Jobkeeper and COVID-19 resources: where can businesses find help?
With the current restrictions on non-essential business activities, businesses are in the middle of a very uncertain time. So, where can business owners find help?
Updated: 03 August, 2020
It has been a tough year for Australian business owners. So far in 2020 Aussies have been impacted by bushfires, floods, a global pandemic and border closures. It was reported recently on the ABC that ‘almost half of Australian businesses surveyed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics say they have experienced an adverse impact as a result of COVID-19′.
The below information might help to provide guidance that is relevant to your business’ circumstances, and provide some insight into where you can turn to get support during this time.
All information in this article is accurate at the time of publishing. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving quickly, it’s best to check the websites of the relevant government departments and support agencies to ensure you have the most up-to-date details when you make decisions for your business.
Keeping you in the loop
The Australian Government recently launched a COVID-19 WhatsApp messaging service and app to help provide Australians with the latest information on the COVID-19 situation.
Australian government financial assistance for businesses
Below is a list of initiatives that have been announced so far by the Australian Government to help support businesses during this tough time:
The JobKeeper payment scheme helps to keep Australians in jobs and support businesses affected by the economic impact of the Coronavirus. It’s a subsidy for businesses, eligible employers and sole traders to receive fortnightly payments.
On 21 July 2020, the Australian Government announced it’s extending the JobKeeper Payment until 28 March 2021, helping support businesses and not-for-profits who continue to be impacted by the Coronavirus.
It estimates more than 5 million Australians receive payments from the JobKeeper and JobSeeker programs. To put it into perspective, Australia’s entire workforce is about 13 million people. Almost half of the Australian workforce will get this payment over the next six months.
So, what does this mean for your business?
- The existing JobKeeper Payment will remain in place until 27 September 2020.
- From 28 September 2020, the JobKeeper Payment will be targeted to businesses and not-for-profits that have been most significantly impacted. The payment rates will be stepped-down and two tiers of payment will be introduced.
- Affected employers will be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,200 per eligible employee from 28 September 2020, to $1,000 per fortnight from 4 January 2021, until 28 March 2021.
What businesses are eligible?
- A business that has a turnover of less than $1 billion and their turnover has fallen by more than 30% (of at least a month); or
- A business that has a turnover of $1 billion or more and their turnover has fallen by more than 50% (of at least a month); and
- An Australian charity or non-profit business turnover that has fallen by more than 15% (of at least a month).
Boosting cash-flow for employers
The Australian Government confirmed they will provide up to $100,000 back to eligible small and medium-sized businesses, and not-for-profits (including charities) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000.
The eligibility includes businesses with an aggregated annual turnover under $50 million and who employ workers.
Victoria Business Support Fund – Expansion program
To support small businesses impacted by the new lockdowns, the government will be issuing one-off grants to eligible Victorian businesses under the Business Support Fund – Expansion program. This includes:
- $10,000 for employing businesses in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire in recognition of spending longer under restrictions
- $5,000 for employing businesses in regional local government areas (except Mitchell Shire)
- Businesses operating within metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire affected by the return to Stay at Home restrictions may be eligible for a one-off, $5,000 grant.
Applications for the program will be extended until 14 September 2020.
Assistance for affected regions, communities and industries
So far, $1 billion has been set aside to support regions and communities most significantly affected by the Coronavirus and heavily reliant on industries such as tourism, agriculture and education.
These funds will be available to assist over the next few months and year ahead to ensure these communities are well placed to recover.
SME guarantee scheme
- The Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme will provide a guarantee of 50% to small and medium enterprise (SME) lenders for new, unsecured loans to be used for working capital.
- This will enhance these lenders’ willingness and ability to provide credit, which will mean SMEs can access additional funding to help support them through the upcoming months.
- SMEs with a turnover of up to $50 million will be eligible to receive these loans.
It’s also a good idea to look into the different support options available from your state government and any tools and resources, or articles that might be available from business councils or advocacy groups.
Additional resources to help you and your staff
Australian Government website
Need help to understand business.gov.au in your language?
If English isn’t your first language and you’re not able to easily understand business.gov.au, there’s other language options and resources to help.
Utility providers and banks
Find out what support is available to you from your utility providers, banks, insurers and other organisations that your business relies on. Many organisations are making temporary changes to the payment terms for their fees, or are offering access to support programs.
AGL’s COVID-19 updates
Learn how we’re supporting our customers, community and team members.Read more
Mental health resources
Running a business can be stressful at the best of times. It’s never been more important to look after your wellbeing and mental health than during this difficult time. Support is available through organisations like Beyond Blue, Lifeline and the Australian Government.
Businesses evolving through tough times
Interested in learning about businesses pivoting from their conventional operations and adapting to creative alternatives? Gin distilleries and breweries are using their product to create hand sanitiser, and a local greengrocer has introduced a ‘knock and drop’ home delivery service to support the community who are self-isolating.
Helping to keep the lights on
We recognise AGL's role as an essential service provider to millions of Australian homes and businesses, especially during these unfamiliar times. We're supporting our customers and community.Covid-19 Updates