Information on Government assistance for businesses facing Coronavirus.

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Government Support & Coronavirus


All levels of Governnment are making regular annoucements regarding financial support, relief and general advice and support to assist business survival during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Queensland Government have established a dedicated website - www.covid19.qld.gov.au - which regularly updates new information about the constantly evolving COVID-19 health emergency. This is a single dedicated resource with links to all of the pertinent health and government websites. 

As of late May 2020, the State Government has now announced an Economic Recovery Strategy: Unite & Recover for Queensland Jobs - an overview of which is available here. The initiative has three stages:

Fact sheets about further economic relief that has now been made available for small businesses and for regional businesses are also available. 

A full list of current grants and funding opportunities available under the State Government's economic recovery plan, along with eligibility criteria and application information, is available via Business Queensland here

For information about stimulus and relief packages, click through below: 

See Federal Government 

See State Government

See Local Government 


Federal Government Stimulus

This information is a summary of programs provided by the Federal Government on the Treasury website - https://treasury.gov.au/

Download TQ's Federal Government Stimulus Fact Sheet

JobKeeper Payment

 
Step 1: Determine if your business is eligible in April or in the April quarter.
 
Step 2: If yes, download the JobKeeper employee nomination notice and provide to employees to complete. 
 
Step 3:  Enrol in the scheme using the ATO Business Portal and your myGovID. 
 
Step 4: By 26 April collect the completed JobKeeper employee nomination notices from your employees. From 4 May you will need to confirm the identity of your eligible employees.
 
Step 5: Make a business monthly declaration using the ATO Business Portal.  The first payments should reach businesses by 14 May and will cover the first two ‘jobkeeper fortnights’ which commenced from 30 March.
  • Jobkeeper allowance is a $1500 fortnightly payment per employee. There is no superannuation guarantee payment on this amount.
  • Will be facilitated via the ATO and money will be paid to employers from today. Businesses can register interest here https://www.ato.gov.au/general/gen/JobKeeper-payment/.  
  • Applies for workers who were on the books from 1 March 2020, including any staff who have been stood down from 1 March 2020.
  • Businesses’ turnovers will need to have fallen by 30 per cent or more to be eligible for the payment.
  • It will be available to full-time and part-time workers, sole traders, and casuals who have been with their employer for more than 12 months.  New Zealanders and other nationalities on appropriate visas (444) are eligible.
  • This is 75 per cent of the median wage and will be a flat rate. This is a wage “subsidy” i.e. employers can add to this payment to pay normal wage. Uniquely Australian in that no one person will receive more than another from the government - “we are all in this together”.
  • The Prime Minister also announced changes to the income test for people on the Jobseeker payment, meaning their partners could earn almost $80,000 a year before they were ineligible for the payment.
  • For more information see this Treasury summary fact sheet , this fact sheet providing more information about the payment for employers and this fact sheet providing an overview of frequently asked questions (updated 14 April 2020)
  • These are the steps to take now to ensure you receive the JobKeeper payment for April.

Boosting Cashflow for Employers

  • The Government has enhanced the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure it announced on 12 March 2020. This cash flow boost provides a tax-free payment to employers and is automatically calculated by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). There are no new forms required.
  • 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.
  • If you employ workers and have an aggregated annual turnover under $50 million you will be eligible.
  • For more details on eligibility and timings of the payments see this Treasury fact sheet.

Supporting Apprentices and Trainees

  • Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage paid during the 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.
  • Employers will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee ($7,000 per quarter).
  • The subsidy will be available to small businesses employing fewer than 20 full-time employees who retain an apprentice or trainee. The apprentice or trainee must have been in training with a small business as at 1 March 2020.
  • Employers can register for the subsidy from early April 2020. Final claims for payment must be lodged by 31 December 2020.
  • For further information on how to apply for the subsidy, including information on eligibility, contact an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider.

Temporary Relief for Distressed Businesses

  • A temporary increase in 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.
  • A temporary increase in the threshold for a creditor to initiate bankruptcy proceedings, an increase in the time period for debtors to respond to a bankruptcy notice, and extending the period of protection a debtor receives after making a declaration of intention to present a debtor’s petition.
  • Temporary relief for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent.
  • Providing temporary flexibility in the Corporations Act 2001 to provide targeted relief for companies from provisions of the Act to deal with unforeseen events that arise as a result of the Coronavirus health crisis.
  • For owners or directors of a business that are currently struggling due to the Coronavirus, the ATO will tailor solutions for their circumstances, including temporary reduction of payments or deferrals, or withholding enforcement actions including Director Penalty Notices and wind-ups.
  • For more information see this Treasury fact sheet.

Increasing the Instant Asset Write Off

  • The instant asset write-off threshold is increased $30,000 to $150,000 and expands access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million) until 30 June 2020.
  • This proposal applies from announcement until 30 June 2020, for new or second-hand assets first used or installed ready for use in this timeframe.
  • For more information see this Treasury fact sheet.

Backing Business Investment (Accelerated Depreciation Deductions)

  • This is a time limited 15-month investment incentive to support business investment and economic growth over the short-term, by accelerating depreciation deductions.
  • Deduction of 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.
  • Eligible businesses are those with aggregated turnover below $500 million.
  • Eligible assets are new assets that can be depreciated under Division 40 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (i.e. plant, equipment and specified intangible assets, such as patents) acquired after announcement and first used or installed by 30 June 2021. Does not apply to second-hand Division 40 assets, or buildings and other capital works depreciable under Division 43.
  • For more information see this Treasury fact sheet.

Supporting the Flow of Credit – Coronavirus SME Guarantee

  • 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.

Quick and efficient access to credit for small business

  • Temporary exemption from responsible lending obligations for lenders providing credit to existing small business customers to help get access to credit quickly and efficiently.
  • For more information see this Treasury fact sheet.

“Coronavirus Supplement” income support for individuals

  • A $550 per fortnight for the next 6 months for both existing and new recipients of JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance Jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.
  • New applicants are encouraged to claim through on-line and mobile channels – find these here.
  • An increase of up to 5,000 staff for Services Australia has also been announced to assist with increased applicants – more detailed information here.

Income support for households

  • Two $750 payments per person (i.e. $1500 in total)– first payment 31 March and second payment on 13 July to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders.
  • The first payment will be made from 31 March 2020 and the second payment will be made from 13 July 2020. The second payment will not be made to those eligible for the Coronavirus supplement.
  • For more information see this Treasury fact sheet.

Early access to superannuation and social security measures for retirees

  • The government has also announced a limited expansion of arrangements under which people can make withdrawals from their superannuation.
  • The Government is also reducing the deeming rates by a further 0.25 percentage points to reflect the latest rate reductions by the RBA and allowing retirees to reduce superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products by 50 per cent for 2019-20 and 2020-21.
  • More detailed information about early access to super here.
  • More detailed information about support for retirees to manage market volatility here.

To access detailed information about the Australian Government’s support visit: https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus


State Government Stimulus

This information is a summary of programs provided by the State Government on the Business Queensland website -  https://www.business.qld.gov.au/You can download the Queensland Business Support Fact Sheet here.

The Queensland Government have also launched a COVID-19 Agriculture Support landing page. From here you are able to navigate to relevant information regarding COVID-19 Financial and Wellbeing Support, Impacts on Qld’s Agriculture Workforce, and COVID-19 and Animals. 

Download TQ's State & Local Government Stimulus Fact Sheet

Payroll Tax Refund and Holiday

The Queensland Government has announced if you are an employer (or part of a group of employers) who pays $6.5 million or less in Australian taxable wages you will receive:

  • refunds of payroll tax for 2 months
  • a payroll tax holiday for 3 months
  • deferral of paying payroll tax for the 2020 calendar year.

If you are an employer (or part of a group of employers) who pays more than $6.5 million you can apply for a:

  • deferral of payroll tax for the 2020 calendar year (if you have already applied for a deferral, you do not need not reapply – it will be extended.)
  • refund of your payroll tax for 2 months.

See here for more information and to apply for the deferral, refund and holiday.

Small Business Loans

  • The Government also announced a $500 million concessional loan facility that will include low interest loans of up to $250,000 for carry on finance with an initial 12-month interest free period for businesses to retain staff.
  • Register your interest through the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority or phone 1800 623 946.

Small and Medium Business Power Bill Relief

  • Small and medium businesses may be eligible for a $500 rebate off energy bills.
  • Businesses who consume less than 100,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) will receive the rebate. This will be automatically applied on your business electricity bills.

Market Diversification and Resilience Grants Program

  • Grants to support agriculture, food, fishing and forestry product exporters, their critical supply chain partners and industry organisations to build resilience by diversifying into new markets.
  • More detailed information is available here.

Support for Landlords and Tennants

  • The Queensland Government has committed over $400 million to support commercial and residential landlords and tenants
  • Eligible landowners can apply for up to three months waiver and three months deferral of land tax if either of the following circumstances apply.

    1. You are a landowner who leases all or part of a property to one or more tenants and all the following apply:

    2. You are a landowner and all the following apply:

    • the ability of one or more tenants to pay their normal rent is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic;
    • you will provide rent relief to the affected tenant(s) of an amount at least commensurate with the land tax relief; and
    • you will comply with the leasing principles even if the relevant lease is not regulated.
    • all or part of your property is available for lease;
    • your ability to secure a tenant(s) has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic;
    • you require relief to meet your financial obligations; and
    • you will comply with the leasing principles even if the relevant lease is not regulated.
    •  
  • Land tax relief applications will be managed by the Office of State Revenue. Applications will open from Tuesday 14 April on qld.gov.au/landtax
  • Any land tax relief provided to commercial landlords must be passed onto eligible tenants.
  • The State Government is providing a range of support packages to businesses affected by COVID-19. These should be considered alongside support being provided by the Federal Government and private sector service providers including banks and utility companies.
  • Commercial tenants can complete the Business Impact Survey found on business.qld.gov.au to be linked with further support.

The Queensland Government have launched a new online rental hub has information and resources to help tenants, property owners and agents negotiate new arrangements if the tenants are financially impacted by COVID-19. Visit the hub at https://www.covid19.qld.gov.au/the-hub  

Other Programs

The Queensland Government is, in addition, ensuring that a range of existing programs will be administered in ways that extend support to businesses. See here for further details.

This information, as well as potential further support measures, will be updated regularly by the Queensland Government: https://www.qld.gov.au/about/industry-recovery/business-and-industry-support

Workforce Availability

COVID-19 may impact your ability to source workers. While there may still be numerous overseas workers available, significant disruption to seasonal worker numbers could occur in various regions. See the Queensland Government's workforce availability fact sheet for advice on how to source workers if your normal channels don't work.


Local Government Assistance

Some councils are offering their own financial assistance packages, check your local council website for more information

Fraser Coast Regional Council - https://www.frasercoast.qld.gov.au/coronavirus-support-for-businesses

Gympie Regional Council - https://www.gympie.qld.gov.au/covid19

Western Downs Regional Council - https://www.wdrc.qld.gov.au/coronavirus-covid-19/

Southern Downs Regional Council - https://www.sdrc.qld.gov.au/council/disaster-management/coronavirus-covid-19-information

See here to find your local council website