COVID-19 Business Hub

Last updated at: 31/08/2020 9:25 am

Hub Overview

With the ever-changing economic environment as a result of the COVID-19 virus, businesses need to navigate the complex web of Federal and State and Territory stimulus packages, as well as varied sources of advice and guidance to ensure their business remains viable now and into the future.

To help, we have created a centralised point of reference for advice and updates on all matters relating to managing your business through these challenging times.

Here you’ll find an overview of the federal stimulus package, as well as regularly updated overviews on each state and territories localised initiatives. We have also pulled together an advice page to cover off how you can look to maintain cash flow and operations through these difficult times which includes a useful links and FAQs section to cover off some of the more frequent questions we’re hearing from our various partners, clients and prospects.

Your first point of call should be our Immediate Actions Checklist below. Be sure to also study the relevant stimulus packages available to your business.

National Stimulus Overview
ACT & NSW Overview
VIC & TAS Overview
QLD & NT Overview
WA & SA Overview

Latest News & Updates

  • Grants for SMEs impacted by NSW-Vic border closure

Applications open in early September for small businesses impacted by the closure of the NSW and Victorian border. Those SMEs in eligible local government areas will be a able to apply for grants of $5000 or $10,000 from 8 September 2020. More information on eligibility for the Southern Border Small Business Support Grant is available on the NSW Government website.

  • $10,000 export grants for NSW SMEs

A $12 million Going Global export assistance grant program has been launched for NSW small businesses who export. The initiative, launched in August, provided grants of up to $10,000, coaching, networking and in-market assistance plus support from trade advisors. SMEs must currently export (or have been exporting prior to COVID-19, bushfires or drought) and employ a minimum of three full-time employees. Details.

  • Victoria extends commercial leasing relief

Thousands of Victorian small businesses will have their rent relief and ban on eviction extended until the end of the year, rather than in September, the Victorian treasurer has announced. My Business has the details.

  • JobKeeper rules updated

In many cases staff employed by July 1 may now be eligible for JobKeeper (previously the cutoff date was March 1). However employers must submit their JobKeeper employee nomination notice by Friday August 22 to be eligible, then they have until August 31 to meet the wage condition for all new eligible employees. The ATO website has details, and this Accountants Daily article offers more details.

 

  • New rules affecting whether Victorian businesses can trade onsite

From midnight Wednesday August 5, Victorian businesses will be divided into three categories, with many retail stores and others set to close for six weeks while the state attempts to minimise COVID-19 cases. Premier Dan Andrews said stores exempt from closing include supermarkets, petrol stations and pharmacies. To find out which category your business is in, and whether on-site trading will be possible for the next six weeks, this My Business article has extra information and a link to a handy table with full details.

  • JobKeeper 2.0 – who qualifies?

Some Australian businesses will continue to receive Federal Government support when the initial JobKeeper program ends in late September. JobKeeper 2.0, which runs through to the end of March 2021, has reduced benefits and tougher qualifying criteria. This Dynamic Business column looks at what criteria businesses have to meet in order to continue to receive JobKeeper payments after September.

  • JobKeeper extended to March – but not for everyone
The JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme will be overhauled and extended beyond September to March next year. On July 21, PM Scott Morrison announced eligibility for the scheme will be tightened and the payment will be reduced to $1,200 per fortnight from October, with those working under 20 hours pre-COVID set to receive $750. From January 2021 until the end of March 2021, the payment will be further reduced to $1,000 and $650 respectively. More details available here.

Immediate Actions Checklist

Your number one priority needs to be your cash flow and maintaining the war chest as best you can. Below is a top 5 priority list that we strongly advise that you as a business owner or director go through in detail:

  1. Your employees
  • Who is mission critical to your ongoing trading?  Identify these people and keep them safe.  If you can, split them into ‘Team A’ and ‘Team B’ to reduce the chance of everyone being away from your business at the same time if people need to self-isolate.
  • Can you offer your staff any incentives to take (unpaid) leave or temporarily reduce their salary?  Incentives could include an extra week of annual leave next year or finishing at 3pm on a Friday during next summer.
  1. Your clients
  • Look at which clients are your top 5 revenue earners?  Call them to ask if they can pay you early and if they will still be ordering from you next week / month.
  • Speak to your clients every week; their world can change quickly and you want to be across any changes as soon as they happen.  Make sure your clients are preparing their business to weather this storm in the same way you are.
  1. Government assistance, including the ATO
  • Have you read through the state, territory and national stimulus packages to understand what support is available to you? Do you know your next steps to accessing these packages? Overview of national and state stimulus packages below.
  • If you are on an ATO repayment plan, have you called to ask for a temporary (3 – 6 month) stop to your regular repayments? Find out more here.
  1. Funding
  • Regular and honest communication with your financier is key.  Have a good think about what help you need; if you need additional money, do you have anything else to offer to support your request?
  • Have you read through the Government stimulus packages available?  Many banks are deferring mortgage repaymentsfor 3 – 6 months if you need some hardship support.
  1. Operations
  • Open lines of communication with your suppliers early.
  • If you trade from rented premises, proactively call your landlord and ask for some relief.  Options may include reducing rent now and paying more when covid-19 passes or renegotiating your rent to only pay a % of revenue.

More resource and info can be found below, or to discuss how ScotPac can help submit your details in the below form or call us today to discuss.

Guidance, Resources & FAQs