How to find out your State’s revenue downturn benchmark to access Covid-19 support

Since the pandemic’s arrival, many Australian states have faced the ongoing challenge of shifting lockdowns. And, as a result, several new support packages have been announced to help the millions of small-business owners impacted by stay-at-home restrictions. For advisors, this comes with the challenge of navigating each grant’s eligibility requirements to work out if their clients qualify – sometimes, across multiple regions.

Although the application criteria for each support measure differs state-by-state, most business owners must be able to demonstrate a decline in turnover in order to be eligible for financial assistance. Depending on the grant, a minimum threshold applies.

To help make this calculation easier, Xero has updated its Covid-19 Business Support tool with customisable comparative date ranges, and listed the revenue downturn benchmark that applies in each state.

So, what revenue downturn benchmark applies in each state?

Some states impacted by lockdowns are offering several kinds of financial assistance measures, each with its own set of eligibility criteria. However, many regions have standardised the revenue downturn minimum to cover each payment type:

New South Wales

There are three key support payments available to those impacted by the Greater Sydney lockdown. Each of these require business owners to demonstrate at least a 30 per cent decline in turnover across a minimum fortnightly period from 26 June 2021. This must be compared to one of three options: the same period in 2019, the same period in 2020, or the fortnight immediately before 26 June 2021.


To apply for the Small Business COVID Hardship Fund, you must be able to demonstrate a decline in turnover of at least 70 per cent for a minimum consecutive fortnightly period since 27 May 2021 compared to a benchmark (or similar) date range in 2019.


Those who qualify for the Queensland government’s 2021 Covid-19 Business Support grant must be able to demonstrate at least a 30 per cent decline in turnover during a seven day period from when lockdown began (31 July 2021 for those in South East Queensland or 8 August for those impacted by the Cairns and Yarrabah stay-at-home restrictions). This must be compared to the same week-long period in July or August 2019, or another comparable date range in 2020 for new businesses.

Australian Capital Territory

Those who qualify for the business support grant must be able to demonstrate a decline in turnover of at least 30 per cent in the week from 13 to 20 August 2021, compared to the prior seven day period.

South Australia

The South Australian government is offering grants of up to $3000 to employing businesses and $1000 to non-employing businesses. To qualify, you must have experienced at least a 30 per cent decline in turnover between 20 July and 26 July 2021 compared to the prior week.

Northern Territory

Since the Northern Territory went into lockdown on 16 August 2021, its government announced a new round of funding for the Territory Business Lockdown Payment. Those who qualify could receive a one-off $1000 payment after demonstrating a minimum 50 per cent decline in turnover as a direct result of the stay-at-home restrictions (among other eligibility criteria).


Although Tasmania is not currently in lockdown, its government has announced support measures to help those impacted by ongoing border closures with some of the state’s biggest visitor markets. To qualify for a grant, businesses must have experienced at least a 30 per cent decline in turnover since 26 July 2021, compared to the same period prior to that date.

For more information on the types of support available across the country, keep an eye on the relevant state government websites.

Author: Matthew Prouse

This article was first published on sibling website Inside Small Business.