Australian Govt Support For Business

Australian Government COVID-19 Support for Business

In response to the impact on the economy of COVID-19, the Australian Federal Government has rolled out a ‘whole of government’ response which includes stimulus packages, relief and support measures and additional funding at unprecedented and scalable measures. The Government estimates the support for the economy at $320 billion. The key is scalable and new packages for specific industry sectors continue to be announced.

These are just a few of the key policies and packages to support business and industries:

  • Health: a major focus has been on providing additional funding for all areas of the health and medical sector especially in procuring PPE for frontline workers, support for the particularly vulnerable people in aged care and those with disabilities and scaling up the hospital resources. Additional funding has been channelled into research and development to fast-track a vaccine. Landmark arrangements between the public and private sector to expand hospital facilities.
  • Health Services: free mental health services and rollout of telehealth will support both business and individuals
  • Cashflow boost of up to $100,000 for SMEs and NFPs that employ staff with support to flow via activity statement credit from 28 April 2020
  • Increase to the instant asset write-off
  • Support for businesses that employ apprentices
  • Jobkeeper Package: this is a uniquely Australian solution as described by the Prime Minister and is expected to support up to 6 million workers. This is a wage subsidy scheme where the government will subsidise wages for employees of businesses that have been impacted by coronavirus to the tune of $1500 per fortnight per employee for a period of 6 months. Businesses will need to apply for Jobkeeper through the ATO which will administer this package. Funds will flow from 1 May backdated to 30 March for employees who remain attached to businesses. www.treasury.gov.au/coronavirus for full details
  • Reserve Bank: RBA measures include term funding facility for banks to encourage lending by banks; easing monetary policy by reducing the cash rate to .25% and other steps to assist the flow of credit.
  • Agriculture: specific measures in expanding temporary visas to allow workers to take jobs in this sector.
  • Aviation: with borders closed, aviation has been supported to the tune of $1b+
  • Commercial Tenancies: rent relief for businesses especially in hospitality and retail is of key concern. This is complicated as the negative flow-on effects to landlords who need to pay mortgages etc need to be considered. Government has been working on measures and mandatory code of conduct introduced.
  • Education: support has been provided to the childcare sector.
  • Aged Care: as older people have been recognised as most vulnerable, specific support especially in the supply of much-needed PPE has been provided.

In presenting the JobKeeper Package legislation to Parliament on 8 April 2020, Prime Minister Scott Morrison talked about protecting Australia’s sovereignty. This has started discussion around re-starting Australia’s manufacturing sector and support in that space is likely to be on future agendas.

Many businesses that have been forced to close or limit trade due to social distancing restrictions have demonstrated innovation and initiative by pivoting to the manufacture and supply of other products. These proactive steps will have general support for the economy.

Additional support measures are being announced regularly and you can keep updated on the major news channels and at the official Government website. www.australia.gov.au/coronavirus