State governments provided retailers with grants to revitalise their shop fronts in a bid to help the ailing industry. The $2000 - $10000 grant aims to ‘add a lick of paint” and some street appeal to retail outlets not only to attract more foot traffic but to improve the urban landscape. The grant program proved so successful that retailers are calling on governments to offer a new round of funding.
First introduced in 2018 as matched funding of up to $5000 the shopfront improvement grant was open to Hobart businesses and was received with such enthusiasm that it sold out in no time. It has since been rolled out at local and state government levels across Australia.
What shopfront grants cover
While the eligibility and expenditure criteria vary from state to state and council to council, the majority of grants relate to engaging commercial painters to improve the façade of the shop and to revitalise signage in compliance with local advertising policies.
* Repairs to shopfronts
* Improvement to advertising signage
* Adding external details including adding textures or tiling
* Adding green elements
* Removing or replacing security shutters and awnings with more attractive options
* Outdoor furniture improvements
Who is currently eligible for the grant?
Rolled out in most states, and administered by local councils the grant is currently open to businesses in Victoria and South Australia. Victoria offers matched grants of $2000 to eligible retailers while South Australia offers grants of up to $10000.
New South Wales, Tasmania, Western Australia and Queensland’s grants proved so popular they “sold out” in many of the local council regions. It’s expected a new round of grants will open in the near future.
“The shopfront grant idea was a wonderful way to boost businesses struggling under the Covid 19 Retail Crisis because it’s left Perth streets looking fresh. The people of Perth have definitely noticed the difference from this grant. It’s a shame that this was not established as an ongoing grant, rolled out instead in rounds”, said Stephen Cochrane, a veteran painter from the Perth area. “ I don’t see retail fully recovering here in Perth, and with the delays to reopening, it’s vital that WA keeps business afloat beyond the timeline of Eastern states.”
Queensland leads the country in business grants
The Queensland business grants program leads the country in funding for innovative and employment driven business development. Calls for better funding in New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia have so far fallen on deaf ears.
“If the economy is to survive the upcoming tumult, it’s on government to aid businesses, the employers, in thriving. We feel privileged to work with a lot of Queensland businesses on grant projects and have seen government money turned directly into jobs and growth. Grants are an essential part of boosting the economy” said Dana Flannery, Director of Brisbane Digital Marketing Company TAC Digital.