Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates from the Australian Government

Support for Businesses

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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.

JobKeeper payment

Under the JobKeeper Payment, businesses significantly impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak will be able to access a subsidy from the Government to continue paying their employees. This assistance will help businesses to keep people in their jobs and re-start when the crisis is over. 

These businesses will be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum of six months. 

Fact sheet

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PDF file

Cash flow support for small and medium businesses

The Government is providing temporary cash flow support of up to $100,000 for eligible small and medium-sized businesses, and not-for-profits (NFPs) that employ staff to help with their cash flow so they can keep operating, pay their rent, electricity and other bills and retain staff. This will be done through two sets of cash flow boosts, with the first delivered from 28 April 2020, through credits in the activity statement system. Eligible businesses do not need to apply with a separate form.

Eligible businesses and NFPs, must have held an Australian Business Number on 12 March 2020 and lodge their activity statement to receive the credit. Charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not for profits Commission are eligible, regardless of when they were registered, if they meet the other eligibility requirements.

Fact sheet

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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

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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

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Backing business investment

The Government is providing 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

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Supporting apprentices and trainees

To support small businesses to retain their apprentices and trainees, eligible businesses 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. Employers will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee ($7,000 per quarter).

Where a small business is not able to retain an apprentice, the subsidy will be available to a new employer. 

This measure will ensure the continued development of the skilled workforce. 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.

Fact sheet

PDF file

Support for Coronavirus-affected regions and communities

The Government has 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

A 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.

Further information

Business.gov.au

For more information on financial assistance, eligibility and timing for the new government support for Australian businesses, visit Business.gov.au.

Australian Taxation Office

For more information and to apply for the JobKeeper payment visit ato.gov.au.