COVID-19 :: Federal & State Government Support

Last Updated: 8/7/2020

We are aware that the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures to contain it have the potential to significantly impact your business. To assist we have created this web hub page to provide access to information updates and useful resources for your business.

Both the Australia Commonwealth Government and State Governments are releasing support measures designed to provide financial relief to businesses and households.  The situation is very fluid and it is important that you open and read all of the communications that we send out to you so you can stay informed.

We are encouraging you to gather information, develop a documented plan for your farm business using the tools that are available, and clearly communicate that plan to your staff, customers and supply chain partners.

ON THIS PAGE YOU WILL FIND INFORMATION ABOUT AND LINKS TO:

COVID-19 :: Federal Government Support

Main Resource Pages

Commonwealth Government – https://www.australia.gov.au/

Treasury – the Economic Response – https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus

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.

COVID-19 :: State Support for Business

Queensland

Agriculture page: https://www.business.qld.gov.au/industries/farms-fishing-forestry/agriculture/coronavirus-support

Appropriation (COVID) Bill 2020

To provide an additional $4 billion in funding over two years to protect Queensland during the coronavirus pandemic which includes:

  • a $200 credit for all households to offset the cost of water and electricity
  • $2.5 billion for business including payroll tax relief, relief for businesses renting government premises, a worker displacement program to help unemployed people get jobs in sectors facing shortages
  • electricity bill rebates for all Queensland small and medium-sized businesses that consume less than 100,000-kilowatt hours
  • A $500 million Jobs Support Loan facility, interest free for the first 12 months, to support businesses to keep Queenslanders in work, with loans of up to $250,000
  • $400 million in land tax relief for property owners, that must be passed on to tenants
  • An initial $27.25 million package to assist local government, business and industry with resilience and recovery strategies, targeted financial support and counselling

Emergency Response Bill 2020

  • Focusses on commercial real estate including lease and eviction changes

Queensland Small Business Commissioner

This position will take an active role in helping small businesses affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, providing information and support including retail leasing advice and mediation.

Quick reference guide for support available for small to medium businesses

Payroll tax relief package: If you’re an employer (or part of a group of employers) who pays $6.5 million or less in Australian taxable wages, you may be eligible for a refund of your payroll tax for two months, payroll tax holiday (i.e. no payroll tax to be paid) for three months or a deferral of payroll tax for the 2020 calendar year.

Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses: The Australian Government is temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand.

SME power bill relief: Small and medium businesses may be eligible for a $500 rebate off their energy bill.

Commercial tenancies: Relief measures for commercial tenants and landlords. A mandatory Code of Conduct has been developed by National Cabinet.

Commercial and residential tenancies: Evictions will be put on hold over the next six months for commercial and residential tenancies in financial distress, who are unable to meet their commitments due to the impact of the COVID-19.

Any small business impacted by COVID-19 can now contact the Rural Financial Counselling Service in the following areas:

Boosting cash flow: Temporary cash flow support to small and medium businesses through two sets of cash flow boosts to support employers to retain employees. Support will be provided via tax-free cash flow boosts of between $20,000 and $100,000.

Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme: The Australian Government will provide a guarantee of 50% to support short-term loans.

The Australian Government’s JobKeeper package offers a subsidy of up to $1500 per fortnight per employee to keep eligible businesses paying their staff. Employers and sole traders can register their interest in this program with the Australian Tax Office.

Supporting apprentices and trainees: Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50% of their apprentice’s or trainee’s wage paid during 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020.

Qld Health updates

New website for QLD COVID statistics – www.health.qld.gov.au/covid-data

  • Commitment was provided this week, that if a person has tested positive for COVID-19 and has no permanent residence (ie. Is a backpacker) Queensland Health will take responsibility (for costs) for the quarantine period.
  • At this stage, it is our understanding this is only for the person that has tested positive for COVID-19 and not for those that have been in “close contact”.

Agriculture Coordination Officer

DAF have re-badged 100 existing regional staff around Queensland as Agriculture Coordination Officers to support producers and industries during the COVID pandemic. Clinton McGrath from Toowoomba has been assigned to the Queensland berry industries. Clinton can be contact on: Clinton.Mcgrath@daf.qld.gov.au

Support measure Eligibility How to access Timelines
Payroll tax relief package
This includes:
* refunds of payroll tax for 2 months
* a payroll tax holiday for 3 months
* deferral of paying payroll tax for the 2020 calendar year
A business that is directly or indirectly affected by coronavirus if their current turnover, profit, customers, bookings, retail sales, supply contracts or other factors are negatively affected compared with normal operating conditions. Apply online at:

https://www.business.qld.gov.au/running-business/employing/payroll-tax/lodging/coronavirus-tax-relief

You must apply for refund or holiday before 31 May 2020
Queensland COVID-19 jobs support loans
You may be eligible for a loan to retain employees and maintain your operations up to $250,000
Queensland businesses impacted by COVID-19 to help retain employees and maintain their operations Visit the QRIDA website to register your interest in this loan facility Register your interest now – Loans are not yet available
Small and medium business power bill relief
Small and medium businesses may be eligible for a $500 rebate off energy bills
Businesses who consume less than 100,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) will receive the rebate. This will be automatically applied on your business electricity bills Next billing cycle
Household bill relief
$200 rebate for all 2.1 million Queensland households to offset the cost of water and electricity bills
All Queensland households with a household electricity account This will be automatically applied on household electricity bills Next billing cycle

Victoria

Support measure Eligibility How to access Timelines
Business Support Fund
One-off grants of $10,000 to businesses most impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak as part of a $500 million fund
Small to medium businesses who employ staff with a turnover of more than $75,000 and a payroll of less than $650,000 For more information and to apply CLICK HERE Applications open until 1 June 2020
Payroll tax refund and deferral
* Refund or waiving of payroll tax for the 2019-20 financial year
* Defer paying payroll tax for the first quarter of the 2020-21 financial year
Small and medium-sized businesses with total payroll of less than $3 million State Revenue Office will directly contact eligible businesses In line with normal lodgement of returns
Land tax deferral

Option of deferring 2020 land tax payment until after 31 December 2020

Land owners due to pay 2020 land tax that have at least one non-residential property and total taxable landholdings below $1 million State Revenue Office will contact all taxpayers who are eligible for this deferral From now until 31 December 2020

Western Australia

To keep up to date with the latest changes and support to business please refer to the following links:

Latest policy updates and support for business:  https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-the-premier-and-cabinet/covid-19-coronavirus-business-and-industry-advice

Latest information on COVID-19 and the impacts on the Agriculture sector https://www.dpird.wa.gov.au/covid19-business

Matters relating to small business and specific information on the latest initiatives: https://www.smallbusiness.wa.gov.au/

The Small Business Development Corporation has a COVID-19 assistance centre providing support options for businesses they can be contacted via:

For more information visit https://www.smallbusiness.wa.gov.au/coronavirus

Latest information about payroll tax affecting WA’s business can be found here:

https://www.wa.gov.au/government/multi-step-guides/payroll-tax-employer-guide/covid-19-relief-payroll-tax-employer-guide

Support measure Eligibility How to access Timelines
One-off grants of $17,500 to small and medium businesses Small and medium businesses whose annual Australian Taxable Wages are between $1 million and $4 million No applications are required Grants will automatically be paid from July
Fast-track payroll tax relief for small businesses The payroll tax threshold will be increased to $1 million from 1 July 2020 Automatically applied From 1 July 2020
Waiver of Payroll Tax Payroll tax will be waivered from March to June 2020 for businesses that have Australian taxable wages of less than $7.5 million at 30 June 2020 Waiver replaces the previous deferred payment announced earlier
Deferred payment 2019-20 payroll tax Employers, or groups of employers, with Australian taxable wages of $5 million or more at 29 February, or new employers registered for payroll tax from 1 March 2020, can apply to defer lodgement and payment of returns. Payroll tax for March to June 2020 will be waived at annual reconciliation if Australian taxable wages are less than $7.5 million at 30 June 2020 Department of Finance website

New South Wales

Support measure Eligibility How to access Timelines
Small business support grant Small business support grant The NSW small business COVID-19 support grant of up to $10,000 is available to eligible NSW small business owners.
To be eligible, businesses will need to:
• have between 1-19 employees and a turnover of more than $75,000
• a payroll below the NSW Government 2019-20 payroll tax threshold of $900,000
• have an Australian Business Number as at 1 March 2020, be based in NSW and employ staff as at 1 March 2020
• be highly impacted by the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 issued on 30 March 2020
• use the funding for unavoidable business costs such as utilities, overheads, legal costs and financial advice
• provide appropriate documentation upon application. Apply here
Unknown
To apply CLICK HERE Unknown
Payroll tax changes
• Tax-free threshold increases from $900,000 to $1 million.
• Deferral of payroll tax for business with payrolls over $10 million for 6 months (up to $4 billion deferred).
• An additional 3-month deferral for businesses with payrolls of $10 million or less who received a 3-month waiver on payroll tax in the first package.
Businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million for Waiver

Businesses with payrolls of less than $1 million will be exempt from payroll tax from 2020-21 tax year

CLICK HERE
Reductions in general fees & costs For small businesses including bars, cafes, restaurants and tradies No information supplied No information supplied

South Australia

Support measure Eligibility How to access Timelines
Emergency Cash Grants for Small Businesses
One-off $10,000 cash grants to support operation of small businesses and not-for profit entities impacted by COVID-19 related restrictions
Businesses with an annual turnover of more than $75,000 and annual payroll less than $1.5 million, that are not entitled to a payroll tax waiver under the SA government COVID-19 support measures For more information and to apply CLICK HERE Applications open until 1 June 2020
Payroll Tax Waiver
No requirement to pay payroll tax for April to September 2020
Businesses with annual wages of up to $4 million No application required – RevenueSA will notify eligible businesses In line with normal lodgement of returns
Payroll Tax Deferral
Deferral of payroll tax payments for April to September 2020 until October 2020
Businesses with annual wages above $4 million, that can demonstrate they have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 Online application. For more information CLICK HERE In line with normal lodgement of returns
Land Tax Deferral
Deferment of third and fourth quarter installments for up to six months
Businesses and individuals paying land tax quarterly in 2019-2020 No application required – RevenueSA will contact eligible taxpayers Until 31 December 2020
Land Tax Reform Transition Fund
Relief for affected taxpayers increased from 50% to 100% of the increase in 2020-21 land tax assessment
Eligible taxpayers whose land tax bill will increase as a result of the changes in the aggregation of land For more information CLICK HERE
Job Accelerator Grants
Criteria to maintain employment levels to receive ongoing support has been relaxed
Available to businesses who have already applied (applications closed) For more information CLICK HERE

Tasmania

Support measure Eligibility How to access Timelines
Payroll Tax Waivers
Businesses with payrolls of up to $5 million will be able to apply, based on the impact of virus, to have their payroll tax waived for April to June 2020
Businesses with payrolls of up to
$5 million (outside of hospitality, tourism & seafood industry businesses)
Application Process No information supplied
Emergency Relief Payments for those in isolation
One-off payments of $250 for individuals or up to $1,000 for families
Those who are required by Public Health to self-isolate as a result of the coronavirus Visit Tasmanian Government website No information supplied

COVID-19 :: Accessing Assistance with Exports

The Federal Government has announced a new $110 million initiative to provide airfreight support for essential agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries.

Products eligible may include:

  • Horticulture (such as premium fruits and packages salad or vegetables)
  • Seafood
  • Premium red meat
  • Dairy

The destination countries include:

  • China
  • Japan
  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore
  • UAE

This list may be expanded in the future based on demand, operating method and commercial opportunities.

The Australian departure points will be:

  • Melbourne
  • Brisbane
  • Sydney
  • Perth

For more information: www.business.gov.au/risk-management/emergency-management/coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business/international-freight-assistance-mechanism

Additional capacity for air freight is coming on line for certain markets. Growers and other potential exporters are urged to complete the online survey. Complete the survey online here.

New markets will be offered the subsidised freight service if demand can be estimated. Without information the access to new markets (and additional capacity to the nominated markets) will not be available.

The Australian Government’s $1 billion COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund supports the communities, regions and industries that are most significantly  affected by the economic impacts of coronavirus. A key component of the Fund is the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM), a scheme designed to assist Australian agricultural and fisheries producers to export their premium produce to priority markets.

In addition to the IFAM, the Australian Government is coordinating with industry to assist unblocking current supply challenges. Exporters have an increasing range of options available to them. The IFAM is one option. The range of options is described in the ATTACHED FACT SHEET.

The announcement of the 9 airlines and 6 freight forwarders for IFAM came out 23/4/20. READ THE ANNOUNCEMENT HERE

For more information, please see the Fact Sheet or go to www.austrade.gov.au/ifam.

PMA-ANZ Export Resources

PMA-ANZ hosted another successful virtual session with over 80 fresh produce professionals looking at the impact of COVID-19 on the trade opportunities for the fresh produce sector. They were joined by professionals from Escavox, Hort Innovation and the Australian Fresh Produce Alliance, who shared some insights into the barriers and opportunities for fresh produce during this time. You can watch the recording here if you weren’t able to participate.

They have also created a quick reference sheet to help your business navigate this difficult time.

DOWNLOAD EXPORT REFERENCE SHEET HERE

Western Australia

If you have any concerns surrounding export and would like more information please contact DPIRD’s export team at export@dpird.wa.gov.au

Update on QFF

The eradication program is underway for QFF in the Dalkeith, Nedlands and Claremont suburbs and surrounds. There has been no detection in horticulture production areas. For more information, including a map of the Quarantine Area and the full list of Qfly host fruit, visit

https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/plant-biosecurity/biosecurity-alerts-queensland-fruit-fly-updates

or contact our Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS) on 08 9368 3080 or email padis@dpird.wa.gov.au.

If you have any enquiries regarding export opportunities out of WA please email export@dpird.wa.gov.au.  DPIRD is working in partnership with the Federal Government to aid WA’s export requirements in order to keep our key export markets open.

Queensland

The Queensland Government is working to overcome any transport and logistics operations challenges to ensure supply during COVID-19.

Read their regular COVID-19 freight and export market update bulletin – published each FRIDAY – for the latest information about export markets, air and sea freight availability and opportunities, and government initiatives to support trade during COVID-19.