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Business guide to Coronavirus

Latest relief and Government response

Here you will find the latest on government initiatives and relief packages for businesses in relation to Coronavirus (COVID-19). We've also put together a guide to government support containing important links to help you. 

Last updated: 12 October 2021

National updates for Government initiatives

COVID-19 Disaster Payment – Changes to the eligibility rules. Employees may not need to meet any liquid assets rule as part of the eligibility criteria to claim payments. Read general eligibility rules

JobMaker – JobMaker Hiring Credit is aimed at supporting employers to create new jobs and employ additional people between the ages of 16 and 35. Eligible employers can access the scheme when hiring new employees between 7 October 2020 and 6 October 2021.

The first claim period for JobMaker ends on 30 April 2021. You must claim by this date to receive the hiring credit for this period. For more information, visit the ATOs website

Modern manufacturing strategy – As part of the JobMaker Plan, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced funding of approximately $1.5 billion over the next four years to create jobs and recover from COVID-19 with the Modern Manufacturing Strategy.

SME guarantee scheme – The federal government’s Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme is supporting up to $40 billion of lending to SMEs. Under the scheme, the government will provide a guarantee of 50% to new loans issued by participating lenders to SMEs. Businesses will be able to access cheaper funding with lenders able to offer lower interest rates. Phase 2 of the Scheme will be available for loans made until 30 June 2021.

Consumer travel support – The COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program provides a one-off grant between $1,500 and $100,000 to help travel agents and tour arrangement service providers. To be eligible, a business needs to have an annual GST turnover of $50,000 to $20 million in the 2019 calendar year. The support helps businesses to continue to trade and pay refunds and offer credits to customers unable to travel due to COVID-19. Businesses have until 13 March 2021 to claim or until funds run out.

Temporary full expensing – Until 30 June 2022, businesses with a turnover of less than $5 billion may be eligible for temporary full expensing – allowing businesses to deduct the full cost of depreciable assets of any value in the year they are first used or installed. Eligibility criteria and exclusions vary – seek financial advice before making a decision.

Apprentices and trainees – The Morrison government announced it would invest an additional $1.2 billion to support Australian businesses to employ 100,000 new apprentices or trainees. Businesses who take on a new apprentice would be eligible for a 50% wage subsidy, regardless of geographic location, occupation, industry or business size.

National transport infrastructure – To help boost the national economy and create thousands of jobs as part of the economic recovery plan, the federal government announced a $7.5 billion new investment in the national transport infrastructure. Key investments will apply to all states and territories.

HomeBuilder – Applications for HomeBuilder closed at midnight, Wednesday 14 April 2021. Read more here.

Jobkeeper – JobKeeper ended on 28 March 2021. Read more here

Pandemic leave – Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment was extended to Queensland and South Australia on 23 October 2020. This provides financial support of a $1,500 lump sum to anyone who can’t earn an income because they need to self-isolate, quarantine or care for someone with COVID-19 and all leave entitlements are used up.

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ACT

Commercial tenancy relief – Applications for commercial tenancy relief can be made until 31 March 2021 for the period of 1 April 2020 to 31 January 2021.

Electricity rebate – Cafes, restaurants and takeaways can apply for a $1,000 rebate on electricity bills up until 30 June 2021. 

Payroll tax – Payroll tax exemptions and case-by-case waivers will be available until 30 June 2021 for businesses that can only operate on a limited basis. Eligible businesses with Australia wide wages of $10 million may defer their 2020-21 payroll tax, interest-free until 1 July 2022. 

March 2020 rental relief – ACT Government expected to announce rental assistance package: The decision was meant to be unveiled on Tuesday, however, it was delayed and is expected to be made today. Click here for more details.

March 2020 rate rebates – The ACT government has announced rates rebates, suspended fees and direct funding for arts and entertainment businesses, with a focus on sectors most likely to be affected by the Coronavirus. Click here to see how this impacts your business.

SA

Business Support Grant – South Australian government announces a $100 million support package for businesses that have significant loss of income due to the state's (July 2021) lockdown, with cash grants for eligible small and medium businesses and sole traders. Register your interest here

Tenant relief – Regulations introduced to protect tenants in retail and commercial properties ended on 3 January 2021. For unresolved disputes, prior to 4 January 2021, refer to the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020 (Act) and COVID-19 Emergency Response (Commercial Leases No 2) Regulations 2020.

Land tax relief – Applications for land tax relief have been extended to 30 April 2021. Relief only applies to landlords on the basis of rent relief being provided to tenants impacted by COVID-19. 

April 2020 rent relief – Proposed Coronavirus law to protect South Australian renters. Commercial and residential rent increases would be banned for six months. No action would be taken if a commercial tenant failed to pay rent or outgoings, or if a business did not open in the hours specified in a lease. Click here for more details.

April 2020 payroll tax – SA businesses whose employees qualify for the JobKeeper support payments will be exempt from paying any payroll tax on the wage subsidy. For further details, click here.

March 2020 rescue package – SA Government announced $650 million rescue package: The package is aimed at saving South Australian jobs and supporting key industries. Premier Steven Marshall indicated the money is likely to be directed towards supporting local businesses. Click here to find out more.

March 2020 stimulus package – The SA Government are fast-tracking the support of local jobs and businesses, with a $350 million stimulus package aimed at safeguarding the economy and protecting jobs. Click here to understand more.

NT

Payroll tax – The Northern Territory has extended payroll tax deferral until 21 July 2021 and payroll tax waivers are available for the period March 2020 to June 2021. Read more.

Business hardship – Business Hardship Package provides support for businesses that have experienced a 30% loss as a result of COVID-19. An eligible business receives a certificate that allows concessions on power and water bills, payroll tax, rent and rate. The package has been extended until 1 July 2021. 

April 2020 rescue package – NT Government announces $180 million Coronavirus rescue package. The initiative is aimed to keep Territorians in a job and help businesses stay afloat for the next six months. For further details, click here.

April 2020 small business survival package – NT Government set for an economic boost of $1 billion to buy time to keep its citizens healthy and in jobs, and businesses alive until the Coronavirus pandemic passes. The $50 million Small Business Survival Fund has received applications for grants from more than 260 local businesses and would start delivering its first payments this week. Click here to read more.

TAS

Small business advice – The Small Business Advice for Recovery Program allows funding of $750 towards using a consultant to provide business recovery advice. Applications close 22 February 2021. 

March 2020 payroll tax – The Tasmanian Government is supporting local businesses through waiving payroll tax, assisting with grants and backing Tasmania's tourism industry. To learn more about this, click here.

nsw

Economic Recovery Strategy – SME Summer Holiday Stock Guarantee allows eligible businesses to apply for up to $20,000 for loss of perishable stock, or claim $10,000 for reduced capacity to sell non-perishable items, in the event of a lockdown.  Small Business Fees and Charges Rebate is being increased to $2,000 and expanded to include tolls. Read more.

COVID-19 business support –  Financial support to businesses impacted by the recent COVID-19 restrictions and stay-at-home orders. If your business or not-for-profit organisation has been impacted, you may be eligible to apply from 19 July 2021. Learn more here – check eligibility and apply online. 

Business financial support  Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian have announced a joint financial support package for businesses that can demonstrate a 30% decline in turnover. There are a number of additional funding boosts.  Read more here

Eligibility updates: COVID-19 Disaster Payment – Employees may not need to meet any liquid assets rule to be eligible to claim payment for the period from 8 July for parts of Sydney and from 11 July for Greater Sydney. Read more on NSW eligibility criteria and general eligibility criteria.

COVID-19 Disaster Payment – Claims for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment can now be made by eligible businesses in declared hotspot areas of Greater Sydney, Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong. Read the media release

NSW small business support package  New South Wales Government will be providing individual payments to eligible small businesses with full-time employees and sole traders. This payment will be available to tourism, hospitality and the accommodation sector. Read more here.

Covid-19 financial support – The COVID-19 Disaster Payment will be available on 1 July 2021 for eligible people in a Commonwealth-declared COVID-19 hotspot in Sydney.

Land tax concessions – Until 30 April 2021, commercial landlords can apply for land tax concessions of up to 25% if rent reduction is provided to tenants. If you own or represent a commercial property, your tenants may be eligible to negotiate rent and other terms of their lease until 28 March 2021.

Payroll tax relief – As part of the economic stimulus package, the NSW Government has announced payroll tax relief measures. Land tax support is also available for

Rescue and restart – A $50 million Rescue and Restart package was announced for NSW arts and cultural organisations to help support the arts industry. 

Rent relief – NSW Government has announced $440 million in relief for renters and landlords affected by Government-enforced Coronavirus restrictions. $220 million is allocated to shops, gyms, hairdressers and other businesses affected by COVID-19. For further details, click here.

Small business grants – NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Minister for Finance and Small Business Damien Tudehope have announced that eligible small businesses across Australia will be receiving $10,000 in grants. Click here

March 2020 stimulus package – NSW Government to unveil $750 million stimulus package: The package is aimed at retaining and creating jobs as well as sustaining NSW businesses. The money will contribute to employing 1,000 extra staff for Service NSW, energy accounts assistance, additional tax relief and deferred rental payments for small commercial business and money allocated to charities and Lifeline. Click here to read more.

VIC

July 2021 Top-Up Payment – additional cash support for successful recipients of the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 and Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two. Read more here

Commercial tenancy relief – The Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme has been extended to 28 March 2021 to further support tenants seeking rent relief. The government is also extending land tax relief for commercial or industrial landlords. The closing date for 2020 land tax relief applications is 31 March 2021.

Defer payroll tax – Businesses with payroll up to $10m may be able to defer payroll tax for the 2020-21 financial year until the end of the 2021-22 financial year. 

March 2020 hospitality support – The VIC Government is working on a support package for hospitality businesses. This comes after the Governments ban on gatherings of 100 people or more, meaning some businesses are no longer viable to remain open. Find the latest on the government initiatives here.

WA

Stimulus package – The state government has announced a $43 million stimulus package for small businesses impacted by the five-day lockdown. As part of the relief, rental payments in state government-owned buildings will be waived for six months. Separate to this package, the state government has extended the commercial tenancy relief to 28 March 2021.

Payroll tax – Payroll tax exemption will continue to be available until 28 March 2021 to WA businesses under the JobKeeper Payment scheme. 

March 2020 relief package – WA Government has announced new relief package: The McGowan Government unveiled support for power and water bills, ensuring that no household or small to medium business will have their water or power shut off. Interest-free repayment plans will be made available under the scheme and there will be no late payment penalties for other government charges. Read more.

March 2020 financial support – The WA Government has extended financial support for small and medium businesses with public sector workers including casuals accessing 20 days of Covid-19 leave. Learn more about this here.

qld

Land tax relief – Landlords who provide rent relief to tenants may be eligible for land tax relief for the 2020-21 year. Applications close 26 February 2021.

Commercial rent relief – The extension period of commercial rent relief ended on 31 December 2020 however commercial tenants and landlords can continue to access dispute assistance until 30 April 2021. 

March 2020 stimulus package – The QLD Government announced a new $4 billion package in response to the crisis. Extending tax breaks for small to medium-sized businesses in a move to prevent significant job losses. For in-depth info on the package, click here.

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Previous updates for Government initiatives

October 2020 – A pandemic leave disaster payment will be made available to most Australians if they meet the eligibility criteria. Click here for more details. 

July 2020 The JobKeeper wage subsidy will be reduced to $1,200 per fortnight for full-time employees and $750 per fortnight for part-time employees from October. Click here for more details. 

July 2020 – The JobKeeper wage subsidy will be extended until March 2021, however, the Federal Government has confirmed the value of the payment from the first week of October 2020. Click here for more. 

July 2020 – Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has announced an extension of the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme: The next phase will help businesses move out of hibernation, successfully adapt to the new COVID-safe economy and invest for the future. Click here for more. 

July 2020 – Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a new JobTrainer program for school leavers who are struggling to find work during the COVID-19 crisis. The billion-dollar scheme will be partly funded by the Federal Government, while the remainder will be split between states and territories that sign up. To read more, click here.  

April 2020 – Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced new rental waivers and deferrals for commercial tents hit by the impact of the Coronavirus crisis. Commercial landlords are legally required to engage with tenants who meet the criteria about rental arrangements. For further details, click here.

April 2020 – Australia Government announced measures to help secure freight access for Australian exporters: A $110 million initiative will back Australia’s agricultural and fisheries sector by helping them export their high-quality produce into key overseas markets. Also, funding for the Export Market Development Grant will increase by $49.8 million. To read more, click here.

March 2020 – Government unveils Coronavirus wage subsidy for businesses workers: Businesses are expected to be paid a wage subsidy of $1,500 per employee, under the Federal Government Jobkeeper payment plan to keep Australians in work. The payments will flow from May and be backdated to today. The new scheme will form part of the Government’s third economic assistance package. Click here for more.

March 2020 – Federal Government clampdown on foreign investments: All foreign investment in Australia will now require approval in a move designed to prevent international raids on struggling companies hit by the Coronavirus pandemic. The Foreign Investment Review Board will scrutinise every single purchase application regardless of its value. Click here to read more.

March 2020 – $1.1 billion Medicare, mental health, domestic violence package on its way in response to Coronavirus crisis: The bulk of the package will go to expanding Medicare subsidies for telehealth services. Click here for further details. Australians will not incur any out-of-pocket costs for consults done over the phone or on video with health professionals like GPs, psychologists and psychiatrists, as part of a $1.1 billion funding boost designed to protect against the widespread impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Click here for further details.

March 2020 – The Federal Government has announced an economic hibernation: Policies are being developed to help businesses emerge after the Coronavirus crisis, and resume and rehire without crippling debts. Banks, lenders and landlords will all be asked to wear some of the pain, waiving all overheads like rent and mortgage repayments for six months. Click here for more.

March 2020 – The Government has increased and accelerated income support with expanded eligibility to income support payments and a new time-limited Coronavirus supplement. This supplement will be paid to both new and existing eligible recipients. To view the eligible payment categories, click here.

March 2020 – The Government is allowing individuals affected by Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. To read more about accessing superannuation, click here.

March 2020 – The Government has given six-month relief to directors for any personal liability from trading while insolvent as part of its Covid-19 response package. The regulatory relief comes alongside further stimulus that brings the total announced so far by the government to 9.7% of GDP or $189bn over the forward estimates. Australian Institute of Company Directors has more to say here.

March 2020 –  Boosting cash flow: The Federal Government is providing up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium-sized businesses, and not-for-profits (including charities) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000. Click here to read more.

March 2020 – $66 billion second stimulus package: The Federal government is set to unveil new measures including up to $100,000 for small businesses to keep their staff employed during the coronavirus crisis, and Commonwealth guarantee of unsecured loans of up to $250,000. Read more.

March 2020 – PM, Scott Morrison’s Coronavirus update: The Federal budget has been postponed from May to October. Small and medium-sized businesses including sole traders, will be the focus of the second stimulus package. To learn about how this impacts your business, click here.

March 2020  ABA relief for small business: The Australian Banking Association announced all small businesses who are impacted by Coronavirus will be entitled to a six-month deferral on all business loans. Read more here.

March 2020 – Second stimulus plan: The Treasurer has announced a second stimulus plan with an additional $15 billion investment enabling smaller lenders to continue supporting Australian consumers and small businesses.

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