Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grant Program

Round 2 opening 1 July 2020  

The Queensland Government is extending the Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grant Program. As part of Stage 2 of Queensland’s Economic Recovery Strategy – Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs, up to $100 million is being made available to deliver a second round of grants, with half of this funding specifically earmarked for regional small businesses located outside of South East Queensland.

The program is available to eligible businesses throughout Queensland. For round 2, funding is being equally divided between regional Queensland and South East Queensland (SEQ).

Use the eligibility tool to find out if your business is in SEQ or a regional local government area.

The objective of this program is to support small businesses subject to closure or highly impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) shutdown restrictions announced by the Queensland Government, to adapt and sustain their operations, and build resilience.

The program aims to see small and micro businesses:

  • prepare for the safe resumption of trading in the post COVID-19 recovery
  • access digital technologies to rebuild business operations and transition to a new way of doing business
  • respond to online opportunities, where possible, to sustain employment and maintain potential for longer-term growth
  • upskill and reskill business owners and staff to benefit from new technologies or business models
  • embrace business diversification to adapt and sustain operations
  • create or retain employment.

Available funding

The available grant amount is up to a maximum of $10,000 per eligible small or micro business.

In recognition of the significant impacts of COVID-19 on small businesses, the funding can be used towards the following:

  • financial, legal or other professional advice to support business sustainability and diversification
  • strategic planning, financial counselling or business coaching aligned to business development and diversification
  • building the business through marketing and communications activities, for example, content development (web pages, mobile apps, visual and audio media etc.)
  • digital/technological strategy development
  • digital training or re-training to adapt to new business models
  • capital costs associated with meeting COVID-19 SAFE requirements
  • specialised digital equipment or business specific software to move business operations online (e.g. logistics program for online ordering)
  • meeting business costs, including utilities, rent.

Note: Grant funds can also be used towards any of the above activities occurring from 23 March 2020 onwards, keeping in mind the project must be completed within a maximum of 6 months from the date of approval.

Once the program budget has been fully allocated, applications for the program will close. It is estimated that approximately 10,000 small businesses will be supported through this program.

Applying small and micro businesses must meet the eligibility and assessment criteria to be considered for funding.

Further information

For more information about the program and application process, phone 1300 654 687 or email adapt@desbt.qld.gov.au.

View the 2019–20 Small business grants schedule to help plan your applications for grant rounds.



Eligibility criteria

To be eligible, the business must:

  • have been subject to closure or otherwise highly impacted by current shutdown restrictions announced by Queensland’s Chief Health Officer on 23 March 2020
  • demonstrate that business revenue has been significantly impacted since 23 March 2020 over a minimum 1-month period due to the onset and management of COVID-19
  • employ staff and have fewer than 20 employees at the time of applying for the grant
  • have a valid Australian Business Number (ABN) active as at 23 March 2020
  • be registered for GST
  • have a Queensland headquarters
  • have an annual turnover over $75,000 for the last financial year
  • have a payroll of less than $1.3 million
  • not be insolvent or have owners/directors that are an undischarged bankrupt.

Only 1 application per round will be accepted from an individual ABN or a financial beneficiary of a business.

Successful applicants from round 1 of this program cannot apply for funding under round 2.

If you have submitted a round 1 application but haven’t heard back yet, you are eligible to apply for round 2.

Successful applicants cannot reapply for funding under this grant program.

Applying for the grant

To apply, complete the following steps:

  1. Check your eligibility to:
    • find out if you are eligible to apply for round 2
    • confirm your business location
    • subscribe to be alerted when round 2 opens.
  2. Read the application guidelines, frequently asked questions (FAQs) and application tips.
  3. Prepare your application and supporting documentation ready to submit when round 2 opens.
  4. After round 2 opens, return here to lodge an online application (only available after the round opens).

Assessment process

In addition to meeting the eligibility criteria, applications will be assessed against the following:

  • funding availability – applications will be processed on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, and therefore not all applications will be successful
  • submission of a complete application form, with all requested supporting documentation included (i.e. your application must contain the requested supporting documentation, otherwise you will be contacted to provide appropriate evidence and this may delay your application’s progress)
  • value for money, as determined by the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training (DESBT).

Grant payments

Funding will be paid upon approval of your grant application.

Within 1 month of completing the project, applicants must:

  • complete and submit an acquittal report through SmartyGrants
  • submit copies of supplier invoices and proof of purchase for the total project cost.

Grant recipients may be subjected to a random audit by DESBT to ensure that the information provided is true and correct. Where it is found that false or misleading information has been provided, penalties may apply, including refunding to DESBT some or all of the grant funding.

JobKeeper Payment


Register an intention to apply on the ATO website and assess that they have or will experience the required turnover decline.
• Provide information to the ATO on eligible employees. This includes information on the number of eligible employees engaged as at 1 March 2020 and those currently employed by the business (including those stood down or rehired). For most businesses, the ATO will use Single Touch Payroll data to pre-populate the employee details for the business.
• Ensure that each eligible employee receives at least $1,500 per fortnight (before tax). For employees that were already receiving this amount from the employer then their income will not change. For employees that have been receiving less than this amount, the employer will need to top up the payment to the employee up to $1,500, before tax. And for those employees earning more than this amount, the employer is able to provide them with a top-up.
• Notify all eligible employees that they are receiving the JobKeeper Payment.
• Continue to provide information to the ATO on a monthly basis, including the number of eligible employees employed by the business.


Employers will be eligible for the subsidy if:
• their business has a turnover of less than $1 billion and their turnover will be reduced by more than 30 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month); or
• their business has a turnover of $1 billion or more and their turnover will be reduced by more than 50 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month); and
• the business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy.
The employer must have been in an employment relationship with eligible employees as at 1 March 2020, and confirm that each eligible employee is currently engaged in order to receive JobKeeper Payments.



are currently employed by the eligible employer (including those stood down or re-hired);
• were employed by the employer at 1 March 2020;
• are full-time, part-time, or long-term casuals (a casual employed on a regular basis for longer than 12 months as at 1 March 2020); Last updated: 30 March 2020
• are at least 16 years of age;
• are an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, a Protected Special Category Visa Holder, a non-protected Special Category Visa Holder who has been residing continually in Australia for 10 years or more, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder; and
• are not in receipt of a JobKeeper Payment from another employer.
If your employees receive the JobKeeper Payment, this may affect their eligibility for payments from Services Australia as they must report their JobKeeper Payment as income.





Initially, employers can register their interest in applying for the JobKeeper Payment via https://www.ato.gov.au/general/gen/JobKeeper-payment/  from 30 March 2020.
Subsequently, eligible employers will be able to apply for the scheme by means of an online application.
The first payment will be received by employers from the ATO in the first week of May.
Eligible employers will need to identify eligible employees for JobKeeper Payments and must provide monthly updates to the ATO.
Participating employers will be required to ensure eligible employees will receive, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.
It will be up to the employer if they want to pay superannuation on any additional wage paid because of the JobKeeper Payment.



Businesses without employees, such as the self-employed, can register their interest in applying for JobKeeper Payment via ato.gov.au from 30 March 2020.
Businesses without employees will need to provide an ABN for their business, nominate an individual to receive the payment and provide that individual’s Tax File Number and provide a declaration as to recent business activity.
People who are self-employed will need to provide a monthly update to the ATO to declare their continued eligibility for the payments. Payment will be made monthly to the individual’s bank account.
Further details for the self-employed will be provided on ato.gov.au.


Australian Government Fact Sheets

Information for employers


Frequently Asked Questions


Supporting businesses to retain jobs


Information for employees


Queensland COVID-19 Jobs Support Loans

Expressions of Interest: Queensland COVID-19 Jobs Support Loans

The Queensland Government announced on Tuesday, 17 March a new $500 million loan facility, interest free for the first 12 months, to support Queensland businesses impacted by COVID-19 retain employees and maintain their operations.

The $500 million concessional loan facility will comprise low interest loans of up to $250,000 for carry on finance with an initial 12-month interest free period for businesses to retain staff.

The Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) is responsible for the administration of these concessional loans and is currently taking expressions of interest in the lead up to rolling these loans out as soon as possible.

To register your interest:

Email us here with your full name, phone number and preferred email address.


Freecall 1800 623 946

QRIDA will contact you when the scheme is open to applications shortly.

Banking Association announce six-month loan repayment deferrals for small businesses

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) says all small businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic will be able to access a six-month deferral of all loan repayments.

Key points:

  • Repayment of $100 billion in small business loans put on hold amid coronavirus outbreak
  • The Banking Association expects that will put $8 billion back in small business’ pockets
  • The banks will consider home loan relief measures if households enter mortgage stress



Sole Trader & Self Employed Income Support

Expanded access: Jobseeker Payment and Youth Allowance Jobseeker criteria will provide payment access for permanent employees who are stood down or lose their employment; sole traders; the self-employed; casual workers; and contract workers who meet the income tests as a result of the economic downturn due to the Coronavirus.

This could also include a person required to care for someone who is affected by the Coronavirus.
• Reduced means testing: Asset testing for JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance Jobseeker and
Parenting Payment will be waived for the period of the Coronavirus supplement. Income testing will
still apply to the person’s other payments, consistent with current arrangements.
• Reduced waiting times:
The one week Ordinary Waiting Period has already been waived.

Qld Government Support

The additional funding is available to businesses that have already submitted their application for assistance and have not yet been processed. Applications will continue to be assessed up until the $1 billion in funding is fully committed. No new applications will be received.

  • offering a concessional loan of up to $250,000 for carry on finance, with an initial 12-month interest free period
    for eligible businesses. Register your interest here.
    • eligible businesses may apply for a deferral from paying payroll tax returns until 31 July 2020. To be eligible,
    the business must pay $6.5 million or less in Australian taxable wages, and it must have been affected by
    • access to mentors who are available to provide tailored support including financial mentoring and business
    • access to workshops to assist small business learn about financial management, business planning and
    business resilience


Economic response to the Coronavirus

The Australian Federal Government is acting in the national interest to support households and businesses and address the significant economic consequences of the Coronavirus.

The economic response targets three areas:

Supporting Individuals & Households (further information can be sourced from other sites)

Support for business

Supporting the flow of credit

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Cash flow assistance for business

Under the enhanced scheme, employers will receive a payment equal to 100 per cent of their salary and wages withheld (up from 50 per cent), with the maximum payment being increased from $25,000 to$50,000. In addition, the minimum payment is being increased from $2,000 to $10,000.
An additional payment is also being introduced in the July – October 2020 period. Eligible entities will
receive an additional payment equal to the total of all of the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers payments
they have received. This means that eligible entities will receive at least $20,000 up to a total of $100,000
under both payments. This additional payment continues cash flow support over a longer period, increasing
confidence, helping employers to retain staff and helping entities to keep operating.
The cash flow boost provides a tax free payment to employers and is automatically calculated by the
Australian Taxation Office (ATO). There are no new forms required.

The payment will be delivered by the ATO as an automatic credit in the activity statement system
from 28 April 2020 upon employers lodging eligible upcoming activity statements.
• Eligible employers that withhold tax to the ATO on their employees’ salary and wages will receive a
payment equal to 100 per cent of the amount withheld, up to a maximum payment of $50,000.
• Eligible employers that pay salary and wages will receive a minimum payment of $10,000, even if they
are not required to withhold tax.
• The payments will only be available to active eligible employers established prior to 12 March 2020.
However, charities which are registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission
will be eligible regardless of when they were registered, subject to meeting other eligibility
requirements. This recognises that new charities may be established in response to the Coronavirus

Borrowing from banks

The Government will provide eligible lenders with a guarantee for loans with the following terms:Maximum total size of loans of $250,000 per borrower.
• The loans will be up to three years, with an initial six month repayment holiday.
• The loans will be in the form of unsecured finance, meaning that borrowers will not have to provide
an asset as security for the loan.
Loans will be subject to lenders’ credit assessment processes with the expectation that lenders will look
through the cycle to sensibly take into account the uncertainty of the current economic conditions.
As part of the loan products available, the Government will encourage lenders to provide facilities to SMEs
that only have to be drawn if needed by the SME. This will mean that the SME will only incur interest on the
amount they draw down. If they do not draw down any funds from the facility, no interest will be charged,
but they will retain the flexibility to draw down in the future should they need to.
The Scheme will commence by early April 2020 and be available for new loans made by participating
lenders until 30 September 2020.

Supporting apprentices and trainees

The Government is supporting small business to retain their apprentices and trainees. Eligible employers
can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage paid during the 9 months
from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Where a small business is not able to retain an apprentice, the
subsidy will be available to a new employer.
Employers will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee ($7,000 per
Support will also be provided to the National Apprentice Employment Network, the peak national body
representing Group Training Organisations, to co-ordinate the re-employment of displaced apprentices and
trainees throughout their network of host employers across Australia.
The subsidy will be available to small businesses employing fewer than 20 full-time employees who retain
an apprentice or trainee. The apprentice or trainee must have been in training with a small business as at
1 March 2020.
Employers of any size and Group Training Organisations that re-engage an eligible out-of-trade apprentice
or trainee will be eligible for the subsidy.
Employers will be able to access the subsidy after an eligibility assessment is undertaken by an Australian
Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider.
This measure will support up to 70,000 small businesses, employing around 117,000 apprentices.

ATO Administrative relief

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) will provide administrative relief for certain tax obligations (similar to relief
provided following the bushfires) for taxpayers affected by the Coronavirus outbreak, on a case-by-case basis.
This includes the ability to defer payment of certain taxes up to six months, and allowing businesses to vary
pay as you go instalment amounts to zero for the March 2020 quarter. Business that vary to zero can claim a
refund for any instalments made for the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters. The ATO will set up a
temporary shop front in Cairns within the next few weeks with dedicated staff specialising in assisting small
business. In addition, the ATO will consider ways to enhance its presence in other significantly affected
regions, making it easier for people to apply for relief. The ATO is considering further temporary shop fronts
and face-to-face options.

Available Grants

Market diversification and resilience grants

Businesses impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak through the Mare Diversification and Resilience Grants (MDRG) program.

The MDRG program will benefit Qld agriculture, food and fishing exporters and their critical supply chain partners well as industry organisations working with exporters to build resilience by diversifying into new markets (international or interstate)

The program has 2 components:

  • equipment purchases
  • projects.

Equipment purchases

Equipment purchase grants of up to $7,500 (excluding GST) are available to support new equipment purchases up to a maximum cost of $10,000 (excluding GST).

Applicants must contribute 25% of the total cost of the new equipment. The MDRG program will provide the remaining 75% of total costs. For example, if the total equipment cost is $10,000 (excluding GST), the applicant will pay $2,500 and the MDRG program will pay $7,500 (excluding GST).

Examples of eligible equipment purchases include, but are not limited to:

  • freezers
  • refrigerators
  • vacuum packaging machines
  • storage equipment
  • filleting machines.

Read the equipment purchase grant terms and conditions and guidelines.

Download the equipment purchase grant application form.

Important dates

Applications for equipment purchase grants will be assessed on an ongoing basis from Thursday 12 March.

Successful applicants will be notified as soon as possible.


Project grants of up to $50,000 (excluding GST) will be available to support project activities including, but not limited to:

  • market evaluation studies
  • market visits
  • staff training
  • new equipment such as refrigeration
  • boat modifications necessary to meet market requirements.

Applicants must co-invest 50% of the total cost of their project activities or equipment purchases and should provide evidence of their contributions both in-kind (e.g. reasonable salary costs for key personnel, freight costs) and cash. Cash contributions must be at least 25% of total project costs.

Read the project grant terms and conditions and guidelines.

Download the project grant application form.

Important dates

Applications for project grants open Thursday 12 March and close Monday 20 April.

Successful applicants will be notified by Friday 1 May.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for funding, your organisation must, at the time of submitting your application, be one of the following:

  • a Queensland-based agriculture, food or fishing exporter
  • a Queensland-based critical supply chain partner (e.g. fishing business, producer, grower, grower collective, wholesaler) to a Queensland-based agriculture, food or fishing exporter
  • a not-for profit industry organisation working with Queensland-based agriculture, food and fishing exporters.

Your organisation must also be:

  • a small to medium sized business employing less than 200 full time equivalent employees
  • registered and operating in Queensland, have an ABN and be registered for GST
  • trading viably for at least the past 2 years.

Note: Applicants can only apply for 1 grant under the MDRG program.



Business Growth Fund

The Business Growth Fund is now open for applications.

Funding of up to $50,000 (excluding GST) may be provided for eligible business to purchase and implement highly specialised equipment to enable them to move to the next stage of growth.

Small Business Artisan Producer Grants Program

Funding is available to assist artisan producers of gourmet food (including non-alcoholic beverages) to engage business consultants, mentors or digital experts to establish and grow their business.

The grants are part of our Supporting Artisan Producers plan to support artisan food and beverage producers to grow and reach their goals.

Matched funding of up to $5,000 (excluding GST) may be provided to eligible applicants to engage business consultants, mentors or digital experts.

Small Business Disaster Recovery Grants – North Queensland Monsoonal Trough

Small Business Disaster Recovery Grants are available to provide assistance to small businesses severely impacted by the North and Far North Queensland monsoonal trough to engage high-level expertise to help them recover and rebuild business confidence.

Funding of up to $10,000 (excluding GST) may be provided to eligible businesses to engage business consultants, mentors, coaches or an advisory service to assist with business recovery following the monsoonal trough.