Coronavirus Support Initiatives for Victorian Businesses

Both the Australian and Victorian Governments have released a series of support packages available to the business community to assist with the current economic impacts caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. The below provides general information on what is available, however I would strongly recommend you read through the respective programs’ eligibility criteria and where possible, speak to appropriate program contacts to ascertain your full eligibility. 

Victorian Government – Support for businesses

1) Business Support Fund

The BSF is a $500 million package to support small businesses that employ staff and are subject to closure, or highly impacted by the shutdown restrictions, announced by the Victorian Government as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Businesses will be required to attest to their eligibility and provide supporting documentation (including BAS statements) through the application process.

Businesses are eligible if they meet all these criteria:

  • Employ staff
  • Have been subject to closure or are highly impacted by shutdown restrictions announced by the Victorian Government to-date. For more information on affected sectors click HERE.
  • Have a turnover of more than $75,000
  • Have payroll of less than $650,000
  • 2) Dedicated Business Hotline: 13 22 15

3) Payroll tax refunds for the 2019/20 financial year and relief for 2020/21

The Victorian Government will provide full payroll tax refunds to SMEs with payroll <$3 million. Payments will start flowing within the fortnight.

This support is a refund, not a loan.

These same businesses will also be able to defer any payroll tax for the first three months of the 2020/21 financial year until 1 January 2020.

Details on this package will become available over the next few days.

4) Commercial tenants in government buildings

These tenants can apply for rent relief and 2020 land tax payments will be deferred to eligible small businesses.

Details on this package will become available over the next few days.

5) Liquor licensing

The Victorian Government will waive liquor licensing fees for 2020 for affected venues and small businesses. Those businesses which have already made payments will be refunded.

7) Working for Victoria Fund

$500 million has been allocated to establish the Working for Victoria Fund. The Victorian Government will work in consultation with the Victorian Council of Social Services and Victorian Trades Hall Council to assist workers who have lost their jobs to find new opportunities.

Opportunities will include cleaning public infrastructure or delivering food, providing vital contributions to the State’s response to the pandemic. Further opportunities will be made available in a number of different fields and capacities. The Government will also facilitate job matching to help Victorians find short-term or casual roles.

If you have had to make the decision to reduce jobs at your operation, you’re encouraged to provide your displaced workers with this information to support their job prospects.

8) Jobs Victoria – Workers in Transition

This support provides information, tools and resources to assist both employers and employees through the retrenchment process and into new opportunities. This existing program will work closely with the Working for Victoria Fund.

 

Australian Government Programs – Support for businesses

1) Boosting Cashflow for Employers

This measure provides temporary cash flow support to SMEs and NFPs, who have an aggregated turnover of <$50 million, who currently employ staff in Australia. A minimum payment of $20,000 is available, up to a maximum of $100,000.

The cash flow boost is tax free and is automatically calculated by the Australia Taxation office (ATO).

The first payment will be delivered by the ATO automatically as a credit in the activity statement system from 28 April 2020, upon a business lodging upcoming activity statements. An additional payment will be made during the July-October 2020 period, therefore the maximum available from this program is capped at $100,000 (a total of two payments).

Businesses do not need to apply for this assistance. The ATO will deliver the payment automatically as a credit to the business upon the lodgement of activity statements.  

2) SME Guarantee Scheme

Under this scheme, the Australian Government will provide a guarantee of 50% to SME lenders to support new short-term unsecured loans to SMEs. The Scheme will guarantee up to $40 billion of new lending.

SMEs with a turnover of up to $50 million will be eligible to receive these loans.

The Federal Government will provide eligible lenders with a guarantee for loans with the following terms:

  • Maximum total size of loans of $250,000 per borrower
  • The loans will be up to 3 years, with an initial 6 month repayment holiday
  • The loans will be in the form of unsecured finance, without the need for asset securitisation

Loans will be subject to lenders’ credit assessment processes, with the expectation that lenders look through the cycle to sensibly take into account the current uncertainty.

3) ATO Administrative Relief

The ATO will provide administrative relief for certain tax obligations for taxpayers affected by the coronavirus outbreak, on a case-by-case basis.

All taxpayers affected by the coronavirus outbreak can contact the ATO for assistance.

You can contact the ATO on 1800 806 218 or visit the ATO website for further information.

4) Assistance to help pay wages of apprentices or trainees

Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of apprentices or trainee wages during the 9 months from 1 Jan-30 Sep 2020. Employers will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice/trainee ($7K per quarter).

Support is also available through the National Apprentice Employment Network who are responsible for coordinating the re-employment of displaced apprentices/trainees.

The apprentice/trainee must have been in training with the business as at 1 March 2020. Employers will also need to undergo an eligibility assessment by an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider.

5) Help for Casual Employees

If you employ casual employees and they can’t work due to becoming sick or having to self-isolate, or their income has become compromised due to being made redundant, they may be eligible for income support payments.

The Australian Government is making it quicker to access payments by waiving the usual waiting periods in certain circumstances. Information on income support is available on the Services Australia website.

6) Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit

This specialist unit has been set up within the Australian Government’s Treasury Department to engage with peak business and industry groups on systemic issues and provide regular updates to government on crucial issues.

If you need to pass on information to this unit, it is important to be in contact with your relevant industry peak body who will then be able to directly provide feedback to the liaison unit.

7) Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses

The Australian Government is temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company. The ATO will tailor solutions for owners or directors of businesses that are currently struggling due to the Coronavirus.

8) Instant Asset write-off

The instant asset write-off threshold has been increased 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.

9) Backing Business Investment

The Australian Government is introducing 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.

10) Assistance for affected regions, communities and industries

$1 billion has been set aside to support particular regions most significantly affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. These funds will be available in the coming months and is aimed at the following sectors; tourism, agriculture and education.

Funding will be provided through existing or newly established programs.

Other General Information

Banking and Financial Hardship

Your bank should also be a critical point of contact. There are many practical ways in which your financial institution can support you during this period. Support could include:

  • deferring loan payments
  • waiving fees and charges
  • helping with debt consolidation
  • waiving penalties for early withdrawal of term deposits
  • deferring upcoming credit card payments and increasing emergency limits

Contact your bank’s financial hardship team via web or phone.

 

Bank

Phone Number

Website

LATEST NEWS

AMP

1300 130 191

Experiencing financial hardship

Media Release

ANZ

1800 252 845
COVID-19 1800 351 548

Customer Connect

Media Release

Arab Bank

1800 64 64 84

Hardship Assistance

Bank Australia

132 888

Contact Us

Media Release

Bank of Sydney

13 95 00

Financial Hardship

Media Release

BOQ

1800 079 866

Financial Hardship Assistance

Media Release

BankSA

1800 679 461

BankSA Assist

Media Release

Bankwest

1300 769 173

Experiencing financial hardship

Media Release

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank

1300 652 146

Financial difficulty assistance

Media Release

Citibank

1800 722 879

Hardship assistance

Media Release

Commonwealth Bank

1300 720 814
Small Business: 132 607

Emergency assistance

Media Release

HSBC

1300 555 988

Financial difficulty

Media Release

ING

1300 349 166

Financial Hardship

Macquarie Bank

1300 363 330

Financial Hardship

Media Release

ME Bank

1300 500 520

ME Bank financial hardship

Media Release

MyState

13 800 1

MyState financial hardship

NAB

1800 701 599

Financial Hardship

Media Release

Rabobank

1800 025 484

Financial Hardship

Rural Bank

1800 660 115

Financial Hardship

St. George Bank

1800 629 795

St. George Assist

Media Release

Suncorp Bank

1800 225 223

Suncorp Customer Assist

Media Release

Westpac

Personal: 132 032
Small Business: 132 142

Westpac Assist

Media Release