Information on government support packages

 
Updated 08 May 2020

We feel passionately about supporting our small and medium business customers and that’s why we wanted to pass on some helpful information from Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business.

The Government is acting to cushion the blow from the coronavirus for businesses and households to help you get through to the other side of the crisis, as the world deals with the significant challenges posed by its spread.

Helping small business on the path to recovery

The Australian Government is encouraging businesses to start thinking about how they can adjust their operations to safely operate in an environment where COVID-19 may persist at low levels within the community.

They’re asking business owners to make the appropriate arrangements now to ensure that small businesses bounce back as quickly as possible, in a COVID-19 safe manner.

These arrangements include:

  • Prepare comprehensive plans so employees and customers know what to expect both in undertaking daily business but also in the event of a COVID-19 related incident or outbreak

  • Develop workplace and business models to prevent the spread of COVID-19 which incorporate measures such as physical distancing or barriers and hygiene as appropriate depending on the nature of your business operations

  • Prepare plans to respond in the event of an incident involving an infected employee or customer including testing and isolation measures

  • Prepare plans and protocols to recover after incidents including cleaning and testing the workplace.

The government has suggested visiting the Safe Work Australia website for guidance material on operating in a COVID-19 safe manner safeworkaustralia.gov.au

Quick Links

Below are some quick links provided by the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business that outline the measures available to small and medium businesses, sole traders and households under the $189 billion economic support package announced by the Prime Minister:

  • Small or medium business with reduced cash flow?

    Here’s what we’re doing to boost your cash flow. Click here.

  • Is your business financially distressed?

    This is what we’re doing to support you. Click here.

  • Assisting the economic recovery

    Here’s how we’ll support you to grow. Click here.

  • Employ an apprentice or trainee?

    This support is for you. Click here.

  • Are you a sole trader that has lost business?

    This is what we’re doing to support you and your business. Click here.

  • Household finances hit by reduced work?

    Here’s what we’re doing to help support your family budget.Click here.

    Payments to support households. Click here.

Jobkeeper Payment

Earlier this week, the Federal Government announced a Jobkeeper Payment to support employers retain staff during this challenging period of time.

Please see below more detail around the Jobkeeper Payment from Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business:

  • The JobKeeper Payment will start on 30 March 2020, with the first payment to be received by employers in the first week of May. Employers must pass this payment on to their employees.
  • Eligible employers include businesses structured through companies, partnerships, trusts and sole traders. Not for profit entities, including charities, will also be eligible.
  • Self-employed individuals are also eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment.
  • Employers must elect to participate in the scheme. You can do this at: https://www.ato.gov.au/general/gen/JobKeeper-payment/
  • To be eligible, an employee must have been on the employer’s books on 1 March 2020.
  • The JobKeeper Payment is open to full-time, part-time and long-term casuals (employed on a regular basis for at least the previous 12 months) and stood down employees. Employees that are re-engaged by a business that was their employer on 1 March 2020 will also be eligible.
  • Self-employed individuals will be eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment where they have suffered or expect to suffer a 30 per cent decline in turnover relative to a comparable prior period (of at least a month).

Government factsheets:

State government Initiatives

  • The Victorian Government has announced the $500 million Business Support Fund to help small businesses survive the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) and keep people in work.
  • This fund includes the allocation of $10,000 per business through a grant process, eligible for small businesses in the hardest hit sectors, to be used on meeting business costs, seeking advice to support business continuity or developing the business.
  • To find out more about eligibility, how the funding can be used and how to apply for the grant, please visit Business Victoria’s ‘Business Support Fund’ website.
  • Applications for the grant are open until 1 June 2020, with interested businesses encouraged to apply online.
  • As part of the Small Business Support Fund, the NSW Government announced a Small Business Support Grant to help ease the pressure on small businesses directly affected by COVID-19.
  • Applications are open now until 1 June 2020. If eligible, businesses could secure a grant of up to $10,000 to use on meeting business costs, seeking professional advice to support business continuity or developing plans to emerge successfully once the country returns to some form of normality.
  • For more information, including eligibility criteria and how to apply, please visit the NSW Government website.
  • The Queensland Government has released a roadmap to easing restrictions which outlines the stages when different businesses can reopen and what requirements they need to meet. It has also published its economic recovery strategy outlining immediate priorities.
  • The COVID-19 business assistance finder is an online tool that helps you understand if you are eligible for financial assistance or other types of relief from the Queensland and Australian governments, or Queensland local councils.
  • You can also fill out a ‘business impact’ survey to help the Queensland government understand how your business has been affected by COVID-19 and help you access support you need from state agencies.
  • For the latest COVID-19 information and assistance for business, including safety resources, commercial tenancy support, border restrictions and guidelines on how to maintain a seasonal workforce, please visit the Business Queensland website.
  • The Northern Territory Government has introduced a number of programs, services and grants to support your business during COVID-19:
    • The Worker and Wellbeing fund can help you if you have lost your job or your income because of COVID-19 and you are not already receiving financial and/or wellbeing support, including Centrelink benefits.
    • The Jobs Rescue and Recovery plan includes grants available for business improvement or immediate work through the Small Business Survival Fund.
    • The Territory Jobs Hub is an online portal designed to help Territory workers find a new job quickly. Businesses that need workers can also use the portal to connect with those looking for work.
  • For the latest information and resources to help you manage your business during the COVID-19 crisis and into the recovery phase, please visit the Northern Territory Government ‘Support for business’ website.
  • The Government of Western Australian has introduced a range of measures to support small and medium-sized businesses, which will be automatically applied to all eligible businesses.
  • These include electricity bill assistance, waiver of license fees, payroll tax relief, rent relief on Government-owned building, no utility disconnections and alternative tax arrangements
  • To find out more about each of these measures please download the COVID-19 Fact Sheet from the Government of Western Australia’s website.
  • The Small Business Development Corporation has created a COVID-19 assistance centre to provide dedicated, timely guidance on available support options, including:
    • information on available stimulus packages and eligibility requirements
    • advice on preparing businesses to manage impacts
    • other resources.
  • To access the service, contact 133 140 (8.30am to 4.30pm weekdays) or email info@smallbusiness.wa.gov.au
  • The Government of South Australia is working with industry associations to finalise a training program that will help businesses adopt healthy hygiene practices as COVID-19 restrictions ease.
  • Up to 5,500 members of the retail, hospitality, tourism, cleaning, security, transport and logistics industries will receive this accredited training—dubbed the COVID-Clean Toolkit.
  • The aim of this COVID-Clean Toolkit is to ensure South Australians can confidently return to supporting our local shops and eateries when health advice permits.
  • You can register your interest in this training by entering your details here. Training is expected to commence from June 30.
  • For other business information and support in relation to COVID-19, please visit the SA Business Information Hub.
  • The Tasmanian Government is providing a substantial stimulus package to support small businesses in the state given the significant impact of the unfolding COVID-19 situation and trading restrictions.
  • This includes the introduction of the Business Support Loan Scheme, which sees loans from $20 000 up to $250 000 available to assist eligible businesses for the purpose of supporting business continuity, viability and sustainability during the COVID-19 period.
  • The Business Tasmania website is where you can find the fact sheet, information about the application process and guidelines, and where you can apply for the loan.
  • Other grants and support programs available in Tasmania include:
    • Business vehicle registration relief
    • Culture and creative industries stimulus relief
    • Free business advice and digital coaching
    • Support from other organisations
    • Support from your bank
    • Workplace and employee relations support
  • For more information on these, as well as the latest COVID-19 updates and helpful fact sheets, please visit the Tasmanian Government website.

Jobs Hub

The Morrison Government has launched a new Jobs Hub, supporting businesses and those Australians looking for work. The Jobs Hub helps Australians looking for work find advertised vacancies.

An up to date list of a selection of businesses and organisations that are currently hiring, and how to contact them, can be found at: www.dese.gov.au/covid-19/jobs-hub

While many businesses have been adversely affected by COVID-19 and are reducing their workforces, there are some areas of the economy which have an increased demand for workers. This includes jobs in health and care sectors, transport and logistics, some areas of retail, mining and mining services, manufacturing, agriculture and government sectors, among others.

In addition, employers who are hiring and want support to connect with potential candidates can also contact the Department of Education, Skills and Employment at workforce@dese.gov.au to be connected directly with businesses reducing their workforces; and the employment services network to source suitable candidates.

Childcare announcement

Around one million families are set to receive free child care during the coronavirus pandemic under a plan from the Morrison Government that will help deliver hip pocket relief and help the early childhood education and care sector make it through to the other side of this crisis.

The funding will apply from 6 April 2020 based on the number of children who were in care during the fortnight leading into 2 March, whether or not they are attending services.

Child care services seeking health and situation information about COVID-19 should contact the 24/7 National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. Information is also available from https://www.dese.gov.au/news/coronavirus-covid-19

Business support

At www.business.gov.au there is a dedicated team of customer representatives who can help you if your business has been affected by the coronavirus. The dedicated team are available between 7.00am – 9.00pm across Australia, seven days a week.

Call 13 28 46, send them an email or use webchat on the website.

Commercial tenancies

The National Cabinet has agreed that states and territories will introduce a mandatory Code of Conduct to implement the principles agreed by National Cabinet on 3 April 2020. The purpose of the Code is to impose a set of good faith leasing principles for application to commercial tenancies (including retail, office and industrial) between owners/operators/other landlords and tenants, in circumstances where the tenant is a small-medium sized business (annual turnover of up to $50 million) and is an eligible business for the purpose of the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper programme.

National Cabinet also agreed that there would be a proportionality to rent reductions based on the tenant’s decline in turnover to ensure that the burden is shared between landlords and tenants. The Code provides a proportionate and measured burden share between the two parties while still allowing tenants and landlords to agree to tailored, bespoke and appropriate temporary arrangements that take account of their particular circumstances.

The Rent Relief Policy will include a mutual obligation requirement on the small and medium sized enterprises and not-for-profit tenants to continue to engage their employees through the JobKeeper initiative where eligible, and if applicable, provide rent relief to their subtenants.