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News & Media

Support for Businesses and Households impacted by COVID-19 - Updated 27 March 2020

Thu 26 Mar 2020

Friday 27 March 2020 - 03:43pm

SUPPORTING SOLE TRADERS THROUGH THE EFFECTS OF CORONAVIRUS

The Morrison Government is expanding the eligibility criteria for JobSeeker Payment to support sole traders and Australians who are self-employed if their income is negatively affected by the economic impact of the Coronavirus.

Under temporary changes to social security rules, sole traders will be encouraged to keep their business operating but may be able to access income support should their earnings take a significant hit.

Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said the changes mean that sole traders who were now eligible for JobSeeker or Youth Allowance (other) would also receive the $550 fortnightly Coronavirus supplement.

“The Government is absolutely committed to supporting all Australians get through the coming months so we can all bounce back stronger than ever,” Minister Ruston said.

“These rules are designed to make sure sole traders can access income support if they find their income significantly reduced through no fault of their own.”

Previously to determine if a self-employed person was unemployed for the purpose of accessing social security payments they had to be genuinely willing to seek and be available to take up alternative work effectively requiring their business to close.If someone remained committed to continuing with their business then they were not considered unemployed and could not access payments.

This test has been temporarily removed to allow sole traders to continue operating. Income testing will apply consistent with current arrangements which allows individuals to earn more than $1000 per fortnight before losing access to payment.

Under the temporary arrangements a range of JobSeeker Payment eligibility criteria has been relaxed including waiving the assets test, liquid assets waiting period, seasonal work preclusion period and newly arrived residents’ waiting period.

Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Michaelia Cash said in line with the changes sole traders would be able to use work in their own business to meet their mutual obligations.

“We are making sure that sole traders have maximum flexibility to maintain cash flow in these extraordinary circumstances,” Minister Cash said.


Wednesday 25 March 2020 - 10:30pm

TIGHTER SOCIAL DISTANCING MEASURES ENACTED

The Australian Government has commenced sending text messages to keep you informed about the national response to COVID-19.

Last night 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.

Please act on that advice, it will help save lives.

For more information please go to the Prime Minister’s Media Statement: 

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: 

For school closures (government and non-government) please refer to state and territory education authorities that can be found here: 

For more information on Coronavirus and the Government’s response, please visit: 

Alternatively you can contact the business.gov.au support line at 13 28 46.


ADDITIONAL PROHIBITED ACTIVITES AND VENUES TO APPLY FROM 11:59PM (25 MARCH 2020)

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

Up to 30-minute appointments and 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 10 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.




Tuesday 24 March 2020 - 07:27pm

QUICK LINKS TO GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES AND HOUSEHOLDS IMPACTED BY COVID-19

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

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


Small or medium business with reduced cash flow?

This assistance will assist businesses to manage cashflow challenges and help businesses retain their employees. These two measures are designed to support employing small and medium sized businesses and to improve business confidence. The Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure also supports the activities of not-for-profits (including charities) at a time where they are facing increased demand for services. The wage subsidy for apprentices and trainees will help to ensure the continued development of the skilled workforce. 

  • Click here for more information on how to boost your cash flow. (Cash flow assistance for Businesses form)


Is your business financially distressed?

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.

  • Click here for more information on business support. (Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses factsheet)


Assisting the economic recovery

The Government is backing businesses to invest to help the economy withstand and recover from the economic impact of Coronavirus. The two business investment measures in this package are designed to assist Australian businesses and economic growth in the short-term, and encourage a stronger economic recovery following the Coronavirus outbreak.

  • Click here for more information on business support for growth (Delivering support for business investment factsheet)


Employ an apprentice or trainee?

This assistance will assist businesses to manage cashflow challenges and help businesses retain their employees. These two measures are designed to support employing small and medium sized businesses and to improve business confidence. The Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure also supports the activities of not-for-profits (including charities) at a time where they are facing increased demand for services. The wage subsidy for apprentices and trainees will help to ensure the continued development of the skilled workforce.

  • Click here for more information on employing an apprentice or trainee (Cash flow assistance for business factsheet)


Are you a sole trader that has lost business?

The Government is temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments and establishing a new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight. This supplement will be paid to both existing and new recipients of the eligible payment categories. These changes will apply for the next six months.  

  • Click here for more information on support for you and your business (Income support for individuals factsheet)


Household finances hit by reduced work?

The Government is temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments and establishing a new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight. This supplement will be paid to both existing and new recipients of the eligible payment categories. These changes will apply for the next six months. 

  • Click here for more information on support for your family budget (Income support for individuals factsheet)



Payments to support households.

These payments will provide assistance to lower income Australians, including pensioners, other social security and veteran income support recipients and eligible concession card holders.  

  • Click here for more information on payments to support households. (payments to support households factsheet)



For more information on Coronavirus and the Government’s response, please visit: 

  • Click here to visit Treasury website - Support for Businesses 
  • Click here to visit Treasury Website - Supporting Individuals and Households
  • Click here to visit Treasury website - Supporting the Flow of Credit
  • Click here to visit Treasury Website - Coronavirus Small Medium Enterprise Guarantee Scheme
  • Click here to visit Treasury Website - Governments Economic Response to the Coronavirus

  • Click here to visit the Australian Government website



Monday 23 March 2020 - 12:25pm

HELPLINE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES IMPACTED BY COVID-19

From today, the Morrison Government’s Business Hotline - 13 28 46 - will be expanded to provide specialist advisers and extended hours to support small and medium businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Operations at the www.business.gov.au 13 28 46 Contact Centre will increase from five days per week to seven days per week, and provide an additional two hours a day of support outside standard operating hours for the first month, answering calls from 7.00 am to 11.00pm AEST.

The Government is rolling out comprehensive, targeted assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and we want businesses who are looking for information to be supported.  

During these challenging times businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 need readily available access to advice so they can fully understand the assistance available to them and their employees.

To read the media release on the helpline, click here.

For more information on the assistance available to businesses please go to www.business.gov.au.

Please also go to https://www.australia.gov.au .  This site will link you to the latest COVID-19 news, updates and advice from Australian Government Agencies.



Sunday 22 March 2020 - 02:22pm

FACT SHEETS ON FURTHER ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE TO BUSINESSES - ASSISTANCE TO SOLE TRADERS

Today the Government has announced a second set of economic responses which, combined with our previous actions, total $189 billion across the forward estimates, representing 9.7 per cent of annual GDP.

To find out more, please go to www.australia.gov.au

These fact sheets have been updated following today’s further announcements.

The Morrison Government also recognises a significant number of sole traders and Australians who are self-employed have had their income reduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Government has announced an expansion to the eligibility to the Job Seeker Payment to support sole traders and the self-employed.

To view the media release in full, please click here.

The Government is also allowing sole traders who have seen their hours of work or income fall 20% or more as a result of COVID-19 to access their superannuation capped at $10,000 this financial year and a further $10,000 next financial year. The withdrawals will be tax free.

Please also go to https://www.australia.gov.au to view all the latest COVID-19 news, updates and advice from Australian Government Agencies.



Sunday 22 March 2020 - 10:37am

FURTHER UPDATE ON ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE TO BUSINESSES

Further updates below have been announced on the assistance for businesses as a result of the impacts of COVID-19.

Summary - The Government will today announce a second stage of measures to keep businesses in business and to keep workers in jobs.

This stage of measures is squarely focused on getting businesses and their workers through to the other side of this crisis.

The measures include:

    • A wage subsidy for small and medium businesses to save jobs; and
    • A guarantee on loans to small and medium businesses so they can keep in business.

1. Support to Keep Australians in Jobs

Businesses will receive a cash payment of up to $100,000 for the period March 2020 to September 2020.

That payment 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.

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

How the Payment Works

Eligible businesses that withhold tax to the ATO on their employees’ salary and wages – they report it each month or quarter anyway - will receive a payment equal to 100 per cent of the amount withheld, up to a maximum payment of $100,000.

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

In the first package the Government announced the cash payment would be 50% of tax withheld worth up to $25,000 in payments or a minimum of $2,000.

This announcement builds on the cash flow boost from the first package worth $6.7 billion.  This new measure is worth $25.2 billion so in total it’s worth $31.9 billion.

The Government expects it will benefit around 690,000 businesses employing around 7.8 million people and 30,000 not-for-profits.

The Government estimates that businesses employ:

  • NSW – Around 2.5 million people
  • Vic – Around 2 million people
  • Qld – Around 1.5 million people
  • WA – Around 810,000 people
  • SA – Around 480,000 people
  • TAS – Around 155,000 people
  • NT – Around 63,000 people
  • ACT – Around 115,000 people

2. Supporting Small Business to Get to the Other Side With Loans

The Government has announced a new Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme to support small and medium business with a turnover less than $50 million.

This measure complements the $8 billion worth of measures the banks announced this week to defer repayments for 6 months for small and medium businesses battling the impacts of coronavirus.

The Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme will be able to be accessed by eligible banks and non-bank lenders.

  • 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.
  • The Scheme will apply to new or existing customers of banks and non-bank lenders.
  • Lenders will not be charged a fee for accessing the Scheme.
  • It will be repayment free for 6 months.
  • The maximum loan will be $250,000 for a term up to 3 years.
  • It will not apply to re-financing of existing customers. Those already have existing loans that will benefit from the ABA announcement.
  • Through this measure, the Government is offering to guarantee $20 billion.

The Australian banking sector announced on 19 March 2020 significant measures – that many individual banks went further than – to support existing loans. Click here for more info.

Today’s announcement also follows the announcement by the Government on 19 March 2020, together with the Reserve Bank, to inject more than $100 billion into the Australia’s financial system. 

Click on the links below: 


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