Extension of CTRS in Victoria
Minister Pulford has announced this morning that the Victorian Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme (CTRS) which was to cease today will be extended until 15 March 2022. There will be some changes to the scheme and its operation will be retrospective commencing tomorrow.
Small Business Victoria (SBV) will work with stakeholders to develop the regulations to support this announcement as they did with the previous versions. It is expected that the new regulations will be in place in a couple of weeks.
Some key features of the extended scheme to note:
- The eligible turnover threshold has been reduced to $10M or less per annum
- It will be retrospective, commencing on 16 January 2022 and continuing until 15 March 2022
I have been advised that the policy intent of this is that for tenants who are entitled to and accessing rent relief under the current CTRS regulations, and who remain eligible under the new CTRS regulations, there will be no gap in coverage of the scheme between when the current regulations end and the new regulations are in place. The practical impact of this would be that their entitlement to rent relief continues unbroken and the eviction and rent increase prohibitions remain in place.
- The Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) will continue to provide information and free dispute resolution to tenants and landlords
Once the regulations are developed we will update our FAQs and supporting website content. We have also commenced reviewing the existing website content to make amendments to the current language which refers to today as the end of the scheme. As a holding measure, a banner has been placed on the VSBC website noting the announcement of the scheme’s extension for some current participants. We will work closely with SBV and stakeholders to develop the new FAQs and content. Your feedback greatly enhanced the usability of our current material and I would appreciate your assistance in making sure that the new FAQs and material are similarly useful to your members and/or clients.
- Landlords will not be able to lock out or evict tenants without undertaking mediation through the VSBC
- Eligible commercial landlords will continue to be eligible to access the Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund
We had a CTRS Implementation Workshop scheduled for Thursday 3 February 2022 already which is timely and SBV will also attend that meeting. SBV will also reach out to stakeholders as a priority to inform their development of the regulations.
A number of you provided feedback on the practical implementation of the current regulations during the previous CTRS Implementation Workshops and they have been noted by SBV for these new regulations. If there are other issues/ideas you have to improve the implementation of the extension of the scheme, I encourage you to share those with SBV.
I will share this information through my networks and if you could please do the same, that would be greatly appreciated.
On a separate issue, a number of you had raised concerns regarding the burden of reporting positive COVID cases to WorkSafe for your Victorian workers – WorkSafe have now removed the reporting requirement for COVID cases. Here is the detail Report an incident: Criteria for notifiable incidents – WorkSafe
The VANA Team