These are certainly crazy, unprecedented times we are living in. The Coronavirus pandemic has already had a huge impact on businesses – forced shutdowns, social distancing policies, restricting operations and voluntary closing doors, of course means a loss of income for the majority of us. While this can be scary and confusing, there is financial assistance available.
Everyday the state and federal governments are detailing support packages and stimulus schemes for individuals and Small, Medium Enterprises (SME’s) – think of it as a short term safety net, designed to help us weather this crisis and be able to reopen our doors at the end of all of this and get back to business as usual.
We have summarised the financial assistance schemes below, and added in links to help you find the correct fact sheets and information to better understand the help available to you, depending on your individual circumstances.
The information we are providing is correct as at 26th March 2020 and obtained from the Department of Treasury, Business Victoria and is general advice only. We will continue to update this article as new information comes to hand.
Income Support for Individuals
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.
- The income support payment categories eligible to receive the Coronavirus supplement are:
- Jobseeker Payment (and all payments progressively transitioning to JobSeeker Payment; those currently receiving Partner Allowance, Widow Allowance, Sickness Allowance and Wife Pension)
- Youth Allowance Jobseeker
- Parenting Payment (Partnered and Single)
- Farm Household Allowance
Anyone who is eligible for the Coronavirus supplement will receive the full rate of the supplement of $550 per fortnight.
Centrelink is also waiving usual waiting periods and the requirement of supporting documentation (Employment Separation Certificate, for example) for those who need to sign up as a Jobseeker, if you have lost your job due to Coronavirus. Register your ‘Intent To Claim’ through Centrelink via your MyGov app. Complete the questionnaire and it will tell you what payment you’re eligible for, and then prompt you to complete your claim. If you are approved, then you will also receive the Coronavirus Supplement on top of your Jobseeker payment.
Fact sheet link below:
Early Release of Superannuation
While superannuation helps people save for retirement, the Government recognises that for those significantly financially affected by the Coronavirus, accessing some of their superannuation today may outweigh the benefits of maintaining those savings until retirement.
Eligible individuals will be able to apply online through myGov to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation before 1 July 2020. They will also be able to access up to a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020 for approximately three months (exact timing will depend on the passage of the relevant legislation).
Face Sheet and link below:
Cash Flow Boost
The Australian Government is providing cash flow relief for small and medium businesses. The value is up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium-sized businesses that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000.
These payments are designed to help businesses with their cash flow so they can keep operating, pay their rent, electricity and other bills and retain staff throughout the duration of the pandemic.
Fact sheet link below for eligibility and how to gain access to this grant:
Temporary Relief for Financially Distressed Businesses
The elements of the package are:
- 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 (supplier) 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; and
- 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
Fact sheet and link below for more information:
Economic Survival & Jobs Package
As part of a $1.7 billion economic survival package, the Victorian Government has announced $500 million to establish a Business Support Fund to assist small to medium businesses most impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
To register your interest, please visit:
Supporting Business with Apprentices and Trainees
The Government is supporting small businesses to retain their 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).
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 link below for more information:
Small Business Investment – Asset Write Off
The Government is increasing the instant asset write-off (IAWO) threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanding access to include all businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million) until 30 June 2020.
Fact sheet link below for eligibility and examples of cash flow improvements:
Payment to Support Households
The Government is providing two separate $750 payments to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. Around half of those that benefit are pensioners. These payments will support households to manage the economic impact of the Coronavirus.
The first payment will be available to people who are eligible payment recipients and concession card holders at any time from 12 March 2020 to 13 April 2020 inclusive. The second payment will be available to people who are eligible payment recipients and concession card holders on 10 July 2020.
A person can be eligible to receive both a first and second support payment.
However, they can only receive one $750 payment in each round of payments, even if they qualify in each round of the payments in multiple ways. The payment will be exempt from taxation and will not count as income for the purposes of Social Security, Farm Household Allowance and Veteran payments.
Factsheet and Eligibility listing in the link below:
SME Guarantee Scheme
The Coronavirus Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Guarantee Scheme will support up to $40 billion of lending to SMEs. Under the Scheme, the Government will guarantee 50 per cent of new loans issued by eligible lenders to SMEs. The Scheme will enhance lenders’ willingness and ability to provide credit, supporting many otherwise viable SMEs to access vital additional funding to get through the impact of Coronavirus. The Scheme will be available for new loans made by participating lenders until 30 September 2020.
The Government will provide eligible lenders with a guarantee for loans with the following terms:
- SMEs. Including sole trader, with a turnover of up to $50 million
- Maximum total size of loans of $250,000 per borrower
Loans will be up to three years, with an initial six month repayment holiday
Unsecured finance, meaning that borrowers will not have to provide an asset to secure the loan
For more information on this, please visit and speak with your accountant for financial advice relating to this Scheme. This is general advice only about the availability of a product, this does not take into account your personal and business situation: