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COVID-19 UPDATES

Job Keeper Payment for Employers

The JobKeeper Payment scheme has been extended until 28 March 2021.

From 28 September 2020: employers need to demonstrate their actual GST turnover has fallen agaist a comparable period; and tier 1 and tier 2 JobKeeper rates apply and are generally based on average hours worked by employees.

JobKeeper fortnights Tier 1 rate Tier 2 rate
28 September 2020 – 3 January 2021 $1200  $750 
4 January 2021 – 28 March 2021 $1000  $650 

For the JobKeeper fortnights starting 28 Sept 2020 and 12 Oct 2020 only, the ATO are allowing employers until 31 Oct 2020 to meet the wage condition for all employees including the JobKeeper scheme.

Employers do not need to re-enrol to claim payments in the first extension if they are already enrolled in JobKeeper. They just need to check their continuing eligibility and submit this information to us online from 1 October 2020.

Employers also need to tell us the payment tier they are claiming for each eligible employee or business participant in their November monthly business declaration.

If you have employees you will need to ask them to complete a JobKeeper employee nomination notice and return it to you by the end of the month in which yolyu want to start claiming.

Job Keeper Payment for Soles Traders and other entities

Sole traders and some other entities (such as partnerships trusts or companies) may be eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment if their turnover has reduced.

The JobKeeper Payment scheme has been extended until 28 March 2021.

From 28 September 2020: you need to demonstrate your actual GST turnover has fallen agaist a comparable period

For the JobKeeper fortnights starting 28 Sept 2020 and 12 Oct 2020 only, the ATO are allowing sole traders until 31 Oct 2020 to meet the wage condition.

For the JobKeeper fortnights from 28 September 2020, there are 2 payment rates:

  • a Tier 1 – 20 or more hours per week
  • a Tier 2  – less than 20 hours per week

The payment rate will also have 2 stages, with the rate reducing after a certain date. The rates in the table below are before

JobKeeper fortnights Tier 1 rate Tier 2 rate
28 September 2020 – 3 January 2021 $1200  $750 
4 January 2021 – 28 March 2021 $1000  $650 

Sole-traders do not need to re-enrol to claim payments in the first extension if they are already enrolled in JobKeeper. They just need to check their continuing eligibility and submit this information to us online from 1 October 2020.

Sole-traders also need to tell the ATO the payment tier they are claiming for in their November monthly business declaration.

 

 

Job Keeper changes to the Fair Work Act

To support the operation of the JobKeeper scheme, temporary JobKeeper provisions have been added to the Fair Work Act to give certain employers increased flexibility to manage their workplaces during the impact of coronavirus. The provisions started on 9 April 2020 and apply until 29 March 2021, with some changes from 28 September 2020.

The new provisions enable employers who qualify for the JobKeeper scheme can temporarily: stand down an employee (including by reducing their hours or days of work); change an employee’s usual duties; and/or change an employee’s location of work.

The new provisions also enables employers who qualify for the JobKeeper scheme to make agreements with their employees to change their days and times of work and take annual leave in certain circumstances.

Planning checklists to help businesses reopen and be COVIDSafe

It is important to have a COVIDSafe plan to keep your workplace healthy, safe and virus-free. The Federal Government has created a checklist which is in three section: keeping people safe; adapting my business and accessing support and assistance. Select button below for details and to download the plan.

Backing Business Investments (BBI)

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.

SME Loan Guarantee Scheme

The Federal Government will provide a guarantee of 50% to small and medium enterprise’s (SME), including not-for-profit (turnover of less than $50 million) for new unsecured loans to be used for cash flow. The loans will be up to three years, with an initial six-month repayment holiday. There are no fees involve in submitting an application or for participating in the Scheme. Maximum loan $250,000 per borrower. The Scheme will be available for new loans made by participating lenders until 30 June 2021

Loans for Australian Exporters

Australian exporters impacted by the COVID-19 crisis will now have access to business-saving loans between $250,000 and $50 million under a new $500 million capital facility to be administered by Export Finance Australia. The loans are available to established and previously profitable exporters who, due to COVID-19, are unable to gain finance from commercial sources.

Apprentice and Trainee wage subsidy

The Australian Government is extending and expanding the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees wage subsidy, to include medium-sized businesses who had an eligible apprentice in place on 1 July 2020.
Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the eligible apprentice or trainee’s wages paid until 31 March 2021. In addition to the existing support for small businesses, medium-sized businesses will now be eligible for the subsidy, for wages paid from 1 July 2020 to 31 March 2021. Subsidies will also be available to any new employer who re-engages an eligible apprentice that was displaced by an eligible small or medium sized business.

Changes to Annual Leave in Fair Work Awards

​The determinations inserted a temporary new Schedule X into these 99 awards, which provided 2 weeks of unpaid pandemic leave and the ability to take twice as much annual leave at half their normal pay if their employer agreed. Schedule X in each award was initially due to end on 30 June 2020.

On 30 June 2020, the Commission extended Schedule X in some awards. The current end date for the extended unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave provisions for most awards is 29 March 2021. 

 

ATO – deferred GST on imports

As an importer, the deferred goods and services tax (DGST) scheme allows you to defer payment of GST on all taxable imports into Australia. You need to apply to the ATO for approval.

Agriculture & Fisheries: International Freight Support (IFAM) measures

Through the IFAM, the government is partially offsetting the cost of airfreight – reducing airfreight and freight forwarding costs for exporters and ensuring you can get your produce on flights and to internal customers quickly.

In October 2020, the Australian Government committed a further $317.1 million to extend IFAM until the middle of 2021. This is in addition to the $241.9 million injection announced in July 2020

To access the IFAM you must register your interest

Agricultural seasonal employers must have a health management plan

Agricultural seasonal worker employers, transporters and accommodation providers must have a health management plan in place. Employers must comply with stringent record keeping on the health status of their workforce

AMSA – All National Law Exceptions have been extended until 30Jun25

AMSA have extended existing exemptions to provide seafarers and operators with continuity and certainty.

If you are currently operating under an exemption that expires on the 30 June 2020, it has now been automatically extended for 5 years, until 30 June 2025.  

You do not need to re-apply to AMSA, if your approval was in force on 30 June 2020, you can still operate under the exemption. The exemption will be automatically extended.

See the full list of exemptions extended and key changes made by clicking link below

 

National industry-specific work health and safety guidance and tools

There is now a nationally-consistent, industry-specific work health and safety guidance on COVID-19, accessible via a central hub provided by Sae Work Australia. Australian workplaces will be able to use this central hub of WHS guidance and tools to help manage health and safety risks posed by COVID-19

TAFE Covid Safe FREE micro credentials

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, TAFE Queensland, in conjunction with the Queensland Government, is offering a range of education and training to support individuals, and small, medium and large businesses.

COVID Safe for Dining In & COVID Safe for Beauty therapy, nail salons, tanning, tattoo parlours and spas.

Click on link for details and to apply

Free Online Training for Small Business

If your business has been impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, you can access a free online library of course tailored to small business.

Course areas include:

  • Foundation business skills
  • Leading a successful business
  • Connecting businesses and customers
  • Adaption and digital skills.

The online training is being provided through GO1 and its online learning platform, in partnership with the Queensland Government, to support you and your employees recover from COVID-19 and enable future growth.

Access is free to Queensland small businesses. Registration is required, including details to verify your business.

Hardship payment for casual workers & eligible employees with coronavirus (COVID-19)

This hardship payment from the Queensland Government is available for eligible casual employees of businesses trading in Queensland, as well as eligible employees who have exhausted their sick leave entitlements, and who contract coronavirus (COVID-19) outside of their workplace.

From 5 June 2020, a payment of $1,500 is available to eligible Queensland workers who may face financial hardship through enforced quarantine if they contract coronavirus (COVID-19) outside of their workplace.

Select link for Eligibility criteria

Payroll Tax exemption on JobKeeper payments

The  is not liable for Queensland payroll tax.

Example

Paula receives JobKeeper payments of $1,500 per fortnight for each of her employees Adam and Michelle.

  • Adam’s wages are $1,500 per fortnight, which are fully subsidised by the JobKeeper payment. Paula does not include this $1,500 payment as wages for payroll tax purposes.
  • Michelle’s wages are $2,000 per fortnight, which includes the $1,500 JobKeeper payment and $500 in ordinary wages. Paula must include the $500 of wages for payroll tax purposes, but not the $1,500 JobKeeper payment.

The QLD Small Business Commissioner role established to help Small Business with leases during COVID-19

The Queensland Small Business Commissioner is a statutory office holder, temporarily established until 31 December 2020 under the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020.

The Office of the Queensland Small Business Commissioner (OQSBC) provides information and advocacy support to small businesses, and informal resolution and mediation of coronavirus (COVID-19) affected small business leases.

What the OQSBC does

The key functions of the OQSBC include:

  • providing information and advisory services to small businesses in Queensland about matters relevant to them
  • assisting small businesses with informal resolution of COVID-19 small business leasing disputes. This includes providing initial information and advisory services, and pre-mediation services to connect tenants and landlords to try to identify solutions prior to progressing to mediation
  • administering a small business lease dispute mediation process (where information or pre-mediation support has not resolved the dispute), before progressing to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) or the courts for dispute resolution.

Employing workers in agribusiness and commercial fisheries during COVID-19

The Queensland Government has introduced measures to help agribusiness and commercial fisheries access seasonal workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. This ensures seasonal work can continue so Queensland’s food supplies are secure while meeting coronavirus (COVID-19) public health directions.

Queensland agribusiness and commercial fisheries rely on workers throughout the year to plant, harvest and carry out maintenance. Select link for more details

Residential Tenancies Practice Guide to navigate tenancies

The Tenancy practice guide for the temporary requirements and protections for tenancies impacted by COVID-19 is now available. It will help property owners and their tenants int heir discussions to negotiate a way through 2020

Land Tax Relief

You may be eligible for one or more of the following land tax relief measures:

  • a 3-month deferral of land tax liabilities for the 2020-21 assessment year
  • land tax rebate reducing land tax liabilities by 25% for eligible properties for the 2019-20 assessment year
  • waiver of the 2% land tax foreign surcharge for foreign entities for the 2019-20 assessment year.

Deferral

Your land tax liability will be deferred for 3 months.

For example, if last year’s assessment notice was dated 1 November 2019 and you are liable for land tax again this year, we will not issue your 2020–21 notice before 1 February 2021.

You do not need to apply for the deferral.

Land tax rebate

You can apply for the land tax rebate up to 31 October 2020.

The rebate:

  • does not apply to owner-occupied land
  • is only available if you owned an eligible property at 30 June 2019 and were liable for land tax in relation to the property
  • does not need to be repaid if the eligibility conditions are met.

Select link for eligibility requirements…

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 closure or redundancy programs.
Assistance under the scheme includes: engaging with administrators to offer worker transition scheme assistance, coordinating assistance from government departments; monitoring progress on payment of all entitlements; where possible, assisting retrenched workers on where they might find new employment and advising of government training schemes if new skills are required for their next job; and assisting businesses affected by changes in the supply chain.

For further assistance, contact EconomicRecovery@dsdmip.qld.gov.au

Food license fees refund

$1 million refund on food licensing fees for businesses. This will be an automatic refund – no application required.

COVID-19 Community Organisation Hardship and Assistance Grant

Financial assistance for community organisations experiencing hardship as a result of COVID-19. Eligible applications are community organisations that: are based in the Moreton Bay Region and/or can demonstrate that the proposed project will substantially benefit residents of the Moreton Bay Region; and have $20 million public liability insurance, if required by Council. Maximum funding $10,000.

To make an application, contact Council’s Grants Team on (07) 3205 0555 or email grants@moretonbay.qld.gov.au.

Accelerated asset maintenance works

$2 million in accelerated asset maintenance works to help keep businesses and local people employed on local projects. Businesses that haven’t yet done so are urged to register with Council’s supplier marketplaces through the supplier portal. Council will give preference to projects that use local procurement and local suppliers.

Rates Rebate

​As part of a $15 million stimulus package for the region, Council has introduced a $200 rates rebate to assist owners of residential owner-occupied properties who are experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

If you meet the criteria, a rebate of $100 will be applied to your rates account for the current quarter regardless of when you apply during the quarter. A second rebate of $100 will then automatically be applied to the rate notice issued in July 2020.

Only one rebate per quarter will be provided to each eligible property, regardless of the number of owners that may be eligible.

Payment Plan

If you are experiencing financial hardship you can enter a payment plan with Council, to pay off your rates. Payment plans are available to everyone including those who are receiving a rebate.

As part of a range of assistance measures to support the community through the COVID-19 pandemic, Council has resolved on 13 May 2020 that interest will not be charged on overdue rates and charges for the period 1 April 2020 to 30 September 2020.

Select link to apply for rates rebate or enter a payment plan

Unity Water Customer Relief Package

Available to all businesses and residential customers facing difficulties. Extra 30 days to pay and no interest on overdue bills for the next 6 months, starting from 2 April 2020.

CCIQ Free Workplace Policies & Templates

Free policies and templates, including working from home and business continuity, to help your business be practically prepared for the impacts of COVID-19. Normally valued at $42, you will receive the entire pack for free. The pack includes: working from home overview; home workplace inspection; working from home agreement; health and safety workplace policy; unpaid leave policy; workplace hygiene policy; and business continuity template.

COVID-19 Business Packages/Support

Select the TABS to view what business packages/support is available at each level of Government and from the Private Section (Other).
You can also use the QLD Government Business Finder Tool (below) to view what is available from the Federal and State Government for your type of business.

Please note: details on all government assistance packages is changing rapidly. We are updating this page as new information comes to hand. We are also sending an email every Monday with the latest updates. If you wish to receive these email updates please subscribe below.

Business Assistance Finder Tool

Select your Business size (from zero to 200+), select your industry and this tool will show you what QLD and Australian Government packages/support is available for your business.