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COVID-19

COVID-19 is having a significant impact on the Australian economy. The federal government has announced a range of support measures to keep businesses afloat and to keep workers in jobs.

For the latest information about government support for Australian businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit business.gov.au.

Government stimulus - 22 March 2020 announcement

1. $100,000 tax free cash boost

Businesses will be given a cash boost of up to $100,000 for the period March 2020 to September 2020.

That boost will be worth 100% of the tax those small and medium businesses, with a turnover less than $50 million, are withholding from their employees salary and wages.

Eligible businesses that pay salary and wages will receive a minimum of $20,000, even if they are not required to withhold tax.

The boost will be tax free. It will also be available to eligible charities or other not-for-profit entities.

2. SME Guarantee Scheme for businesses with turnover less than $50 million

Under the Scheme, the Commonwealth will guarantee 50%, through the participating banks, of an eligible loan to small and medium enterprise customers that have been impacted by the coronavirus.

The Scheme will have the capacity to support lending of $40 billion to small and medium businesses.

Loans will be used for working capital purposes and be unsecured and it will be for loans granted within 6 months starting 1 April 2020. It will be repayment free for 6 months. The maximum loan will be $250,000 for a term up to 3 years.

Find out more about these measures

 

Government stimulus - 12 March 2020 announcement

The federal government's announced an initial $17.6 billion stimulus package designed to help small and family businesses.

1. $6.7 billion measure boosting cash flow for employers

Tax free payments of between $2,000 and $25,000 to eligible business with a turnover of under $50 million, to provide temporary cash flow support to businesses that employ staff.

This will work by giving eligible businesses that withhold tax to the ATO on their employees’ salary and wages receiving a payment equal to 50% of the amount withheld, up to a maximum payment of $25,000.

Eligible businesses that pay salary and wages will receive a minimum payment of $2,000, even if they are not required to withhold tax.

2. $1.3 billion measure supporting apprentices and trainees

Employers of apprentices and trainees who employ less than 20 full-time staff can apply for a wage subsidy of 50%, of up to $7,000 per quarter, for each trainee or apprentice they employ. This applies to trainee and apprentice wages paid for the period from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020 up to a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee.

3. Increasing the Instant Asset Write-Off

The government is increasing the instant asset write off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000, and expanding access to businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million until 30 June 2020.

Backing Business Investment Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million can, until 30 June 2021, deduct 50% of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset’s cost.

More information on these measures can be found at https://business.gov.au/

 

Assistance available to small business

Letter: Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business

 

Fact sheets

Cash flow assistance for small businesses

Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses

Delivering support for business investment

Income support for individuals

Payments to support households

 

Banks assistance

Loan deferrals and commercial leases

Australian banks have introduced loan relief measures that will see commercial landloards get debt relief for up to 6 months, if they don’t terminate leases or evict current tenants for rental arrears due to COVID-19.

These measures pave the way for small businesses impacted by COVID-19 to talk to their landlords about a rent holiday.  

Find out more here

 

Government websites

australia.gov.au

Australian Taxation Office

business.gov.au

 

Social distancing measures

On 24 March, Prime Minister Morrison announced Stage 2 of the social-distancing measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. Find below a table that sets out the additional prohibited activities and venues that apply from 11:59pm (local time) 25 March 2020.

For more information please go to the Prime Minister’s Media Statement: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/update-coronavirus-measures-24-March-2020

Along with these measures Tasmania, the NT, WA, Queensland and SA announced border closures. Anyone entering these states or territory must self-isolate for 14 days.

Please go here to find out more from the respective State or Territory: https://www.australia.gov.au/#state-government

For school closures (government and non-government) please refer to state and territory education authorities that can be found here: https://www.dese.gov.au/news/coronavirus-covid-19#schools.

Business, premises or place

Exceptions

Food and drink

Cafes

Take away service and home delivery.

Cafes or canteens at hospitals, care homes or schools; prison and military canteens; services providing food or drink to the homeless; workplace canteens can provide takeaway.

Food courts

Delivery and takeaway can remain.

Retail

Auction houses

 

Real estate auctions, and display and open house inspections

Private appointments for inspection.

Outdoor and indoor markets will be a decision for each state and territory

Food markets will continue to operate in all states and territories.

Beauty and personal care services

Hairdressers and barber shops

4sqm rule to apply.

Beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons, tattoo parlours

 

Spas and massage parlours

 

Entertainment venues

Cinemas, nightclubs

 

Casinos, gaming or gambling venues

 

Strip clubs, brothels and sex on premises venues

 

Concert venues, theatre, arenas, auditoriums, stadiums

Live streaming of a performance by a small group could be permissible with social distancing observed.

Amusement parks and arcades

 

Play centres (indoor and outdoor)

 

Leisure and recreation

Community and recreation centres

Facilities may remain open for the purpose of hosting essential voluntary or public services, such as food banks or homeless services.

Health clubs, fitness centres, yoga, barre and spin facilities, saunas, bathhouses and wellness centres

 

Boot camps and personal training (outside and inside)

Outside must be limited to groups of no more than 2 people and social distancing must be observed.

Social sporting-based activities

 

Swimming pools

 

Residential facilities

 

Hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses will be a decision for each state and territory

Excluding permanent residents and workers.

 

 

 

Outdoor recreation

Caravan and camping parks will be a decision for each state and territory

Where people live permanently in caravan parks or are staying in caravan parks temporarily while their primary residence is not available, they may continue to do so.

Non-residential institutions

Galleries, museums, national institutions and historic sites

 

Libraries, community centres, and youth centres

 

Local government non-essential facilities and services (such as libraries and pools)

 

Community facilities (such as community halls, clubs, RSLs, PCYCs)

 

Weddings and Funerals

Weddings with a maximum attendance of no more than 5 people, with 1 person per 4 square metre rule applied.

Funerals attended by a maximum of no more than 10 people, with the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applied.

Other resources

Guide

Many small businesses in Australia are being negatively affected by the COVID-19 crisis, including some businesses who have been significantly impacted by the bushfires. It’s important you consider the following actions now to help your business survive this challenging period.

Download guide

Ombudsman media releases

JobKeeper package a survival kit for small businesses

New SME mental health support service a life-saving initiative

Business hibernation the only option to save struggling small businesses: Ombudsman

My Business Health offers some relief from pandemic distress

Latest COVID-19 package a lifeline to small businesses: Ombudsman

Banks do the right thing for COVID-19 affected small businesses

COVID-19 support should extend to all small businesses, including sole traders

Ombudsman videos

COVID-19 - What the JobKeeper payment means for your small business

COVID-19 - SME Guarantee Scheme

COVID-19 - Your obligations regarding staff (Part 1)

COVID-19 - Your obligations regarding staff (Part 2)

COVID-19 - What sole traders need to know

COVID-19 - New support package for small businesses

COVID-19 - What small businesses can do now

COVID-19 - Government stimulus for small businesses