Regional Development Australia DD&SW | Welcome


  



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.

Details

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 www.business.gov.au 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 www.business.gov.au.

Please also go to https://www.australia.gov.au .  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

http://www.tr.qld.gov.au/community-business/business-support/starting-growing-a-business/14134-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-support-for-business

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:

https://events.humanitix.com.au/common-wealth (small budget event)

This one is a really interesting example:

https://www.bigideasrural.com.au/blog-and-advice/10-things-we-learnt-running-our-first-virtual-summit             

  • 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!

     








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