Coronavirus – Federal Government Support
Coronavirus Information and Resources
The Government is acting decisively in the national interest to support households and businesses and address the significant economic consequences of the Coronavirus.
Contact: Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit at CoronavirusBusinessLiaison@treasury.gov.au or Government Operations Contact Centre, 13 28 46.
The Government’s economic response targets three areas:
1. Support for individuals and households
Income support: Temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments and establishing a new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement of $550 per fortnight for the next 6 months.
Households: In addition to the $750 stimulus payment announced on 12 March 2020, a further $750 payment to social security and veteran income support recipients and eligible concession card holders, except for those who are receiving an income support payment that is eligible to receive the Coronavirus supplement, to be paid on 13 July 2020.
Early access to superannuation: Individuals in financial stress as a result of the Coronavirus will be able to withdraw, tax free, up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. Strict eligibility rules will apply.
2. Support for Businesses
Cashflow for employers: The Government is providing up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium sized businesses, and not-for-profits (including charities) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000. Employers will receive a payment equal to 100 per cent of their salary and wages withheld with a 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.
Relief for financially distressed businesses: A temporary increase to the threshold (from $2,000 to $20,000) at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company and the time companies have to respond to statutory demands they receive (thereby making it very hard for creditors to enforce collection for at least the next 6 months. In addition, temporary relief for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent, temporary flexibility in the Corporations Act 2001 to provide targeted relief for companies from provisions of the Act to deal with unforeseen events that arise as a result of the Coronavirus health crisis. The ATO will tailor solutions for their circumstances, including temporary reduction of payments or deferrals, or withholding enforcement actions including Director Penalty Notices and wind-ups.
Increase to instant write-off: The Government is increasing the instant asset write-off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanding access to include all businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500m (up from $50m) until 30 June 2020.
Backing business investment: The Government is introducing a time limited 15 month investment incentive to support business investment and economic growth over the short-term, by accelerating depreciation deductions (50 per cent of the cost of an eligible asset acquired after announcement and first used or installed by 30 June 2021 is deductible up front. Can be accessed by businesses with aggregated turnover below $500m).
Supporting apprentices and trainees: Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020.
3. Supporting the flow of credit
Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme: As well as other measures to support the flow of credit, establishment of the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme, under which the Government will provide a guarantee of 50 per cent for new unsecured loans to be used for working capital by SMEs with a turnover of up to $50m (up to a maximum of $250,000 per borrower). The loans will be up to three years, with an initial six month repayment holiday. The loans will be in the form of unsecured finance, meaning that borrowers will not have to provide an asset as security for the loan.
Quick and simple access: The Government is providing an exemption from responsible lending obligations for lenders providing credit to existing small business customers. This exemption is for six months, and applies to any credit for business purposes, including new credit, credit limit increases and credit variations and restructures.
Supporting lenders in the securitisation market: $15b to invest in structured finance markets used by smaller lenders, in particular direct investments in primary market securitisations by smaller lenders and in warehouse facilities. Temporary changes to APRA’s expectations regarding bank capital ratios to support banks’ lending to customers.
Wage subsidy - JobKeeper Payment
30 March 2020
Eligible businesses will receive a subsidy of $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee for a period of 6 months from 1 March 2020.
Every eligible employee must receive at least $1,500 per fortnight from this business, before tax. If the employee was earning less than $1,500 per fortnight, then the full $1,500 must still be passed on to them.
For a business still operating, they must continue to pay their staff their regular income but will receive the $1500 payment to subsidise each wage. They must continue to pay the superannuation guarantee on their employee's income.
For a business that has stood down employees, the employer will be required to pay them a minimum $1500 a fortnight. Paying the superannuation guarantee is at the employer's discretion in this case.
The program commences 30 March 2020, with the first payments to be received by eligible businesses in the first week of May as monthly arrears from the Australian Taxation Office. Eligible businesses can begin distributing the JobKeeper payment immediately and will be reimbursed from the first week of May.
Eligible employers will be those with annual turnover of less than $1 billion who self-assess that have a reduction in revenue of 30 per cent or more, since 1 March 2020 over a minimum one-month period.
Eligible employers include businesses structured through companies, partnerships, trusts and sole traders. Not for profit entities, including charities, will also be eligible.
Eligible employees are full time, part time, and long term casuals (over 12 months on a regular basis) including those stood down or rehired.
Eligible employees include Australian residents, New Zealand citizens in Australia who hold a subclass 444 special category visa, and migrants who are eligible for JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance (Other).
Eligible businesses can apply for the payment online and are able to register their interest via www.ato.gov.au
Media Release, 30 March 2020