The outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus), first reported from the People’s Republic of China, is causing economic disruption in many sectors including tourism and hospitality, education, property, resources, and international supply chains.
The cancellation of major events across the region will impact greatly on small to medium businesses. With this in mind, we urge the community to continue to support local businesses over the coming months where possible.
Morrison stimulus package: What it means for business
The Morrison Government’s plan to keep business in business and Australians in jobs provides direct support for business including payments for business, wage subsidies for apprentices and trainees and enhancing the instant asset write-off:
- Tax-free cashflow boost for employers. Up to $25,000 is available to help pay wages or for
investment to protect against a downturn in activity. The payment is open to businesses
with a turnover of less than $50 million. Eligible businesses that withhold tax on employee
salary and wages will automatically receive a payment equal to 50% of the amount
withheld. The minimum payment is $2,000 and maximum is $25,000 and will be available for
businesses who lodge business activity statements for the March and June quarters. Read the Fact sheet
- Apprentice wage subsidy. Small businesses with fewer than 20 full-time workers will receive
50% of an apprentice or trainee’s wage. For each apprentice or trainee, the Government will
provide up to $7,000 in wage assistance per quarter. The wage subsidy will be open to
businesses with fewer than 20 full-time workers and employers of any size that re-employ
someone who loses their position as a result of the coronavirus downturn. Read the Fact
- Boosted instant asset write-off. Businesses with turnover of less than $500 million are
eligible for an expanded instant asset write-off for asset investments of up to $150,000. The
threshold applies on per asset basis, so businesses can immediately write-off multiple
assets. Read the Fact sheet
- Accelerated depreciation. Businesses with turnover less than $500 million will be able to
access a 15 month investment incentive by accelerating depreciation deductions. Read the
- Help from the ATO. The ATO will provide administrative relief for certain tax obligations
(similar to relief provided following the bushfires) for taxpayers affected by the Coronavirus outbreak, on a case-by-case basis. Contact the ATO on 1800 806 218 or visit the ATO website at ato.gov.au for more information.
- Income support. People who are unable to attend work because they have been diagnosed
with the Coronavirus or who are in isolation, may qualify for income support if they do not
have any employer leave entitlements. Read the Fact sheet
The Victorian Chamber is also supporting businesses by waiving membership fees (up to $700) for all Victorian businesses and boosting member credits for current members. Find out more or call our team on 03 8662 5333.
If you have any questions about the assistance available or want to discuss how to ensure your business survives the coronavirus downturn and is ready for the rebound, please get in touch.
If your business is being affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) there are resources that can help:
Up to date health information and guidance
Visit Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services or for simplified Chinese translations visit the information page for the Chinese community. For other languages please call the Translating and Interpreting Services on 131 450.
The Victorian Chamber’s advice on protecting your employees.
You can also find a collection of coronavirus (COVID-19) resources in both English and Simplified Chinese at the Australian Government Department of Health. For example:
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) – what you need to know
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources in Simplified Chinese
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) – For travel, transport and hotel industries.
For current travel advice check the Smart Traveller website.
We encourage employees and employers to work together to find appropriate solutions that suit the needs of individual workplaces and staff.
For information and assistance on any aspect of your employment obligations, the Victorian Chamber Workplace Relations Advice Line (03) 8662 5222 can help.
WorkSafe Victoria are working as part of a whole-of-government approach to mitigate the risk of Coronavirus in Victoria.
As part of this approach, WorkSafe Victoria have produced guidance to ensure that employers understand their obligations in relation to protecting employees from risks to their health, and that employees know what controls should be in place. The guidance includes:
- a safety alert regarding Coronavirus
- guidance on preparing for pandemics, which includes information on managing the direct risks of infection.
If the impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19) are causing financial hardship for your business, your bank may have practical ways to help. Australian banks have hardship teams ready to assist you with your financial arrangements, depending on your circumstances.
The Small Business Mentoring Service offers low-cost sessions with a diverse range of mentors that can help you to navigate difficult business decisions, prepare business continuity plans, review your business strategy or revise your business plans. Or a free 45 minute session with an experienced business adviser is available via the Small Business Bus.
Support is also available to you and your family from Lifeline (13 11 14) and Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636 or online chat).
Trade and export assistance
The Australian Government’s Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC) provide Australian businesses with export finance solutions and may be able to assist. They provide export loans, guarantees, bonds and buyer finance solutions help businesses access finance.
The Victorian Chamber’s international consulting services can guide you through the global marketplace, providing support, strategies and practical advice.
See your local Victorian Government Business Office (VGBO) – staffed with Business Development Managers (BDMs) who are specialists in business and industry, they can support you and help you navigate any relevant government services, programs and regulations.