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The National Retail Association has been monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 (previously known as novel coronavirus) from the moment the story broke in January 2020. We are currently discussing the impacts of COVID-19 and ways to cushion the blow with all levels of government, and other related assocations. We have compiled resources from the Department of Health, guides on how to minimise the spread of the virus, and best practice for workplace health and safety for your employees and customers.

We exist to support YOUR business.

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Download your FREE COVID-19 Employer Resource Pack

The Employer Resource Pack includes:

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Q&A's for Employers (updated 26 March 2020)
  • Template Policy for Epidemic / Pandemic
  • Template Employee Handout for Employees
  • "Open or Closed?" Infographic
  • Rest Superannuation Frequently Asked Questions for Coronavirus

More than 3,000 cases of COVID-19 have now been confirmed across Australia with 1,405 in New South Wales, 574 in Victoria, 555 in Queensland, 231 in Western Australia, 235 in South Australia, 62 in the ACT, 47 in Tasmania and 12 in the Northern Territory.

Further details:

Of the confirmed cases in Australia, 13 have sadly died from COVID-19.

Further information regarding the epidemiology of cases in Australia is provided in the weekly epidemiology reports.

For questions about testing or the welfare of people with the virus, contact your state or territory health authority.

 

Across the world there have been more than 527,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 23,900 deaths.

DO I NEED TO CLOSE MY BUSINESS?

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) have made decisions to ban non-essential gatherings to limit the spread of COVID-19. The prohibition on the below gathering places took place from 11:59pm on Wednesday, 23 March. If you belong to one of the below categories, you will need to cease trading until other advice is given.

Business, premises or placeExceptions
CafesTakeaway and home delivery Cafés 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 courtsDelivery and takeaway can remain operational
Auction houses
Real estate auctions and open house inspectionsPrivate appointments for inspection
Outdoor and indoor markets will be a decision for each state and territoryFood markets will continue to operate in all states and territories
Hairdressers and barber shopsCan open if 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies in the premises
Beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons, tattoo parlours
Spas and massage parlours
Cinemas, nightclubs
Casinos, gaming or gambling venues, entertainment venues
Concert venues, theatre, arenas, auditoriums, stadiumsLive streaming of a performance by a small group could be permissible with social distancing observed
Amusement parks and arcades
Play centres (indoor and outdoor)
Community and recreation centresFacilities 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, personal training operating outside and insideFor outside events, limited to groups of no more than 10 people and social distancing must be exercised.
Social sporting-based activities
Swimming pools
Hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses will be a decision for each state and territoryExcluding permanent residents and workers.
Caravan and camping parks will be a decision for each state and territoryWhere people live permanently in caravan parks or are staying in caravan parks as interim abodes where their primary residence is not available, they may continue to do so.
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);
Places of worship, weddings and funeralsWeddings with a maximum attendance of no more than 5 people and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies. Funerals attended by a maximum of no more than 10 people and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies. States and territories can provide exemptions in relation to attendance at funerals but only at the margin in hardship cases.

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

Below are quick links to the measures available to small and medium businesses, sole traders and households under the $189 billion economic support package announced by the Prime Minister:

Business.gov.au support line: 13 28 46 (open 7 days per week, 7am-11pm AEST).

Small or medium business with reduced cash flow? Here’s how you can boost your cash flow.

Is your business financially distressed? This is what's available to support you.

Assisting the economic recovery Here’s how you can begin to regrow.

Employ an apprentice or trainee? This support is for you.

Are you a sole trader that has lost business? This is what support is available for you and your business.

Household finances hit by reduced work? Here’s how you can work through your family budget and Payments to support households.

The Australian Government is supporting Australian businesses to manage cash flow challenges and retain employees. Assistance includes cash flow support to businesses and temporary measures to provide relief for financially distressed businesses.

  • Boosting cash flow for employers
  • Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
  • Increasing the instant asset write-off
  • Backing business investment
  • Supporting apprentices and trainees

Boosting cash flow for employers

The Government is enhancing the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure it announced on 12 March 2020. The Government is providing up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium-sized businesses, and not for-profits (NFPs) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000. These payments will help businesses and NFPs with their cash flow so they can keep operating, pay their rent, electricity and other bills and retain staff.

This measure will benefit around 690,000 businesses employing around 7.8 million people, and around 30,000 NFPs (including charities).

Small and medium-sized business entities with aggregated annual turnover under $50 million and that employ workers are eligible. NFPs, including charities, with aggregated annual turnover under $50 million and that employ workers will now also be eligible. This will support employment at a time where NFPs are facing increasing demand for services.

Under the enhanced scheme, employers will receive a payment equal to 100 per cent of their salary and wages withheld (up from 50 per cent), with the maximum payment being increased from $25,000 to $50,000. In addition, the minimum payment is being increased from $2,000 to $10,000.

An additional payment is also being introduced in the July – October 2020 period. Eligible entities will receive an additional payment equal to the total of all of the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers payments they have received. This means that eligible entities will receive at least $20,000 up to a total of $100,000 under both payments.

Fact sheet

PDF file

Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses

The economic impacts of the Coronavirus and health measures to prevent its spread could see many otherwise profitable and viable businesses temporarily face financial distress. It is important that these businesses have a safety net to make sure that when the crisis has passed they can resume normal business operations. One element of that safety net is to lessen the threat of actions that could unnecessarily push them into insolvency and force the winding up of the business.

The Government is temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company and the time companies have to respond to statutory demands they receive. The package also includes temporary relief for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent, and providing temporary flexibility in the Corporations Act 2001 to provide temporary and targeted relief from provisions of the Act to deal with unforeseen events that arise as a result of the Coronavirus health crisis.

The ATO will tailor solutions for owners or directors of business that are currently struggling due to the Coronavirus, including temporary reduction of payments or deferrals, or withholding enforcement actions including Director Penalty Notices and wind-ups.

Fact sheet

PDF file

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 include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million) until 30 June 2020. In 2017-18 there were more than 360,000 businesses that benefited from the current instant asset write-off, claiming deductions to the value of over $4 billion. This measure will support over 3.5 million businesses (over 99 per cent of businesses) employing more than 9.7 million employees.

Fact sheet

PDF file

Backing business investment

The Government is introducing a time limited 15 month investment incentive (through to 30 June 2021) to support business investment and economic growth over the short term, by accelerating depreciation deductions. Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million will be able to deduct 50 per cent of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset’s cost. This measure will support business investment and is estimated to lower taxes paid by Australian businesses by $6.7 billion over the next two years. This measure will support over 3.5 million businesses (over 99 per cent of businesses) employing more than 9.7 million employees.

Fact sheet

PDF file

Supporting apprentices and trainees

The Government is supporting small business to retain their apprentices and trainees. Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Where a small business is not able to retain an apprentice, the subsidy will be available to a new employer that employs that apprentice. Employers will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee ($7,000 per quarter).

Support will also be provided to the National Apprentice Employment Network, the peak national body representing Group Training Organisations, to co-ordinate the re-employment of displaced apprentices and trainees throughout their network of host employers across Australia.

This measure will support up to 70,000 small businesses, employing around 117,000 apprentices.

Fact sheet

PDF file

Support for Coronavirus-affected regions and communities

The Government will set aside $1 billion to support regions most significantly affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. These funds will be available to assist during the outbreak and the recovery. In addition, the Government is assisting our airline industry by providing relief from a number of taxes and Government charges estimated to total up to $715 million.

Fact sheet

PDF file

Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit

Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit has been established within The Treasury to engage with business on a regular basis and provide updates to government on crucial issues.

Support for immediate cash flow needs for SMEs

Under the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme, the Government will provide a guarantee of 50 per cent to SME lenders to support new short-term unsecured loans to SMEs. The Scheme will guarantee up to $40 billion of new lending. This will provide businesses with funding to meet cash flow needs, by further enhancing lenders’ willingness and ability to provide credit. This will assist otherwise viable businesses across the economy who are facing significant challenges due to disrupted cash flow to meet existing obligations.

Fact sheet

PDF file

Quick and efficient access to credit for small business

The Government is cutting red tape by providing a temporary exemption from responsible lending obligations for lenders providing credit to existing small business customers. This reform will help small businesses get access to credit quickly and efficiently.

Fact sheet

PDF file

Reserve Bank of Australia – Supporting the flow and reducing the cost of credit

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) announced a package on 19 March 2020 that will put downward pressure on borrowing costs for households and businesses. This will help mitigate the adverse consequences of the Coronavirus on businesses and support their day-to-day trading operations. The RBA is supporting small businesses as a particular priority.

The RBA announced a term funding facility for the banking system. Banks will have access to at least $90 billion in funding at a fixed interest rate of 0.25 per cent. This will reinforce the benefits of a low cash rate by reducing funding costs for banks, which in turn will help reduce interest rates for borrowers. To encourage lending to businesses, the facility offers additional low-cost funding to banks if they expand their business lending, with particular incentives applying to new loans to SMEs.

In addition, the RBA announced a further easing in monetary policy by reducing the cash rate to 0.25 per cent. It is also extending and complementing the interest rate cut by taking active steps to target a 0.25 per cent yield on 3-year Australian Government Securities.

Fact sheet

PDF file

Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme - supporting the flow of credit

The Coronavirus Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Guarantee Scheme will support up to $40 billion of lending to SMEs.

Under the Scheme, the Government will guarantee 50 per cent of new loans issued by eligible lenders to SMEs.

The Scheme will enhance lenders’ willingness and ability to provide credit, supporting many otherwise viable SMEs to access vital additional funding to get through the impact of Coronavirus.

The Scheme will be available for new loans made by participating lenders until 30 September 2020.

Information for small and medium businesses

The Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme will provide small and medium sized business with timely access to working capital to help them get through the impact of the Coronavirus.

The Government will provide eligible lenders with a guarantee for loans with the following terms:

  • SMEs, including sole traders, with a turnover of up to $50 million.
  • Maximum total size of loans of $250,000 per borrower.
  • Loans will be up to three years, with an initial six month repayment holiday.
  • Unsecured finance, meaning that borrowers will not have to provide an asset as security for the loan.

The decision on whether to extend credit, and management of the loan, will remain with the lender. However, the Government expects that lenders will look through the cycle to sensibly take into account the uncertainty of the current economic conditions when determining whether credit should be extended.

As part of the loan products available, the Government will encourage lenders to provide facilities to SMEs that only have to be drawn if needed by the SME. This will mean that the SME would only incur interest on the amount they draw down. If they do not draw down any funds from the facility, no interest will be charged, but they will retain the flexibility to draw down funds should the need arise.

SMEs interested in the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme should approach their financial institution for more information. Treasury is urgently working with banks and other eligible lenders to ensure loans are available as soon as possible. While the scheme officially commences from April 2020, your bank or other lenders may be able to provide credit sooner, and still benefit from the guarantee.

Helpline for businesses

Operations at the business.gov.au 13 28 46 Contact Centre will increase from five days per week to seven days per week, and provide additional hours of support outside standard operating hours for the first month, answering calls from 7am to 11pm AEST.

Stage 2 package

Keeping people in jobs and helping businesses stay afloat 

  • the creation of a $1 billion Working for NSW fund to sustain business, create new jobs and retrain employees. The fund is already being put in to action with 1000 new staff for Service NSW announced this week to be funded by the program. The Working for NSW fund will comprise $750 million in new funding and $250 million announced last week for additional cleaning services
  • deferral of payroll tax for business with payrolls over $10 million for six months (up to $4 billion deferred). Businesses with payrolls of $10 million or less received a three-month waiver on payroll tax in the first package. These businesses will now get an additional three month deferral as well
  • deferral of gaming tax for clubs, pubs and hotels, and lotteries tax for six months, conditional on these funds being used to retain staff. This improves liquidity and helps these businesses stay afloat
  • deferral of the parking space levy for six months
  • deferral of rents for six months for commercial tenants with less than 20 employees in all Government-owned properties.

Helping the most vulnerable

  • $34 million boost in funding to prevent homelessness
  • $30 million to boost the Energy Accounts Payments Assistance scheme
  • $10 million to support charities and $6 million additional funding for Lifeline’s operations in NSW.

Stage 1 package

Business support and jobs

  • $450 million for the waiver of payroll tax for businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million for three months (the rest of 2019-20). This means these businesses will save a quarter of their annual payroll tax bill in 2019-20
  • $56 million to bring forward the next round of payroll tax cuts by raising the threshold limit to $1 million in 2020-21
  • $80 million to waive a range of fees and charges for small businesses including bars, cafes, restaurants and tradies
  • $250 million to employ additional cleaners of public infrastructure such as transport assets, schools and other public buildings
  • more than $250 million to bring forward maintenance on public assets including social housing and crown land fencing
  • $500 million to bring forward capital works and maintenance.

Economic Survival Package

  • Full payroll tax refunds for the 2019-20 financial year to small and medium-sized businesses with a payroll of less than $3 million. Payments will start flowing the week commencing Monday, 30 March 2020 and will save eligible business up to $113,975 a year, with businesses saving an average of $23,000. These businesses employ around 400,000 workers. This assistance is a refund, not a loan.
  • Payroll tax deferments for the first three months of the 2020-21 financial year to small and medium-sized businesses until 1 January 2021.
  • Commercial tenants in government buildings can apply for rent relief and 2020 land tax payments will be deferred for eligible small businesses.
  • Government to pay all outstanding supplier invoices within five business days of 21 March 2020.
  • The 2020-21 Victorian Budget to be deferred in line with all other Australian Governments and agreed by National Cabinet.

Business Support Fund

The $500 million fund will support the hardest hit sectors, including hospitality, tourism, accommodation, arts and entertainment, and retail.

The Victorian Government will work with the Victorian Chamber, Australian Hotels Association and Ai Group to administer the fund to help businesses survive and keep people in work.

To register your interest in receiving more details of the program please provide your contact information here.

Working for Victoria Fund

The $500 million fund help workers who have lost their jobs find new opportunities, including work cleaning public infrastructure or delivering food – providing vital contributions to the state’s response to the pandemic and affording those Victorians security when its needed most.

The Government will also facilitate job matching to help Victorians find short-term or casual roles.

The Victorian Government will work with the Victorian Council of Social Services and Victorian Trades Hall Council.

To register your interest in receiving more details of the program please provide your contact information here.

$4 billion COVID-19 package to support Queenslanders' health, jobs and businesses

$2.5 billion for workers and industry

The worker and industry support package includes:

  • Up to $500 million to assist workers who lose their job or income with retraining, job-matching and other help to transition into jobs in the industries that are vital to get Queensland through this crisis – such as health care, agriculture, food production, transport, cleaning and mining.

Payroll Tax Relief

  • Immediate payroll tax refunds of $740 million for COVID-19 affected businesses
  • A payroll tax holiday and deferral until the end of 2020 for eligible businesses

Small and medium businesses

All small and medium businesses (payroll up to $6.5M) in Queensland will be eligible for:

  • A two-month refund of payroll tax, giving an average of nearly $9,000 cash
  • A three-month payroll tax holiday, saving an average of $13,360

In addition, they will be eligible to defer all payroll tax payments for the rest of 2020.

Large businesses

Larger businesses (payroll over $6.5M) affected by COVID-19 will also be eligible for the two-month payroll tax refund and have their deferral extended for all of 2020.

All this means no Queensland business impacted by COVID-19 will have to make a payroll tax payment this year.

Industry Support Package

  • The Industry Support Package will assist large businesses through this period to ensure they will be able to scale up and service the community when economic activity improves.
  • For futher detail on the Industry Support Package email COVID19ISP@treasury.qld.gov.au

Other support for business

  • Relief for businesses renting government premises.
  • $500 rebate on electricity bills for all Queensland small and medium sized businesses that consume less then 100,000 kilowatt hours. This will be automatically applied to electricity bills.
  • Liquor licensing fees waived for business impacted by enforced safety industry shutdowns.

$300 million for households

  • $200 rebate for all 2.1 million Queensland households (including the $50 Asset Ownership Dividend already announced) to offset the cost of water and electricity bills.
  • Automatically applied through household electricity bills.

$1.2 billion for health

This funding boost will increase the capacity of Queensland's health system to confront COVID-19. This includes the expansion of:

  • fever clinics
  • emergency department capacity
  • acute care services
  • regional aeromedical services for our remote communities.

Visit Business Queensland for more information.

Immediate Industry Recovery Package

An Immediate Industry Recovery Package, valued at $27.25 million, will assist local government, business and industry with resilience and recovery strategies to deal with and mitigate impacts of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

The package includes targeted financial support and advice; promotes Queensland locally and abroad through marketing and media activities; and provides counselling and support to businesses and students.

The package will help sustain jobs and businesses while work continues to contain the coronavirus.

Economic functional recovery group (EFRG)

The EFRG coordinates the economic recovery activities for the Queensland Government. This group works with the affected industry groups and makes sure that responses meet the real needs of businesses.

Worker Transition Scheme and rapid response

The Worker Transition Scheme and rapid response provides a suite of information and support services to workers who may find themselves without work as a result of business closures or redundancy programs.

$607 million stimulus 

The WA State Government announced a $607 million stimulus package to support WA households, pensioners and small businesses in the wake of COVID-19. The package includes:

  • A freeze will be placed on household fees and charges, including electricity, water, motor vehicle charges, the emergency services levy and public transport fares.
  • An allocation of $402 million in the 2020-21 Budget will go towards paying for the freeze.
  • $91 million allocated to double the Energy Assistance Package (EAP) in 2020-21 to provide additional support to vulnerable Western Australians. The payment will increase from $300 to $600 for eligible concession card-holders.
  • $114 million in measures to support Western Australian small and medium businesses.
  • Payroll tax paying businesses with a payroll between $1 million and $4 million will receive a one-off grant of $17,500
  • $1 million payroll tax threshold brought forward by six months to 1 July, 2020
  • Small and medium sized businesses affected by COVID-19 can now apply to defer payment of their 2019-20 payroll tax until July 21, 2020

Further information on how to apply for a payroll tax deferral is available on the Department of Finance website at http://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-finance

$1 billion stimulus package

Payroll tax relief (Up to $60 million of savings to business)

  • 6-month waiver for all businesses with an annual payroll (grouped) up to $4 million
  • Eligible businesses won’t have to pay any payroll tax from April to September
  • This measure is expected to assist up to 2,400 businesses and save them up to $84,000 over the six months (average saving $25,000)
  • Employers with grouped annual wages above $4 million able to defer payroll tax payments for 6 months on demonstration of significant impacts on cash flow of coronavirus
  • Around 4,300 businesses will be able to access this payroll deferral and is expected to increase overall cash flow by around $580 million.

Land tax relief (Up to $13 million in additional savings)

  • From July, the Government’s significant land tax reforms will kick in, delivering $189m in savings to investors and landlords over the next three years.
  • Under the new measures, individuals and businesses with outstanding quarterly bills for 2019-20 able to defer payments for 6 months (up to 28,000 private land tax ownerships will benefit)
  • For 2020-21 Land Tax Transition Fund relief will be increased from 50% to 100% based on existing relief criteria guidelines – saving some investors up to $50,000

Fees and Charges

  • Waiver of liquor licence fees for 2020-21 for those hotels, restaurants, cafes and clubs forced to close as a result of new social distancing restrictions

$300 million Business and Jobs Support Fund

  • A fund to support individual businesses and industry sectors directly affected by coronavirus, and face potential collapse – and the loss of thousands of jobs – as a result

$250 million Community and Jobs Fund

  • A fund to support community organisations, sporting, arts and recreational bodies, non-profit organisations as well as some industry sectors whose operations have been impacted by the coronavirus
  • Will also help with training of South Australians seeking new skills and employment and to assist organisations meet increased demand for services including emergency relief.

Cost of Living Concessions (An estimated additional benefit of about $30 million)

  • A once-off boost of $500 and bring forward the 2020-21 ‘Cost of Living Concession’ for households who are receiving the Centrelink JobSeeker Payment, assisting those who are unemployed or lose their jobs as a result of the coronavirus restrictions.
  • For eligible homeowners, their 2020-21 payment of $215.10 will now become $715.10. Eligible tenants will receive $607.60.

Access to accrued leave for public sector workforce

  • If a public servant has a family member who has lost their job and moved onto Commonwealth benefits, they will be able to receive their accrued leave down to a limit of 2 retained weeks (annual and long service leave)

For more information, and how to apply to the Funds, please email:

BusinessandJobsSupportFund@sa.gov.au;

CommunityandJobsSupportFund@sa.gov.au

$137 million Economic Survival Package

Business Liason Team

A business liaison phone line has been created to assist businesses understand the support available to them through the ACT Economic Survival Package and practical advice for businesses operating through changed arrangements due to COVID-19.

The number businesses can call is: 6205 0900

Canberra Business Advice and Support Service

Small businesses impacted by the recent extreme events in our community, including the recent bushfire and health emergencies, can now access the Canberra Business Advice and Support Service.

The service supports small businesses to address the impact of recent events on their business and provide one-on-one business management advice. Business owners can receive up to four hours of fully subsidised, tailored advice and access online business development resources.

You can make a booking with this service by calling 6297 3121. The office is located with the Canberra Business Chamber at Level 3, 243 Northbourne Ave, Canberra ACT.

Six month waiver of payroll tax

Hospitality (cafes, pubs, hotels, clubs and restaurants), creative arts and entertainment industries will receive a six-month waiver of payroll tax from March to August  2020.

Businesses will need to complete a simple online application form to confirm their eligibility by visiting the ACT Revenue Office website (available soon) at: www.revenue.act.gov.au

  • For those who lodge their payroll tax return monthly, the first waiver will be applied to the March payroll tax return, which is usually payable by 7 April.
  • For those who lodge their payroll tax return annually, the waiver will be applied to their account when their return is received at the end of the 2019-20 financial year.

Payroll tax deferral

All ACT businesses with Group Australia-wide wages of up to $10 million can defer their 2020-21 payroll tax, interest free until 1 July 2022. Businesses will need to complete a simple online application form (which will be available soon on the ACT Revenue Office website at: www.revenue.act.gov.au) to confirm their eligibility.

Eligible businesses will need to lodge their payroll tax returns as normal but will not be required to make the associated payment at the usual time. If the deferred amount is paid before 1 July 2022, no interest will be charged. Interest will be applied to any outstanding deferred amounts from 1 July 2022.

  • For those who lodge their payroll tax assessment monthly, deferral can commence for their July 2020 payroll tax liability, which is usually payable by 7 August.
  • For those who lodge their payroll tax assessment annually, they can defer payment of their full 2020-21 payroll tax liability, which is usually payable in July 2021.

Commercial general rates rebate

Commercial property owners with an Average Unimproved Value of $2 million or less on their property are eligible for a rebate on their commercial rates fixed charge.

Commercial rate payers will receive a credit of $2,622 (equivalent to the annual fixed charge) to their 2019-20 general rates, in quarter four. This will be applied automatically.

Where rate payers have paid in full or have a quarter bill less than the credit, they will be eligible for a refund. Businesses will need to complete a simple online application form (which will be available soon on the ACT Revenue Office website) to apply for a refund.

Commercial property owners will also not receive an increase on their 2020-21 Fire and Emergency Services Levy.

Food business registration, outdoor dining and liquor licensing fees

Licenced venues will receive a 12-month waiver of their food business registration and on-licence liquor licencing fees from 1 April 2020 and outdoor dining fees for 2020-2021 will be waived.

In cases where food business registration has been prepaid for more than one year in advance, an additional 12 months will be added to the license.

Businesses do not need to contact Access Canberra or the Health Protection Service for this waiver to occur. This support will be applied automatically as part of the normal annual fee licencing process.

This waiver does not apply to off-licence venues.

Vocational Education and Training - Skills

The ACT Government is providing support for the Vocational Education and Training Sector by increasing subsidies for apprenticeships and traineeships and other VET students to access nationally recognised training in areas linked to skills needs across a range of industries.

Subsidies are provided directly to Registered Training Organisation and skills Canberra will make these adjustments automatically.  No application is required.

Electricity rebates

Small business owners with electricity usage below 100 megawatts per year will see rebates of $750 automatically applied to their next electricity bill in around June or July 2020.

The rebate will apply regardless of whether customers are on standing or market offers.

You do not need to contact your electricity supplier as this will be automatically applied.

$420 million Tasmania Support & Stimulus Package

Interest Free Business Loans for Small Business

$20 million in loans to small businesses in the hospitality, tourism, seafood production, and exports sectors. The loans will be available to businesses with a turnover of less than $5 million to purchase equipment or restructuring business operations and will be interest free, for three years.  For more information on the $20 million Small Business Loans please contact Business Tasmania on 1800 440 026 or visit www.business.tas.gov.au/ coronavirus_information

Payroll Tax Waivers Reduction

Payroll tax liabilities will be waived for hospitality, tourism and seafood industry businesses for the last four months of 2019-20.

Other businesses with payrolls of up to $5 million will be able to apply, based on the impact of virus, to have their payroll tax waived for April to June 2020.

For more information on the youth employment scheme, payroll tax waiver please contact the State Revenue Office on (03) 6166 4400 or taxhelp@treasury.tas.gov.au or visit www.sro.tas.gov.au/payroll-taxcoronavirus_ information

Government Maintenance Program

$50 million allocated to fast track maintenance on public buildings over the next 12 months. This will provide an injection into local trades around the state and continue to support confidence in local communities.

Improving Small Business Cash Flows

To assist with small business cash flow, the Tasmanian Government will:

  • Pay bills sooner: unless otherwise required by contractual arrangements, payment terms by Government agencies will be reduced from 30 days to 14 days; and
  • Give small businesses more time to pay their bills: unless otherwise required by contractual arrangements, small businesses will be provided extended payment terms to Government from 30 days to 90 days.

Targeted Small Business Grants Program for Apprenticeships and Traineeships

The targeted Small Business Grants Program provides a $5,000 grant for businesses that hire an apprentice or trainee in the tourism, hospitality, building and construction, and manufacturing industries. Funding for this measure has been brought forward. For more information on the Targeted Small Business Grants Scheme please contact Skills Tasmania on 1800 655 846 or enquiries@skills.tas.gov.au or visit www.skills.tas.gov.au/

Youth Employment Scheme

The Scheme provides a payroll tax rebate for one year, to businesses that employ a young person aged 24 and under, between April and December 2020.

Human Resource and Industrial Relations Assistance

$80,000 will be provided to the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI) to provide Human Resources and Industrial Relations assistance associated with the coronavirus to businesses.

Liquor license fees reductions and waivers

A 50 per cent discount on liquor licencing fees and waive all application fees for the calendar year 2020, back dated to 1 January 2020.

The Tourism and Hospitality Training Fund

$100,000 will be provided to the Tourism Institute Council Tasmanian (TICT) and the Tasmanian Hospitality Association (THA) for training in the tourism and hospitality sectors over the winter months, to improve productivity and to be ready to bounce back when tourism returns to normal levels.

$65 million Jobs Rescue and Recovery

Business Improvement Grant - $20 million

All Territory businesses will be able to access a $10,000 grant, followed by an additional $10,000 grant if they contribute $10,000 of their own.

Each business is only eligible to receive one grant, and it can be used to complete one or two different jobs on their premises.

The grant can be used to purchase goods and services to make permanent physical improvements to a business (land and / or building) that help improve its efficiency and customer experience.

Registrations for businesses to provide services open 30 March 2020. Businesses can apply for a grant from 13 April 2020.

Read more on the Business Improvement Grant.

Immediate Work Grant - $5 million

Grants of up to $100,000 will be given to not-for-profit and community organisations to engage local businesses to do repairs, renovations and upgrades to their property and facilities.

The first $50,000 will be paid as a grant, and the NT Government will also match any renovation costs that exceed $50,000 on a dollar-for-dollar basis up to a maximum of $100,000 total.

Registrations for businesses to provide services open 30 March 2020. Grant applications open 20 April 2020.

Read more on the Immediate Work Grant.

Small Business Survival Fund - $50 million

Announced on 23 March 2020, the fund will deliver grants to help keep businesses alive, even when they have to shut.

An advisory board of business leaders will oversee the fund, chaired by Dick Guit.

We will release more detail on the fund in coming days.

Tourism

Supporting our local tourism, hospitality and retail operators by encouraging Territorians to get out and explore their own backyard, with a dedicated intra-Territory campaign rolled out via local media channels.

Boosted investment into marketing to encourage drive tourism as an opportunity to help disperse visitors through the Territory over the coming months. Motivating Australian’s to take a self-drive trip is a great way to experience our destination.

Handbrake on government fees and charges

All regular increases to government fees and charges, including electricity costs, will be put on hold. This means that fees and charges which are normally increased annually or regularly will not be.

Payroll tax exemption

The payroll tax exemption for hiring Territory employees has been extended to 30 June 2021.

For more information on eligibility for employers, go to the Department of Treasury and Finance website.

Infrastructure

A fast-tracked infrastructure program is being delivered and further opportunities to bring projects forward are also being explored.

Government procurement and grants

All agencies have been directed to be responsive and flexible to requests including the fast tracking of procurement decisions wherever possible.

Organisations that receive government grants will be offered flexibility in the delivery of agreed key performance indicators where the ability to meet these is impacted COVID-19.

Additionally, organisations that have received grants or sponsorships from the NT Government for events which have been cancelled or postponed will not be asked to repay the funding if it has already been committed.

Support for workers

The NT Government is supporting Territory workers impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19) to connect with local businesses and find new employment.

The Territory Jobs Hub is an online portal that will help Territory workers find a new job quickly.

The portal will also help businesses that need people to connect with those looking for work, this includes casual and contract work.

For more information on the Territory Jobs Hub, go to the Northern Territory Government website.

Direct support for business

Free and practical business advice for businesses available through the Business Enterprise Centre on 1800 229 500.

The NT Government has a range of programs that support local businesses. The Department of Trade, Business and Innovation’s Small Business Champions team are on the ground to meet with businesses and provide support as required.

If you would like a small business champion to get in touch, phone 1800 193 111.

Home Improvement Scheme - $30 million

The scheme will help fast track around 5,000 screwdriver-ready projects in Territory homes. This means that projects are physical improvements to land and / or buildings, and repairs and maintenance services.

The scheme operates on a voucher system, with homeowners receiving either:

  • a voucher worth $4,000 if they contribute at least $1,000 of their own money, or
  • a voucher worth $6,000 if they contribute at least $2,000 of their own money.

Registrations for businesses to provide services open 30 March 2020. Applications for homeowners open 6 April 2020.

Read more on the Home Improvement Scheme.

The SDA, the National Retail Association (NRA) and the Shopping Centre Council of Australia have come together to call on all Australians to treat retail workers with respect while they continue to serve and ensure the community can access essential goods and services such as food and groceries.

The outbreak of COVID-19 caused a rush of shoppers trying secure essential items like toilet paper, pasta, rice and non-perishables. This has led to product moving faster than it can be restocked, and empty shelves. Because of shortages, unit limits, and growing concern, some customers are reacting aggressively.

“Customers must treat retail workers with the respect they deserve, even if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by things” - Dominique Lamb, CEO

A procedure should be in place for when and how to contact management or supervisors for assistance with an aggressive customer. If the matter escalates then the relevant security service used by the employer (if any) should be contacted. If a conflict occurs between customers that is escalating towards a physical confrontation then the police should be contacted. If an employer is selling a product that is in particularly high demand then it may be useful to develop a guidance script for employees to assist them with explaining to the customer the reasons behind the policy and why it is occurring.

Employers should consider supporting employees who have been subject to verbal or physical abuse through an employee assistance program that provides access to counselling services.

angry-customers-01-1024x313

I NEED HELP WITH MY MENTAL HEALTH

Dealing with the emotional fallout of lock down scenarios, having to make staff redundant and concerns about the future of your business is not something you have to do alone.

 

The National Retail Association is a strong advocate for retailers looking after their, and their employees, mental health. Please find following a variety of resources for you to utilise if you need assistance. And, as per our CEO's statement below, feel free to contact us for more information.

We are acutely aware as to how tough it is out there and we remind you to make sure you are looking after each other and yourselves where possible. In times like these, maintaining your mental health is incredibly important. If there is anything we can do, if you need to speak to someone, please do not hesitate to contact us – we are always here for you and your business rain, hail or shine.  We are in this together.

Dominique Lamb, CEO of the National Retail Association

Learn how to develop resilience to stressful situations, reduce your demands and increase your resources to help you manage the stressors in your life. ThisWayUp.org.au are offering free access to all their courses until 30 April, 2020.

 

Complete the Coping with Stress Course HERE.

Learn more about coping with anxiety during the COVID-19 outbreak HERE.

 

Stay safe and well, everyone.

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