COVID-19 Business Hub

Last updated at: 28/09/2020 7:59 am

Hub Overview

With the ever-changing economic environment as a result of the COVID-19 virus, businesses need to navigate the complex web of Federal and State and Territory stimulus packages, as well as varied sources of advice and guidance to ensure their business remains viable now and into the future.

To help, we have created a centralised point of reference for advice and updates on all matters relating to managing your business through these challenging times.

Here you’ll find an overview of the federal stimulus package, as well as regularly updated overviews on each state and territories localised initiatives. We have also pulled together an advice page to cover off how you can look to maintain cash flow and operations through these difficult times which includes a useful links and FAQs section to cover off some of the more frequent questions we’re hearing from our various partners, clients and prospects.

Your first point of call should be our Immediate Actions Checklist below. Be sure to also study the relevant stimulus packages available to your business.

National Stimulus Overview
ACT & NSW Overview
VIC & TAS Overview
QLD & NT Overview
WA & SA Overview

Latest News & Updates

  • New insolvency reforms a boost for SMEs

Small businesses wanting to restructure and survive the impact of the pandemic should benefit from a raft of reforms announced by the Federal Government. Public Accountant reports that the reforms should allow small businesses to restructure existing debts while remaining in control of their business. The new restructuring process, for incorporated businesses with liabilities of less than $1 million, will operate from 1 January 2021. Details are outlined in this Government Fact Sheet.

  • JobKeeper 2.0: new rules released

The new JobKeeper rules for the six-month extension have been released. With two separate extension periods confirmed and for each extension period an additional actual decline in turnover test applies and the rate of the JobKeeper payment is different. More detail can be found here, but at a high level, the extension has been updated from an end of 28 September 2020 to 28 March 2021, and is split into two tiers defined by the number of hours worked in the four weeks prior.

  • $3B support package for VIC SMEs

Roughly 75,000 eligible Victorian businesses with payrolls up to $10 million will receive grants of $10,000, $15,000 or $20,000 depending on their size, under the state’s largest stimulus package ever. The package recognises that the state’s small businesses are taking the hardest hit as the state continues to implement coronavirus restrictions. The state’s hospitality industry has received further relief with liquor licences waived for 2021. More information here.

  • More tax relief for QLD SMEs

A two month break from payroll tax (for July and August 2020) and an extension of rent relief are the key measures in a $249 million tax relief package announced by the Queensland Government. Businesses in the state with annual taxable wages of up to $6.5 million will qualify for the payroll tax waiver. The Queensland Government will also make JobKeeper subsidy payments exempt from payroll tax, and businesses will be given leeway to pay off existing payroll liabilities throughout 2021. Find out more here.

  • Insolvency relief continues

Insolvency and bankruptcy protections that were to end on September 30 have been extended until December 31. The Federal Government on September 7 extended the temporary increase in the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company and the time companies have to respond to these demands. Details here.

  • JobKeeper 2.0 legislation passed

Businesses no longer eligible for the government’s extended JobKeeper wage subsidy program will be able to access temporary Fair Work Act provisions for a further six months, under legislation passed in the first week of September. The new regulation extends JobKeeper for six months with the flat $1500 fortnightly subsidy replaced by a two-tiered system depending on the hours an employee works. JobKeeper 1.0 employers who don’t qualify for the second stage of the stimulus will have more flexibility with industrial relations as long as they can prove a 10% drop in revenue compared to last year. Find out more here.

  • Grants for SMEs impacted by NSW-Vic border closure

Applications open in early September for small businesses impacted by the closure of the NSW and Victorian border. Those SMEs in eligible local government areas will be a able to apply for grants of $5000 or $10,000 from 8 September 2020. More information on eligibility for the Southern Border Small Business Support Grant is available on the NSW Government website.

  • $10,000 export grants for NSW SMEs

A $12 million Going Global export assistance grant program has been launched for NSW small businesses who export. The initiative, launched in August, provided grants of up to $10,000, coaching, networking and in-market assistance plus support from trade advisors. SMEs must currently export (or have been exporting prior to COVID-19, bushfires or drought) and employ a minimum of three full-time employees. Details.

  • Victoria extends commercial leasing relief

Thousands of Victorian small businesses will have their rent relief and ban on eviction extended until the end of the year, rather than in September, the Victorian treasurer has announced. My Business has the details.

Immediate Actions Checklist

Your number one priority needs to be your cash flow and maintaining the war chest as best you can. Below is a top 5 priority list that we strongly advise that you as a business owner or director go through in detail:

  1. Your employees
  • Who is mission critical to your ongoing trading?  Identify these people and keep them safe.  If you can, split them into ‘Team A’ and ‘Team B’ to reduce the chance of everyone being away from your business at the same time if people need to self-isolate.
  • Can you offer your staff any incentives to take (unpaid) leave or temporarily reduce their salary?  Incentives could include an extra week of annual leave next year or finishing at 3pm on a Friday during next summer.
  1. Your clients
  • Look at which clients are your top 5 revenue earners?  Call them to ask if they can pay you early and if they will still be ordering from you next week / month.
  • Speak to your clients every week; their world can change quickly and you want to be across any changes as soon as they happen.  Make sure your clients are preparing their business to weather this storm in the same way you are.
  1. Government assistance, including the ATO
  • Have you read through the state, territory and national stimulus packages to understand what support is available to you? Do you know your next steps to accessing these packages? Overview of national and state stimulus packages below.
  • If you are on an ATO repayment plan, have you called to ask for a temporary (3 – 6 month) stop to your regular repayments? Find out more here.
  1. Funding
  • Regular and honest communication with your financier is key.  Have a good think about what help you need; if you need additional money, do you have anything else to offer to support your request?
  • Have you read through the Government stimulus packages available?  Many banks are deferring mortgage repaymentsfor 3 – 6 months if you need some hardship support.
  1. Operations
  • Open lines of communication with your suppliers early.
  • If you trade from rented premises, proactively call your landlord and ask for some relief.  Options may include reducing rent now and paying more when covid-19 passes or renegotiating your rent to only pay a % of revenue.

More resource and info can be found below, or to discuss how ScotPac can help submit your details in the below form or call us today to discuss.

Guidance, Resources & FAQs