.

More information

For further assistance please contact us or call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15.

The Business Victoria coronavirus (COVID-19) business information page provides information on other support and resources for businesses.

Frequently asked questions

What types of businesses fall under a Class 2 or 3 Food Service Sector Classification under the Food Act 1984 (Vic)?

This program provides support to businesses with Class 2 or 3 Certificates of Registration under the Food Act 1984 that have the following premises types: restaurant, hotel, cafe, pub, bar, club and/or reception centre.

The premises types are reflected in the classifications set by the Department of Health and Human Services under the Food Act 1984. Certificates of Registration issued by local councils are consistent with these classifications and predetermined premises types.

If you are unsure about your business’ classification under the Food Act 1984 please refer to your Certificate of Registration or contact your local council.

Am I still eligible to apply if I am the licensee of the liquor license but another operator/entity is responsible for serving food on the same premises and is the holder of the Certificate of Registration under the Food Act 1984?

As the liquor licensee you are eligible to apply through the link on the invitation provided to your Liquor Portal email account.

If you do not hold a Class 2 or 3 Certificate of Registration under the Food Act 1984, you may still be eligible to apply to the program, if:

  • you can supply a Class 2 or 3 Food Service Certificate of Registration from the operator that serves food at the same premises
  • the food certificate is a Class 2 or 3 Service Sector Certificate of Registration under the Food Act 1984 and an eligible premises type: restaurants, hotels, cafes, bars, pubs, clubs, or reception centres
  • the food certificate states the same address as that specified on the liquor licence
  • the food certificate is valid in 2020.

If you only hold a food certificate and do not have a liquor licence you are not eligible for support under this program.

ExamplesInformation to provide in the application form
  • My business operates a licensed pub.
  • My pub also holds a Class 2 or 3 Service Sector Certificate of Registration under the Food Act 1984 for the same premise address.
  • A valid liquor licence must be provided (general or late night (general), full club, restaurant and cafe, or on-premises or late night (on-premises) liquor licence as at 13 September 2020)
  • The current Class 2 or 3 food Certificate of Registration specifying the eligible premise type (i.e. restaurant) must also be provided.
  • The address on the Certificate of Registration must be the same as that specified on the liquor license.
  • My business operates a licensed pub.
  • My pub does not hold a Class 2 or 3 Service Sector - Certificate of Registration under the Food Act 1984. 
  • A burger restaurant (which operates under a different ABN), serves food to patrons on the same premises (address) as my pub.
  • A valid liquor license must be provided (general or late night (general), full club, restaurant and cafe, or on-premises or late night (on-premises) liquor licence as at 13 September 2020).
  • The current Class 2 or 3 food certificate of the burger restaurant that operates on the same premises as your pub must also be provided.
  • The food certificate must specify the eligible premises type (i.e. restaurant) and the address on the Certificate of Registration must be the same as that specified on the liquor license.
  • The food certificate must be current for 2020.
  • I’m a landlord / developer that owns a premises that has a liquor licence attached it – I am not a business that serves food or alcohol, but I have a tenant that operates a restaurant.
  • As you are a landlord / developer and do not serve food or alcohol you are not eligible for a grant under this program.
  • I am a food service provider in a licensed pub – I have a food Certificate of Registration but not a liquor licence.
  • As you do not have a liquor licence, you are not eligible for a grant under this program.

Can I apply for more than one grant, if I operate more than one premises under an ABN that meets the program’s eligibility criteria?

A business as defined by its ABN can only receive one grant for a premises per application.

Where a business operates more than one premises under its ABN, the business must make a separate application for each individual premises.

I meet the eligibility requirements for the Third round of the Business Support Fund as well as the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund, and have received an invitation to apply for the latter. Which grant should I apply for?

The tables below provide guidance on which program may be more suitable for your business. Please note, regardless of which program you apply for, you will only be entitled to the maximum amount under either program. You must also meet all the other eligibility criteria of the program you’re applying for to receive a grant from that program.

If your business is in metropolitan Melbourne

Your payroll is less than $650,000 Your payroll is between $650,000 and $3 million Your payroll is between $3 million and $10 million
Your venue capacity is between
1 to 20 patrons
You should apply for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund
Max. grant: $15,000
You should apply for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund
$15,000
You should apply for the Third round of the Business Support Fund
$20,000
Your venue capacity is between
21 to 100 patrons
You should apply for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund
$20,000
You should apply for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund
$20,000
You should apply for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund
$30,000
Your venue capacity is over
101+ patrons
You should apply for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund
$30,000
You should apply for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund
$30,000
You should apply for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund
$30,000

If your business is in regional Victoria

Your payroll is less than $650,000 Your payroll is between $650,000 and $3 million Your payroll is between $3 million and $10 million
Your venue capacity is between
1 to 20 patrons
You should apply for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund
Max. grant: $10,000
You should apply for the Third round of the Business Support Fund
$15,000
You should apply for the Third round of the Business Support Fund
$20,000
Your venue capacity is between
21 to 100 patrons
You should apply for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund
$15,000
You should apply for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund
$15,000
You should apply for the Third round of the Business Support Fund  
$20,000
Your venue capacity is over
101+ patrons
You should apply for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund
$25,000
You should apply for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund
$25,000
You should apply for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund
$25,000

Am I eligible to receive a grant under this program if I have already applied to or have received a grant under the Third round of the Business Support Fund?

Businesses that apply for support under the Third round of the Business Support Fund and this program will be entitled to a grant no higher than the maximum amount they are eligible for under either program.

The table below provides some examples.

ScenarioReceived from the Third round of the Business Support FundEligible amount from this programTotal grant payment
from this program
You are eligible for a higher amount from this program than the grant you received from the Third round of the Business Support Fund $10,000               $30,000         $20,000
You are eligible for the same amount from this program as the grant you received from the Third round of the Business Support Fund $20,000 $20,000 $0
You have received the maximum amount you are eligible for under either program.
You are eligible for a lower amount from this program than the Third round of the Business Support Fund $20,000 $15,000

$0

You have received the maximum amount you are eligible for under either program. You are entitled to retain the payment from the Third round of the Business Support Fund.

I have a valid liquor licence and am registered for GST, but I’m not currently paying GST. Am I eligible for a grant?

You may be eligible for a grant. Under the program’s guidelines a liquor licensee must be registered for GST on 13 September 2020. For more information call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15.

I have set up a Liquor Licence portal, when will I receive my emailed invitation?

Eligible liquor licensees who have signed up for an eLicence in their Liquor Portal account will be emailed an invitation to apply to this program by Business Victoria.

You should receive an email invitation to apply within 5 business days to the email address you used to sign up for eLicence in your Liquor Portal account. If you have not received your invitation, please check your SPAM emails. You should also check that the details of your eLicence email address in the Liquor Portal account are correct.

Can I forward an email invitation to an authorised business representative to complete the application on my behalf?

You can forward an email invitation to an authorised business representative to complete the application on your (the licensee’s) behalf.

For the application to be accepted, the person completing it must include the unique invitation identifier number listed on the email in the application form.

The email invitation must not be circulated broadly. It is only intended for the licensee, or an authorised business representative of the licensee.

Only one application per licensee will be accepted.

I have received an email invitation to apply but I am no longer an authorised person to act on behalf of the licensee, what should I do?

If you are not currently authorised to act on behalf of the licensee and you have received an email invitation, do not submit an application.

Notify the licensee, who is responsible for ensuring the authorised person’s details are up to date on the Liquor Portal.

Instructions on how to set up a Liquor Portal account can be found on the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation’s website.

What if I don’t have a Liquor Portal Account?

If you are a licensee that is eligible for support under this program but don’t have a Liquor Portal account, you can create one on the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) website, which has detailed instructions on how to create an account and to sign up for an eLicence.

If you require assistance on setting up a new portal account, the VCGLR Client Services Team can be contacted on 1300 182 457, from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.

Why do I need to provide a Certificate of Registration under the Food Act 1984 (Vic)?

A Certificate of Registration under the Food Act 1984 (Vic) will demonstrate that food is being served at the same premises as that on the liquor licence and confirm the type of premises and location.

What Commonwealth and State regulators does a business need to be registered with to be eligible?

For the purposes of this program, a business is defined as an entity where a business name is registered with the Australian Securities Investment Commission (ASIC).

In the case of a social enterprise, it may be registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).

In the case of an incorporated association, it must be registered with Consumers Affairs Victoria (CAV).

Businesses must ensure their registration is current prior to application. If your business is not registered at the time of application it will not be eligible to receive a grant.

I received an email stating ‘application failed Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) check’. What does that mean?

As part of the grants assessment process, we check business registrations with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). This check has found that your business name is not registered, does not match the name you provided on your application, or that there has been an adverse finding against your business.

Businesses must ensure their registration is current prior to application. If your business is not registered at the time of application, it will not be eligible to receive a grant.

An adverse finding is taken into consideration when processing grant applications.

Why is it important that applicants attach accurate supporting documentation to their application?

A Certificate of Registration issued under the Food Act 1984 (Vic) will demonstrate that food is being served at the same premises as that on the liquor license and confirm the type of premises and location.

Liquor License details are required to confirm that liquor is legally able to be served on the premises, the liquor licence type and patron numbers.

Applicants may be required to provide further information at the Department’s discretion, such as utility bills for the premises. Utility bills will also indicate the physical address of the premises.

What are the responsible federal or state regulators that a business needs to be registered with?

For the purpose of this program, businesses must be registered with the responsible federal or state regulator as required by law.

Charities or not-for-profit organisations must be registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).

Incorporated associations must be registered with Consumers Affairs Victoria (CAV).

A business is an entity with a business name registered with the Australian Securities Investment Commission (ASIC).

However, some entity types and structures may not be required to register with ASIC. Some examples where you do not need to register your business name with ASIC include:

  • a sole trader or partnership trading under its legal name – that is, the individual(s) personal legal name(s).
  • a trust operating as a business under the same legal name as the trust (the legal name of the trust when registered).

Further information on registering a business is available on the Australian Government Business website.

You must ensure your business’ registration is current before you apply.  If your business is not registered with the required regulators when you apply, it will not be eligible to receive a grant.

How do I register with the responsible federal or state regulator?

Visit Registering a Business if you are a business.

Visit Applying for Charity Registration you are a charity or not-for-profit organisation.

Visit myCAV Accounts if you are an incorporated association.

What do I do if I accidentally submit two applications?

If you have accidentally submitted two separate applications for the same premises, you do not need to do anything – we will only pay one grant for that premises.

I have not heard about my application. Is it still being considered?

We will endeavour to process all applications within ten business days.

Delays may be experienced if:

  • the application does not meet all the criteria outlined in the guidelines
  • applicants have not submitted the required supporting documentation
  • the submitted documentation, such as a Certificate of Registration under the Food Act 1984, is incorrect
  • the application has been returned for amendments
  • more than one application has been submitted for the same premises
  • incorrect details have been entered on the application form, for example, incorrect ABN.

What happens if I have submitted an application and not received any email notifications?

Your spam filter may have  prevented you from seeing email notifications from us, so please check your junk box for emails from covid19programs@ecodev.vic.gov.au. If you cannot find an email in your junk box, please call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15.

We may contact applicants via email for the following reasons:

  • if you have not submitted the correct supporting documentation
  • if your application is considered eligible and you have been awarded a grant
  • if your application is ineligible as it does not meet the eligibility criteria of the program.

Will my business be audited by the Victorian Government after the grant has been paid?

Applicants may be subject to audit by the Victorian Government or its representatives and will be required to produce evidence (such as payroll reports to demonstrate impact) at the request of the Victorian Government for a period of four years after the grant has been approved.

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