Important Update For Business From Trevor Evans MP
Coming from a small business family, I understand the enormous pressures that many of you are facing at this time.
Earlier this week, the Federal Government passed laws in the Parliament to deliver an economic support and safety net package. The package is unprecedented in its scale and coverage, designed to keep Australians in work, businesses in business and to cushion the economic blow of this global pandemic.
The Prime Minister’s address to the nation delivered in Parliament may be read here. He has pulled no punches in saying that 2020 will for many of us be the toughest year of our lives, and so it is important we do whatever we can to look out for each other.
THE IMPACT ON SMALL BUSINESSES
The Federal Government recognises that the measures being taken to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus are seeing many otherwise profitable and viable businesses temporarily face financial distress. It is critically important that these businesses have a safety net to support them through the crisis and to make sure that when the crisis has passed they can resume normal business operations.
My office has been working hard to respond to the many queries we’ve been receiving from businesses and residents directly affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, and I’ve collated the most useful key information resources below.
GET THE FACTS
Detailed information on the support available for you and your business can be found in the following key fact sheets:
Support for sole traders to withstand the economic impact of the Coronavirus, including temporary income support.
Supporting the flow of credit in the economy, in particular for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Timely access to credit is vital to help SMEs get through the impact of the Coronavirus.
Delivering support for business investment including increasing the instant asset write-off and accelerating depreciation deductions.
Cash flow assistance for small businesses including measures to boost cashflow for employers and payments to support businesses to retain apprentices and trainees.
Providing temporary relief for financially distressed businesses, including changes to the insolvency laws, to make sure that when this crisis has passed they can resume normal business operations.
Payments to support households who receive various income support payments to help them manage the economic impact of the Coronavirus.
Assistance for severely affected regions and sectors to assist during the outbreak and to help with the recovery.
Enabling Australians to temporarily gain early access to their superannuation.
RESTRICTIONS ON BUSINESS ACTIVITIES TO STOP THE SPREAD
To protect the Australian community from the spread of the coronavirus, the Australian Government has announced various social distancing measures. This has necessarily included placing restrictions on the operation of a number of non-essential services and businesses.
The updated list of prohibited and restricted business activities may be found here. All other business are currently permitted to continue operating. Please be aware that there is currently not a formal process for awarding ‘essential’ status, and nor do we envisage declaring it for individual businesses or industries on a case-by-case basis.
The business.gov.au website will be updated should any further restrictions be put in place.
IS YOUR BUSINESS AN ‘ESSENTIAL SERVICE’?
The Government recognises the need to safeguard the continued operation of manufacturing supply chains for food and health, and to support the provision of these services and other vital community infrastructure. We will continue to work with industry groups and federal, state and territory regulators to ensure that this occurs.
WHAT SUPPORT IS THERE FOR SOLE TRADERS?
If you are a sole trader and do not employ any staff, you may be eligible for:
The instant asset write-off which has been increased to $150,000.
Accelerated depreciation deductions to deduct 50 per cent of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, to support business investment.
The SME Guarantee Scheme to provide funding to meet immediate cash flow needs, by further enhancing lenders’ willingness and ability to provide credit. Businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million will be eligible to receive these loans.
Income support through the new Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight, commencing from 27 April 2020.
Early access to up to $10,000 of your superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21, taxfree. Find out more here.
Your business may also be eligible to defer loan repayments for small businesses.
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is also providing relief for some tax obligations for businesses affected by the outbreak, on a case-by-case basis.
DEFERRAL OF LOAN REPAYMENTS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES BY BANKS
The Australian Banking Association has announced that Australian banks will defer loan repayments for small businesses affected by COVID-19 for 6 months. This is a multi-billion dollar lifeline for small businesses when they need it most. Find more information on the Australian Banking Association website.
ATO ADMINISTRATIVE RELIEF
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) will provide relief for certain tax obligations for taxpayers (including sole traders) 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 receive refunds on previous pay as you go installments. Taxpayers can contact the ATO on 1800 806 218 or visit the ATO website for further information.
KEY INFORMATION RESOURCES
For regularly updated information on the Government’s Economic Response to the Coronavirus, visit treasury.gov.au/coronavirus.
For the latest general coronavirus news, updates and advice from government agencies right across Australia, visit Australia.gov.au.
If you’re unsure about what to do about your health, call the Coronavirus Health Information Line (operating 24/7) on 1800 020 080.
For specific advice on travel matters, visit smartraveller.gov.au.
If you have never claimed or accessed government payments before, this information page from Services Australia explains the process, and how to register an ‘intent to claim’ for income support due to Coronavirus on the myGov website.
PLEASE KEEP GIVING ME YOUR FEEDBACK AND IDEAS
I am recognised as a strong voice for small business in the Government and I have a direct line to senior decision-makers to provide feedback from businesses and professionals.
If you have a concern or case study or suggestion for consideration, or to demonstrate the on-the-ground impact this crisis is having in the Brisbane community, please let me know. Your input will help inform the government’s rapid response in the months ahead as we confront the ongoing challenges created by COVID-19. You can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I understand that this is an extremely challenging time for Australian businesses and families, and thank you for your continuing contributions to our community.
Please continue to follow the advice of medical experts at health.gov.au, and to look out for your fellow Australians. We are all in this together and I know we can pull through to the other side.
Trevor Evans MP
Member for Brisbane