COVID-19 business support

Council financial response package

Loddon Shire has developed a financial response package to assist residents, businesses and the wider community with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first element is the development of formal COVID-19 Financial Hardship Guidelines.

Measures to help those suffering financial hardship will take the form of assistance in establishing payment plans for both overdue and upcoming 2020/21 rates and charges, waived interest on overdue rates and waste charges from 16 March 2020 until 30 June 2021 and a hold on legal action for the collection of rates and charges.

For further information and to discuss individual situations please contact the rates department on 5494 1200.

Victorian Government

The Victorian Government has opened a hotline for businesses dealing with the challenges of COVID-19. Businesses can phone 13 22 15 to ask about support services, including those available through Business Victoria. 

https://www.business.vic.gov.au/

Download the Economic Survival Package fact sheet: https://www.business.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/1888997/Economic-Survival-Program-Fact-Sheet.pdf

Business Victoria finder

Business Victoria has launched a new finder to help businesses, sole traders, apprentices, trainees, or employees identify support or financial assistance available during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Business Support Fund

As part of an economic survival package, the Victorian Government has established a Business Support Fund to assist small to medium businesses most impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The package is aimed at helping Victorian businesses and workers survive the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Businesses are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to keep their operations running and hopefully come out the other side of the pandemic in sufficiently viable shape to continue operations. Applications for the Business Support Fund are now open. Funding of $10,000 per small business is available and will be allocated through a grant process. To be eligible, businesses must already employ staff, have payroll of less than $650,000 and a turnover of more than $75,000. Please click on the link below for more details on the Business Support Fund https://www.business.vic.gov.au/support-for-your-business/grants-and-assistance/business-support-fund

As part of the package, the Government will provide full payroll tax refunds for the 2019-2020 financial year to small and medium-sized businesses with payroll of less than $3 million.

The same businesses will also be able to defer any payroll tax for the first three months of the 2020/21 financial year until 1 January 2021, freeing up a further $83 million in cash flow.

Rent relief

Commercial tenants in government buildings can apply for rent relief and 2020 land tax payments will be deferred for eligible small businesses.

A moratorium on evictions will be introduced for the next 6 months for residential and commercial tenants who are experiencing financial distress due to the impact of Coronavirus. This will apply across all states and territories.

https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/resources-and-tools/advice-in-a-disaster/coronavirus-covid19-and-your-rights#renting

Liquor licensing

The Government will support the hospitality sector by waiving liquor licensing fees for 2020 for affected venues and small businesses.

Working for Victoria Fund

The Government has also facilitated job matching to help Victorians find short-term or casual roles.

Under the Working for Victoria Fund, displaced workers will be eligible to apply for different types of work. This presents opportunities for paid work and an opportunity to contribute to Victoria’s ability to manage this event and support the community.

https://www.vic.gov.au/workingforvictoria

Upskill My Business Platform

On the 21st of May 2020, the Victorian Government launched 'Upskill My Business platform' which provides free access to online programs, short courses and online events on topics including business innovation, cultural diversity and export preparation. The platform is part of the $1.7 billion Economic Survival Package. Visit the Upskill my Business website or call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15 for more information. 

Agriculture Victoria

COVID-19 information for farmers and producers http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/agriculture/emergencies/coronavirus

The Australian Government

The Australian Government is supporting Australian business to manage cash flow challenges and retain employees. Assistance includes boosting cash flows for employers, temporary relief for financially distressed businesses, increasing the instant asset write-off, backing business investment and supporting apprentices and trainees.

A Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit has been established within the Treasury to engage with business on a regular basis and provide updates to government on crucial issues.

Support for regions, communities and industries

The Government has set aside funds to support those regions, communities and industries that have been disproportionately affected by the economic impacts of the Coronavirus, including those heavily reliant on industries such as tourism, agriculture and education. The funds will be spent through existing or newly established Government programs or initiatives.

The fund will also be used to provide additional assistance to help businesses identify alternative export markets or disrupted supply chains. Targeted measures will also be developed to further promote tourism.

The Australian Tax Office

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) will provide administrative relief for certain tax obligations (similar to relief provided following the bushfires) for taxpayers affected by the Coronavirus outbreak, on a case-by-case basis.

This includes the ability to defer payment of certain taxes up to six months, and allowing businesses to vary pay as you go instalment amounts to zero for the March 2020 quarter. Business that vary to zero can claim a refund for any instalments made for the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters. The ATO will consider ways to enhance its presence in significantly affected regions, making it easier for people to apply for relief.

For more information on the Australian Government’s Economic Response to the Coronavirus visit https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus.

Sole traders

Sole traders who do not employ staff are eligible for the increased instant asset write-off. Under normal circumstances, individual assets less than $30,000 are eligible for the instant asset write off. The Government has lifted this threshold to $150,000 for assets that are either installed or ready for first use by 30 June 2020.

https://www.business.gov.au/Risk-management/Emergency-management/Coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business/Instant-Asset-Write-Off

There will be expanded eligibility to income support payments and a new, time‑limited Coronavirus supplement. This supplement will be paid to both existing and new recipients of the eligible payment categories.

For the period of the Coronavirus supplement, there will be expanded access to the income support payments to include sole traders, the self‑employed, casual workers and contract workers who meet the income tests as a result of the economic downturn due to the Coronavirus. This could also include a person required to care for someone who is affected by the Coronavirus.

https://www.business.gov.au/Risk-management/Emergency-management/Coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business/Increased-and-accelerated-income-support

JobKeeper

The Government has established the JobKeeper Payment. Businesses impacted by the coronavirus will be able to access a subsidy from the Government to continue paying their employees. This assistance will help businesses to keep people in their jobs and re-start when the crisis is over. For employees, this means they can keep their job and earn an income – even if their hours have been cut. This is a temporary scheme open to businesses impacted by the virus. It is will also be available to the self-employed.

To find out about eligibility and how to apply, visit https://www.business.gov.au/risk-management/emergency-management/coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business/jobkeeper-payment

Banking

Australian banks will defer loan repayments for small businesses affected by COVID-19 for six months from March 2020.

The Australian Banking Association announced a small business relief package from Australia’s banks which will apply to more than $100 billion of existing small business loans.

Banks started reaching out to small businesses from Monday 23 March 2020 to offer assistance and packages. Any small business who has not already been contacted should contact their bank to apply.

Read more: https://bit.ly/3acUaEw

Other business support

Victorian Business Together webinar series

If you're a business owner now working from the home, this Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry webinar series is an easy way to stay up-to-date on the state of affairs in the Victorian business community. Every Wednesday, guest speakers will share their knowledge and insights on topical themes. The first two webinars were Cashflow and Workplace Relations. Check for a new topic every Wednesday morning.

https://www.victorianchamber.com.au/training/events

Relief package for energy customers

The electricity and gas network businesses have committed to delivering support for customers enduring hardships as a result of COVID-19.

Powercor has announced a relief package for small business and residential customers who have been impacted or temporarily ceased trading as a result of the pandemic.

This package provides direct support for affected small business and residential customers impacted by COVID-19 and will assist those facing hardships. The support is backdated to provide eligible customers with relief from 1 April 2020.

Energy providers are currently developing information that will be sent to all customers outlining the package and the process of how it is administered. In the meantime or for further advice, call the Powercor general inquiries number 13 22 06.