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Important Information Regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Latest Restrictions

  • 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. Schools and supermarkets can remain open. Read more.
  • To help stop the spread of coronavirus, stay 1.5 metres away from others where possible, wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, avoid touching your face and if sick, stay home. Read more.
  • Non-essential mass gatherings are banned for groups of more than 500 people outdoors, or more than 100 indoors. Read more.
  • There are restrictions on visitors to Residential Aged Care Facilities to protect older Australians. Please check with individual facilities for further information.
  • From 9pm AEDT 20 March 2020, our borders are closed except for Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members. All arrivals into Australia are required to self-isolate for 14 days, either at home or in a hotel. Read more.




Federal Government Stimulus Package - Round 2

The Government has announced a second stage of measures to keep businesses in business and to keep workers in jobs.

This stage of measures is squarely focused on getting businesses and their workers through to the other side of this crisis.

The measures include:

  • A wage subsidy for small and medium businesses to save jobs; and
  • A guarantee on loans to small and medium businesses so they can keep in business.


1.Support to Keep Australians in Jobs

Businesses will be given a cash payment of up to $100,000 for the period March 2020 to September 2020.

That payment will be worth 100% of the tax those small and medium businesses, with a turnover less than $50 million, are withholding from their employees salary and wages.

The payment will be tax free. It will now also be available to eligible charities or other not-for-profit entities.


How the Payment Works

Eligible businesses that withhold tax to the ATO on their employees’ salary and wages – they report it each month or quarter anyway - will receive a payment equal to 100 per cent of the amount withheld, up to a maximum payment of $100,000.

Eligible businesses that pay salary and wages will receive a minimum payment of $20,000, even if they are not required to withhold tax.

In the first package it was announced the cash payment would be 50% of tax withheld worth up to $25,000 in payments or a minimum of $2,000.

This announcement builds on the cash flow boost from the first package worth $6.7 billion.  This new measure is worth $25.2 billion so in total it’s worth $31.9 billion.

The Government expects it will benefit around 690,000 businesses employing around 7.8 million people and 30,000 not-for-profits.

We estimate these businesses employ:

·        NSW – Around 2.5 million people

·        Vic – Around 2 million people

·        Qld – Around 1.5 million people

·        WA – Around 810,000 people

·        SA – Around 480,000 people

·        TAS – Around 155,000 people

·        NT – Around 63,000 people

·        ACT – Around 115,000 people


2. Supporting Small Business to Get to the Other Side With Loans

The Government is announcing a new Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme to support small and medium business with a turnover less than $50 million.

This measure complements the $8 billion worth of measures the banks announced this week to defer repayments for 6 months for small and medium businesses battling the impacts of coronavirus.

The Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme will be able to be accessed by eligible banks and non-bank lenders.


Under the Scheme, the Commonwealth will guarantee 50%, through the participating banks, of an eligible loan to small and medium enterprise customers that have been impacted by the coronavirus.

The Scheme will have the capacity to support lending of $40 billion to small and medium businesses.

Loans will be used for working capital purposes and be unsecured and it will be for loans granted within 6 months starting 1 April 2020.

The Scheme will apply to new or existing customers of banks and non-bank lenders.

Lenders will not be charged a fee for accessing the Scheme.

It will be repayment free for 6 months.

The maximum loan will be $250,000 for a term up to 3 years.

It will not apply to re-financing of existing customers. Those already have existing loans that will benefit from the ABA announcement.

Through this measure, the Government is offering to guarantee $20 billion.

The Australian banking sector announced on 19 March 2020 significant measures – that many individual banks went further than – to support existing loans. Click here for more info.

Today’s announcement also follows the announcement by the Government on 19 March 2020, together with the Reserve Bank, to inject more than $100 billion into the Australia’s financial system. Please click here for the Government’s release and here for the Reserve Bank’s release.


QLD State Government Assistance

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and the State Labor Government have announced the following support measures:


  • Jobs Support Loans
    • A new $500 million loan facility, interest free for the first 12 months, to support Queensland businesses impacted by COVID-19 retain employees and maintain their operations. The $500 million 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. The Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) is responsible for the administration of these concessional loans. For more information or to apply, click here.
  • Deferring payroll tax
    • If your business has been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19), you can defer lodging and paying payroll tax returns until 31 July 2020. For more information, click here.
  • Market diversification and resilience grants
    • The Queensland Government are providing assistance for businesses impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak through the Market Diversification and Resilience Grants (MDRG) program. The MDRG program will benefit Queensland agriculture, food and fishing exporters and their critical supply chain partners, as well as industry organisations working with exporters to build resilience by diversifying into new markets (international or interstate).
    • Equipment purchase grants of up to $7,500 (excluding GST) are available to support new equipment purchases up to a maximum cost of $10,000 (excluding GST). Project grants of up to $50,000 (excluding GST) are also available to support project activities.
    • For more information, click here.       


Other Assistance and Support Measures

Helpline for small businesses impacted by Covid-19

From today, the Morrison Government’s Business Hotline - 13 28 46 - will be expanded to provide specialist advisers and extended hours to support small and medium businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Operations at the 13 28 46 Contact Centre will increase from five days per week to seven days per week, and provide an additional two hours a day of support outside standard operating hours for the first month, answering calls from 7.00 am to 11.00pm AEST.

The Government is rolling out comprehensive, targeted assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and we want businesses who are looking for information to be supported.  

During these challenging times businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 need readily available access to advice so they can fully understand the assistance available to them and their employees.

To read the media release on the helpline, click here.

For more information on the assistance available to businesses please go to

Please also go to .  This site will link you to the latest COVID-19 news, updates and advice from Australian Government Agencies.


Financial Assistance and Grants Available 

Here’s a list of sites that could be handy for your business:


Federal Government subsidies to help cash flow - support for businesses to manage cash flow challenges and help retain their employees 

Federal Government assistance to businesses - information and support for business

State Government support - Queensland small business support

Market diversification and resilience grants - for Queensland agriculture, food and fishing exporters and their critical supply chain partners

Equipment purchase grants - for new equipment purchases to support agriculture, food and fisheries directly impacted

Queensland COVID-19 Jobs Support Loans - QRIDA provide a new $500 million loan facility


General Advice

Queensland Health Information - current health status and advice for Queenslanders

Advice for travellers - restrictions for overseas travel

Great video on how to protect from Coronavirus - renowned doctor shares essential facts

Coronavirus health resources - a collection of resources for the general public and industry

Coronavirus information for employers - information for employers

Australian Government Information Sources For Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Australian Government is closely monitoring the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) across the country and its impacts on our communities.  

The latest information about COVID-19 is available on the Department of Health’s website, including a number of fact sheets and resources for the public.

Latest Australian Government Advice

The latest advice is that people should ‘self isolate’ if they have:

  • Left, or transited through mainland China or Iran in the last 14 days (you must isolate yourself for 14 days from the date of leaving mainland China/Iran)
  • Left, or transited through Republic of Korea on or after 5 March, you must isolate yourself for 14 days after leaving the Republic of Korea
  • Been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus in the last 14 days (you must isolate yourself for 14 days after the date of last contact with the confirmed case).

Information on how to best isolate is contained in the ‘Isolation guidance’ fact sheet.

Businesses may wish to take, and advise their stakeholders about, the following additional precautions including:

  • Increasing general cleaning arrangements in offices and businesses, to include cleaning of common touch points including bench surfaces in kitchens, hand rails, doors handles, etc.
  • Increasing the availability of hand sanitiser at entry points, kitchens and utility rooms for staff and visitors.
  • As is the case in managing the risk of any sort of viral infection, continue to encourage good general hygiene practices such as washing hands and covering mouths while coughing or sneezing. More information about protective measures against coronavirus is available on the World Health Organisation website.

Work related travel

The Government has increased the travel ban to level 4.  This means 'do not go' and applies to every country in the world.

Updated information continues to be made available on Department of Health’s website about how you can protect yourself and others from COVID-19.


Reducing risk in the workplace

The following extracts have been taken from the Department of Health website to assist RDAs in considering what they may need to do.

Good Hygiene

Everyone must practise good hygiene to protect against infection and prevent the virus spreading. Good hygiene includes:

  • covering your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue
  • disposing of tissues properly
  • washing your hands often with soap and water, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet
  • using alcohol-based hand sanitisers
  • cleaning and disinfecting surfaces
  • if you are sick, avoiding contact with others and staying more than 1.5 metres away from people
  • cleaning and sanitising frequently used objects such as mobiles, keys and wallets.


Read more about protective measures against coronavirus on the World Health Organization website.

People that have a confirmed case need to self-quarantine to prevent it spreading to other people.

Social Distancing

One way to slow the spread of viruses is through social distancing. The Department of Health’s Factsheet provides the following specific advice about Social Distancing in the Workplace.

To reduce the spread of germs in the workplace:

  • stay at home if you are sick
  • stop handshaking as a greeting
  • hold meetings via video conferencing or phone call
  • defer large meeting
  • hold essential meetings outside in the open air if possible
  • promote good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene and provide hand sanitisers for all staff and workers
  • take lunch at your desk or outside rather than in the lunch room
  • clean and disinfect high touch surfaces regularly
  • consider opening windows and adjusting air conditioning for more ventilation
  • limit food handling and sharing of food in the workplace
  • reconsider non-essential business travel
  • promote strictest hygiene among food preparation (canteen) staff and their close contacts
  • consider if large gatherings can be rescheduled, staggered or cancelled.

Find out more about social distancing and avoiding public gatherings and visits to vulnerable groups.

The situation in relation to COVID-19 is changing rapidly and the response measures are being adapted accordingly, please continue to refer to the above sources and check for updates. 


Some Helpful Information for Businesses

A recent survey conducted of approximately 400 Qld business leaders found that 62% of respondents agree that the coronavirus has negatively impacted their business, with a further 40% stating that they believe it will have long term impacts on their business.

As a business owner it’s likely you are concerned and perhaps confused about the ‘what if’s’ and ‘how to’s’ of managing your staff and your day-to-day operations if the COIVD-19 escalates in Queensland.
Join CCIQ’s General Manager of Workplace Relations and HR for a free webinar. He will take you through a series of topics to help you practically prepare for a range of scenarios your business may face during this uncertain time.

Another brilliant resource from the Chamber of Commerce & Industry Qld, a free download of Workplace Policies & Templates. 

Be practically prepared for the impacts of COVID-19 (coronavirus) on your workplace with the following workplace policies & templates. Normally valued at $420, you'll receive this entire pack for free:

  1. Working from home overview
  2. Home workplace inspection 
  3. Working from home agreement
  4. Health and safety workplace policy 
  5. Unpaid leave policy 
  6. Workplace hygiene policy 
  7. Business continuity template 

To access, head to their website here.

More Coronavirus assistance

Some more tips for business owners & mangers right now... 

  • Leaders; don't panic. Employees look to you and model your behavior especially in times of crisis. So, remain calm and manage your emotions. Keep employees and contractors updated and respect how they do or don't want to engage in the conversation, everyone is different and handles things differently. 
  • Daycare and school closings could upend the lives of working families who have no other options for childcare. So be empathetic, understanding and as flexible as possible as workers try to navigate the unexpected changes to their lives. 
  • If you manage a business where it's not physically possible for anyone to work from home - especially in one that is directly dealing with people affected by this (think hospitals, medical centers, pharmacies and even Coles!) it's important to support your staff. Give them the tools to handle this in a calm and confident way. Also, some extra breaks, herbal teas or home made chicken soup in the break room also wouldn't go astray!!

Thank you to Engage & Create Consulting for providing this information.

The following links provide some useful tips for running online forums: (small budget event)

This one is a really interesting example:             

  • 2 days
  • 500 delegates
  • 18 presenters

Other tips:

  • Be innovative to support engagement – like with any good face-to-face forum
    • ‘virtual goodie’ bags for participants
    • Virtual door prizes
    • Schedule plenty of breaks
    • Include breaks  - i.e a virtual yoga session J
    • Choose software that has breakout features (i.e. virtual breakout forums)
    • 20 minutes max of uninterrupted screen time
    • Multiple delivery modes – mix it up!!
    • Provide online resources
    • Ask participants ahead of time to complete activities / surveys (really important so as to tailor it to suit their needs)
    • How to support online networking???
    • An excellent moderator!


South East QLD Bushfires

State Government Assistance


Support for Primary Producers, Small Businesses and Not-for-profit organisations

  • Disaster assistance loans - up to $250,000)
  • Disaster assistance loans - essential working capital


The QLD Department of Employment, Small Business & Training ('DESBT') has established the following to support the small business community impacted by the recent Bushfires.  

  • DESBT has established a small business recovery hub co-located within each of the Community recovery centres, our regional staff are managing these hubs and are equipped with the information on hand to provide any impacted business
  • The Customer Centre has established a dedicate number 1300 654 687
  • On the Business Queensland Website, we have activated the survey for small businesses to assess their support needs
  • If there are power outages or difficulty for any member to access, please call the number or visit the centre and the DESBT team will undertake this on your behalf.


Small Business Disaster Recovery Fact Sheets:


Federal Government Assistance

Emergency Hardship Assistance of $180 per person and up $900 for a family to help people immediately with accommodation, food, essential clothing and medication.

Further grants are available to support people with property damage based on their individual situation.

The below grants are means tested

  • Essential Household Contents: $150 per person (up to $750 for a family of five or more) to people who are directly impacted by the loss of one or more essential service (e.g. electricity, gas, water or sewerage) for more than five days.
  • Essential Services Safety and Reconnection Grant: To help owner-occupied households reconnect essential services that were damaged by a disaster. Up to $200 towards a safety inspection for each essential service needing reconnection and up to $4200 towards repair work.
  • Structural Assistance Grant: One-off payment towards the cost of repairs to uninsured, owner-occupied homes to ensure the home is habitable, secure and safe. Up to $10,995 for single adults and up to $14,685 for couples/families.

How can people apply?

  • Call the Community Recovery Hotline 1800 173 349.
  • Online through the Community Recovery Portal,
  • Visit the Community Recovery Hubs.
  • People need their Driver Licence, Medicare Card, Bank Account details - call the recovery centre if they are lost.

Other Assistance

Council announces relief with rate extension 
Southern Downs Regional Council has announced that it will extend the payment due date and discount period for all rate payers by four weeks in recognition of the recent bushfire and drought hardships.  Click here to view media release.

Small Business Rural Financial Counsellor

The primary role of the Small Business Rural Financial Counsellor Service Program is to support Small Businesses in drought impacted areas who are experience hardship associated with the long standing drought conditions.  They aim to identify options which see you, and your business better equipped to manage your circumstances.  The service is free and they have some great ideas and abilities to help. Click here for more information.

South East Queensland Bushfire Assistance

Primary producers who have suffered direct damage from the recent South East Queensland bushfires can apply for an Individually Disaster Stricken Property (IDSP) certificate from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF). This certificate will enable impacted producers to apply for concessional Disaster Assistance Loans up to $250,000 to recover and rebuild.

Application forms, guidelines and further information regarding this assistance is available on the Disaster Assistance Loans page.

GIVIT Partnership
The Southern Downs Regional Council has begun the recovery process throughout areas affected by the bushfires. To do this with utmost efficiency, SDRC has partnered with GIVIT.
GIVIT is a national charitable organisation that connects those who “have” with those who “need” in a safe and private manner for all involved.
Partnering with a registered and reputable organisation, such as GIVIT, means those who donate can remain away from the disaster zones and allow emergency services to conduct their practices unobstructed, without compromising the number of donations available for those in need. Furthermore, the privacy and dignity of those experiencing hardship is respected.  Click here for further information.

Temporary water restrictions amnesty announced for the Stanthorpe area
Southern Downs Regional Council has announced that critical water restrictions of 100L per person per day will be immediately and temporarily lifted for bushfire affected residents and some businesses in the Stanthorpe area.
Water restrictions will be lifted for residents and some businesses on town and tank water, and will continue until 5.00pm Wednesday 18 September.  Click here for further information.

4000L water offer from Council to fire affected properties

In the wake of the recent and destructive bushfires in the Stanthorpe region, Council will offer 4000L of drinking water per property to affected rural land owners at no cost.

Eligible properties directly affected by the bushfires have been identified by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and Council’s water offer will be rolled out across the region in two stages.

The first stage is available immediately until 3pm Wednesday 18 September and offers 4000L of water to affected properties in Stanthorpe and Applethorpe. The second stage will be rolled out to affected properties in Ballandean and Pozieres and these dates will be announced shortly. Click here for further information.


Southern Downs Regional Council Bushfire Recovery Portal

Drought Assistance

Drought assistance programs

The Queensland Government and Australian Government offer programs to help farm families, farm businesses and farm communities affected by drought. This page provides broad descriptions of government drought assistance programs available to Queensland producers.

The latest information on drought declarations and revocations in Queensland is available on the Long Paddock website .

Queensland Government programs

Business assistance

Drought Relief Assistance Scheme

The Drought Relief Assistance Scheme is administered by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries  DRAS provides:

  • freight subsidies for the transport of fodder, water and livestock; and
  • the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate (EWIR).

Access the guidelines and application forms.

Australian Government On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate

Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries is operating the Australian Government On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate on behalf of the Australian Government.  Producers are able to access:

  • a 25% rebate for new purchases and installation of water infrastructure.  This rebate is added automatically to the Queensland Government’s Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate.  There is no need to apply separately for this 25% top up.  Claims from 1 July 2018 and the commencement of the top-up will be automatically paid to applicants that have already received a payment from the Queensland scheme.
  • a 25% rebate for the cost of a contractor to desilt dams on your property under the Australian Dam Desilting Rebate. Access the guidelines and application forms.

A maximum of $25,000 can be accessed through the On-farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate.

Financial counselling services

Read more about financial counselling services.

The Queensland Government has contributed additional funding to the Australian Government's Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS).

Pest animal and weed management in drought-affected areas

The Queensland Government and Australian Government fund projects aimed at wild dog, cat, feral pig, rabbit and weed management in Queensland.

Read more about:

Other drought rebates and fee relief

Find out about other drought rebates and fee relief, including land rent rebates, water fee relief and transport-related drought assistance.

Community and family assistance

A range of counselling services are available for drought-affected communities.

Health care services

Queensland Health provides primary mental health support to drought-affected areas through the Drought Wellbeing Service provided by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Queensland Health also provides grants and coordination of local mental health services through the Tackling Regional Adversity through Integrated Care program to help build community resilience to drought, disaster and other crises.

Transport concessions and school transport allowance

The Department of Transport and Main Roads provides transport concessions for primary producers in drought and increased school transport allowances for some families that drive their children to school or connect with a school bus run.

Australian Government drought assistance

The Australian Government provides a number of assistance measures for farmers and rural communities affected by drought and other hardship. Measures include:

Drought Relief Assistance Scheme guidelines and forms

Australian dam desilting rebate

Drought Communities Programme Extension

Provides Eligible Councils with up to $1 million for local community infrastructure and other drought relief projects for communities impacted by drought.

Who can apply

At a minimum, you must have:

  • an Australian Business Number (ABN); and
  • be an Eligible Council, listed on and GrantConnect; or
  • be invited to apply by the Minister

Other eligibility requirements apply.

Deadline to apply:

Applications close:

  • 30 June 2019 for Eligible Councils announced in 2018
  • 1 December 2019 for Eligible Councils announced in March 2019
  • 1 June 2020 for the Eligible Councils announced during the 2019 election campaign


AGL's Farmers Assist

Unpredictable and intense weather conditions are impacting farming communities across Australia. AGL's Farmers Assist program looks to give farmers greater control and certainty during these challenging times with two new assistance packages available.

Drought Relief Assistance offers eligible AGL customers, who are drought-affected farmers, the opportunity to wipe up to $1,500 (incl GST) of existing debt (as of 18 June 2019) from their AGL business energy account (total across gas/electricity).

Solar Assistance allows eligible drought-affected farmers to receive an upfront discount of between $2,500 -$25,000 (excl GST) on the cost of an AGL supplied and installed solar panel system (between 10kW and 100kW in size).

For more information visit:

How to Apply

AGL’s Farmers Assist packages are available to eligible farmers who are based in AGL serviceable, drought-affected areas of NSW, QLD, VIC, SA or WA until 18 October 2019 unless the subscription limit is reached earlier or that date is extended. Full list of eligibility criteria can be found at

Visit, click on the program you want to apply for and submit a quick and simple online application.

Alternatively, to discuss your applications please call:

Drought Relief Assistance:  131 245

Solar Support Assistance: 1300 361 391


Other Support

The Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul Society and Rotary Australia World Community Service have been engaged to deliver the assistance. Eligible households should reach out to these organisations directly to seek financial support (details below).

The Salvation Army
24 hour hotline: 1300 551 030

St Vincent de Paul 
Hotline: 13 18 12 



Drought Communities Programme


On 7 November 2019, the Australian Government announced a further range of drought measures, including that it would provide $128 million under the Drought Communities Programme Extension to 128 councils, 122 of which had previously received funding and an additional six councils experiencing hardship due to drought. The 128 eligible councils will each be provided $1 million to complete local infrastructure and other drought-relief projects. This brings the commitment under the Drought Communities Programme Extension to $301 million since 2018-19.

More Information


Water for Fodder program set to open next week

Farmers in the southern connected Murray–Darling Basin will soon be able to apply to purchase water at a discounted rate through the Australian Government’s Water for Fodder program.

The department has published guidelines to allow farmers to familiarise themselves with the process before the program opens for applications in the second week of December.

A total of 40 billion litres will be available for purchase this water year (2019 –20) and another 60 billion litres in the next water year (2020–21).

Individual farmers can apply to purchase 50 megalitre allocations for $5,000, or up to 2 allocations of 50 megalitres each if they hold more than 1 water allocation account.

Acting head of Water division, Mary Colreavy, encourages farmers to read the program guidelines this week so they are ready to apply when the program opens.

General Assistance

Need help to pay your electricity or gas bills?                  

You have rights.

Stronger protections are now available to households having trouble paying their energy bills.

The Australian Energy Regulator has taken action to assist vulnerable customers experiencing payment difficulties by introducing an enforceable Customer Hardship Policy Guideline.

Energy retailers have important responsibilities in helping vulnerable customers. The Guideline requires energy retailers to provide consistent minimum standards of assistance, ensure hardship programs are easily accessible and put processes in place to identify customers who may need help.

Customers participating in a hardship program will get access to different payment options, help finding a better energy plan, tips on energy efficiency, and information about government concessions, relief schemes, energy rebates and financial counselling services.

Other help may also be available – All energy providers have a hardship policy that tells you how they can assist you if you are having trouble paying your energy bills due to hardship. You can find it on their website or ask them to post you copy.

If you are in a hardship program and meetings its conditions your energy provider cannot disconnect you.

When life is tough call your energy retailer and talk to them about your situation.

For more information, visit the Australian Energy Regulator’s website at

Lifeline Assistance Contact List


Find our location

Level 1, 516 Ruthven Street,
Toowoomba Qld 4350
PO Box 2519, Toowoomba BC Qld 4350