FAQs for Local Businesses

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Business Support FAQs

Federal, state and local governments are all providing support for small businesses who are impacted by Novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The following information about support services is available for businesses.

Australian Government Support and Information

JobKeeper Payments -  The Government has announced a $130 billion JobKeeper payment to help keep more Australians in jobs and support businesses affected by the significant economic impact caused by the Coronavirus. Around 6 million workers will receive a fortnightly payment of $1,500 (before tax) through their employer.

The Australian Government business website is the central hub for information and support made available from the Australian Government.

Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit - Treasury has established this Unit to engage with business on a regular basis and provide updates to government on crucial issues.

Places of social gathering close - The latest restrictions which have been announced for pubs, licensed clubs and hotels (excluding accommodation), places of worship, gyms, indoor sporting venues, cinemas, casinos to close from midday Monday, March 23. Restaurants and cafes to offer takeaway only. 

Federal Government second economic stimulus package - This $66 billion package includes relief for workers, and others, who are already impacted by the crisis. The Australian Government is supporting local businesses to manage cash flow challenges and retain employees. Some of the assistance includes cash flow support to businesses and temporary measures to provide relief for financially distressed businesses. The elements of this package include boosting cash flow for employerstemporary relief for financially distressed businessesincreasing the instant asset write-offbacking business investment and supporting apprentices and trainees as well as  more information on Coronavirus-affected regions and sectors.

Employers who want to keep staff - Businesses, and not-for-profits, with a turnover of less than $50 million will receive a tax-free cash payment of up to $100,000 to help them retain staff and continue operating. By linking the payments to staff wage tax withholdings, businesses are being given an incentive to hold on to more of their workers. Under the enhanced scheme, employers will receive a payment equal to 100 per cent of their salary and wages withheld (up from 50 per cent), with the maximum payment being increased from $25,000 to $50,000. In addition, the minimum payment is being increased from $2,000 to $10,000. An additional payment is also being introduced in the July – October 2020 period. Eligible entities will receive an additional payment equal to the total of all of the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers payments they have received. This means that eligible entities will receive at least $20,000 up to a total of $100,000 under both payments.

Temporary relief bankruptcy - To assist individuals, the Government will make a number of changes to the personal insolvency system regulated by the Bankruptcy Act 1966. The threshold for the minimum amount of debt required for a creditor to initiate bankruptcy proceedings against a debtor will temporarily increase from its current level of $5,000 to $20,000. This will apply for six months. Failure to respond to a bankruptcy notice is the most common act of bankruptcy. The time a debtor has to respond to a bankruptcy notice will be temporarily increased from 21 days to six months. The extension will give a debtor more time to consider repayment arrangements before they could be forced into bankruptcy. This will apply for six months.

Support for sole traders - Sole traders without any employees are eligible for the instant asset write-off, banking business investment and accelerated income support.

Payment and Service Finder - Helps local employers understand what they are eligible for and how they can claim online.

Job seekers support - this page has information on payment and services to support local people who are seeking work.

Increasing the instant asset write-off - the instant asset write-off threshold has been increased from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanded access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million). This applies from 12 March 2020 until 30 June 2020, for new or secondhand assets first used or installed ready for use in this timeframe. 

Backing business investment - a time limited 15-month investment incentive to support business investment and economic growth over the short term, by accelerating depreciation deductions. This applies to eligible assets acquired from 12 March 2020 and first used or installed by 30 June 2021. Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million will be able to deduct 50 per cent of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset cost. 

Boosting cash flow for employers - Provides $25,000 back to small and medium-sized businesses, with a minimum payment of $2,000 for eligible businesses. The payment will provide cash flow support to businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million that employ staff. The payment will be tax free. 

Supporting apprentices and trainees - if you employ an apprentice or trainee you may be eligible for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of their wage paid from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. You can register for the subsidy from early April 2020. 

Safe Work Australia - for advice on work health and safety requirements in your workplace, including designing flexible work arrangementssafe telecommuting, ergonomic guide to computer-based workstations, and avoiding the risks of working alone.

Travelling for work - Australia has stopped non-residents and citizens from entering Australia. All those allowed to enter Australia must self-isolate in quarantine alone for 14 days. Some states and territories, including Queensland, are following suit with their borders and the Federal Government has asked people to stop all non-essential domestic and international travel. If you need to travel for work, make sure have the right travel advice and know how to protect yourself and others if you're affected by the COVID-19. Make sure you and your staff check Smart Traveller prior to travelling. The ACCC also has advice related to event and travel cancellations.

Tax relief - If you are experiencing difficulties with tax obligations because of COVID-19, you can phone the Australian Taxation Office Emergency Support Infoline on 1800 806 218 for help tailored to your circumstances or email COVID-19Taxissues@ato.gov.au

Fair Work Ombudsman answers questions from Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman - Standing down staff, payment if self-isolating, personal leave requirements if isolating, leave to look after children, hour reduction and more.

MyGov Support - Information and services to help you if you’re affected by coronavirus.

Queensland Government Support and Information

The Queensland Government has made a number of announcements to support businesses in the State, including in the Rockhampton Region.

Visit Business Queensland for small business support or call the dedicated Smart Business Hotline on 1300 654 687.

Payroll Tax Relief - Small and medium businesses and large businesses specifically impacted by COVID-19 are eligible for a refund of two months’ worth of payroll tax as well as a three-month payroll tax holiday and a further six-month payroll tax deferral.

Job support loans - Register your interest to access the new $500 million loan facility. This is interest free for the first 12 months to support Queensland businesses impacted by COVID-19 retain employees and maintain their operations. This concessional loan facility will comprise low interest loans of up to $250,000 for carry on finance with an initial 12-month interest free period for businesses to retain staff.

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.

Small business financial counselling services - The Rural Financial Counselling Service traditionally provides free financial advice to primary producers who are suffering financial hardship and have no alternative sources of impartial financial information. This service has been expanded to support any Small Business impacted by COVID-19 and is funded by grants from government to local organisations that employ financial counsellors. Any Small Business impacted by COVID-19 can now contact the Small Business Financial Counselling Service Southern Queensland on (07) 4622 5500. A map of Queensland showing the division of Small Business Financial Counselling Service providers can be found here: rfcs-qld-map.pdf

Employee rights, entitlement and pay - All the information you need to keep on top of your responsibilities and ensure your staff know where they can find any information they might want.

Business Impact Surveycomplete the online survey to help the Queensland government understand the impact of COVID-19 on your business and assess what support you need. 

Mentoring sessions - mentors are available to provide tailored support including financial mentoring and business planning. Register at the website or contact 1300 654 687 or m4g@desbt.qld.gov.au 

Financial workshops - workshops will be delivered to support a place-based approach for the local small business community. Register your interest at registrations page
or by contacting 1300 654 687 or info@desbt.qld.gov.au 

Immediate industry recovery package - market diversification and resilience grants are available for Queensland agriculture, food and fishing exporters and their critical supply chain partners, as well as industry organisations working with exporters.  

Support for tourism operators and hospitality providers - fees and charges relief for tourism operators and hospitality providers include: waiving application fees for some variations to liquor licences, waiving registration renewal fees for inbound tour operators, waiving of daily fees for commercial activity agreements and permits, rebate on marina charges and passenger levies, deferral of Tourism Lease Rent Payments

Tourism impact survey - the Queensland Government is continuing to keep a close eye on the impacts of COVID-19 on Queensland’s tourism industry, please take a few minutes to complete this short survey so there is robust information about the business impacts that are being experienced.

Support for fisheries - market diversification and resilience grants will be available to support activities including, but not limited to, market evaluation studies, market visits, training, new processing equipment such as refrigeration or cryovac machines, and boat modifications necessary to meet new market requirements. The catch area for tropical rock lobster will be extended for three months to reduce operating costs for quota holders and enable alternative markets to be developed. Fishing boat licence fees and quota fees for tropical rock lobster and coral trout will be temporarily waived. For further information, fishers can contact the DAF Customer Service Centre on 13 25 23. 

Support for exporters - the $1.1 million ‘market ready’ initiative will provide tailored export advice to SMEs on leveraging opportunities in the Chinese online market, support brand development by providing market intelligence and expert advice for exporters entering new markets and host China market development forums to provide practical export advice. 

Employer and business obligations - find out how to meet your employer and business obligations.

Manufacturers - if you are finding it difficult to obtain vital materials and supplies to remain open, complete the Manufacturer’s Supply Matching Request form.

Retail - For information on trading hours of retail shops in Queensland.

Worker transition scheme and rapid response - the Worker Transition Scheme and rapid response provides a suite of information and support services to workers who may find themselves without work as a result of business closures or redundancy programs. 

Work Safe Queensland - for workplace risk management information and advice.

Counselling and support: 

Rockhampton Regional Council Support and Information