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Financial and Business Support

Last updated: 15 May 2020

Find information below about some of the financial and economic stimulus measures available in response to COVID-19.

If you're looking for employment opportunities in our region, we recommend you visit Outback Queensland Jobs, an online jobs-board powered by our partners at Rapad Employment Services Queensland.

Visit Outback Queensland Jobs

Did you know sole traders are also eligible to apply for the $1500 per fortnight JobKeeper payments?

JobKeeper package - a subsidy of up to $1500 per fortnight. Businesses and sole traders can register their interest in this program with the Australian Tax Office. The JobKeeper Payment factsheet states the first payment will be received by employers from the ATO in the first week of May. Read the FAQs or visit the Treasury website.

Registered charities are now able to access the JobKeeper COVID-19 wage subsidy if they experience a 15 per cent decline in turnover (reduced from the 30 per cent decline threshold currently in place for all businesses with a turnover of $1 billion or less).

Get financial advice - ASIC has provided relief to industry so businesses can provide affordable and timely financial advice during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of its COVID-19 economic response, the Government introduced measures to allow individuals facing particular financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic to access their superannuation early – up to $10,000 in 2019-2020 and a further $10,000 in 2020-2021. The decision to access superannuation early is significant and Australians should seek information and assistance from superannuation funds, financial advisers and registered tax agents before making any decisions. ASIC has provided tax accountants to provide such advice as well as for a shorter Record of Advice to be provided by super funds and has capped costs at $300.

Mandatory Code of Conduct for Commercial Tenancies - Landlords will be required to reduce rents proportionate to the reduction in trade experienced by their tenants (if they are small to medium-sized retail, office and industrial businesses in distress) due to COVID-19. Rental relief would be proportional to a tenant’s decline in turnover and provided in two parts: (at least) 50% as a waiver and 50% as a deferral for payment over the remaining term of the lease.

COVID-19 Job Hub - The Australian Government has released a COVID-19 Job Hub to help the many employees that have been adversely affected by COVID-19 and reducing workforces, to more easily access jobs in health and care sectors, transport and logistics, some areas of retail, mining and mining services, manufacturing, agriculture and government sectors, among others that are experiencing increases in demand.

Australian Business Continuity online resource centre provides access to free business services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit engages with business regularly and provides updates to government on crucial issues.

Export Market Development Grants - $49.8 million support package for Export Market Development Grants, allowing exporters and tourism businesses to get additional reimbursements for costs incurred in marketing their products and services.

Third economic stimulus package:

  • JobSeeker payments to people with partners who earn up to $80,000.
  • JobKeeper payments of up to $1500 per employee for businesses to keep staff on, and sole traders also eligible.

Second economic stimulus package:

  • temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
  • Coronavirus affected regions and sectors.
  • Boosting cash flow for employers to keep staff - Businesses and not-for-profits, with a turnover less than $50 million will receive a tax-free cash payment of up to $100,000 to help them retain staff and continue operating. Under the enhanced scheme, employers will receive a payment equal to 100 per cent of their salary and wages withheld (up from 50 per cent), with the maximum payment being increased from $25,000 to $50,000. In addition, the minimum payment is being increased from $2,000 to $10,000. During July-October 2020 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.
  • Apprentices and trainees - if you employ an apprentice or trainee you may be eligible for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of their wage paid from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. You can register for the subsidy from early April 2020. 
  • Temporary relief bankruptcy - the government will make a number of changes to the personal insolvency system regulated by the Bankruptcy Act 1966. The threshold for the minimum amount of debt required for a creditor to initiate bankruptcy proceedings against a debtor will temporarily increase from its current level of $5000 to $20,000. This will apply for six months. Failure to respond to a bankruptcy notice is the most common act of bankruptcy. The time a debtor has to respond to a bankruptcy notice will be temporarily increased from 21 days to six months. The extension will give a debtor more time to consider repayment arrangements before they could be forced into bankruptcy. This will apply for six months.
  • Increasing the instant asset write-off - the threshold has been increased from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanded access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million). This applies from 12 March 2020 until 30 June 2020, for new or secondhand assets first used or installed ready for use in this timeframe.
  • Tax relief - If you are experiencing difficulties with tax obligations because of COVID-19, you can phone the Australian Taxation Office Emergency Support Infoline on 1800 806 218 for help tailored to your circumstances or email COVID-19Taxissues@ato.gov.au
  • Backing business investment - a time limited 15-month 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.

Restrictions on elective surgery will gradually ease from Tuesday 28 April.

The Australian Government has now received 58 million protective face masks that will help protect frontline health workers at risk of COVID-19. 

Visit the Australian Government business website for more information and support.

Start here first

  • Call for advice - local teams are ready to talk you through the support and services on offer – call 1300 654 687 to find out more.
  • Business assistance finder - Use the Queensland Government Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Assistance Finder to learn what support you may be eligible for.
  • Complete the online survey to help the government understand the impact of COVID-19 on your business and assess what support you need. 
  • Read the Queensland Government support package overview.
  • Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning has compiled a useful factsheet of assistance available to you from far and wide.

Additional support

  • $2.5 billion for a series of measures including payroll tax relief; a worker displacement programelectricity bill rebates for eligible small and medium sized businesses; liquor licensing fee waiver; and assistance to support large businesses scale up when economic activity improves.
  • $200 credit on water and electricity for all 2.1 million households to offset the cost of water and electricity.
  • $400 million in land tax relief and payment deferrals for commercial and residential property owners. To apply, visit qld.gov.au/landtax
  • Queensland job seekers can register their details, skills and location via the Jobs Finder Queensland portal and access free online training. An online portal jobsfinder.qld.gov.au is available to connect Queenslanders who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 with new job opportunities.
  • Several changes have been made to help Queenslanders with costs and requirements relating to personal and business vehicle registration if they are not currently using the vehicle. There is also a freeze on heavy vehicle registration fees until 30 June 2021. Visit www.qld.gov.au/transport/registration for information.
  • Temporary use licence applications now open - Temporary use licences allow the holder to change or vary existing development approval conditions or other operating constraints. An example of this may be to vary the hours of construction to ensure that social distancing compliance among workers does not slow progress. The temporary use licence will not remove the need to obtain any other approvals that might be required by local, state and/or Commonwealth jurisdictions. Applicants can download the new form here. The application form must be returned to the Department’s TUL email address.
  • Payroll tax relief package - if your business has been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19), you may be able to apply for a relief package to defer lodging and paying payroll tax returns until 31 July 2020.  
  • Job support loans - Register your interest to access the new $500 million loan facility. This is interest free for the first 12 months to support Queensland businesses impacted by COVID-19 retain employees and maintain their operations. This 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. Send your full name, phone number and email address to register your interest or call 1800 623 946. This is now closed and applications are being processed.
  • Mentoring sessions - mentors are available to provide tailored support including financial mentoring and business planning. Register at the website or contact 1300 654 687 or m4g@desbt.qld.gov.au
  • Financial workshops - workshops will be delivered to support a place-based approach for small businesses. Register your interest at the registrations page or call 1300 654 687 or info@desbt.qld.gov.au
  • Rent relief -  for small businesses who rent premises from the Queensland Government. A new online rental hub covid19.qld.gov.au/the-hub has information and resources to help tenants, property owners and agents.
  • Posters and other resources for your business.
  • Queensland legal practitioners able to use video conferencing technology to conduct a range of transactions that usually require face-to-face meetings. The making of documents such as wills, general powers of attorney, enduring powers of attorney, advance health directives, statutory declarations, deeds and many other types of documents are also available under the modified arrangements.
    Visit Business Queensland for further small business support.
  • Hotlines 
    • Centrelink Employment Services and Job Network - 13 28 50

    • Jobactive - 13 62 58

    • For help in accessing the appropriate service call 13 QGOV (13 74 68)

  • Workplace obligations and entitlements – Fair Work Australia offers help and advice for employees with entitlements during this time.  
  • Employee rights, entitlement and pay - Keep on top of your responsibilities and ensure your staff know where they can find any information they might want.
    Worker transition scheme and rapid response provides information and support services to workers who may find themselves without work as a result of business closures or redundancy programs.
  • MyGov support - Information and services to help you if you’re affected by coronavirus.
  • Job seeker support - payment and services to support people seeking work. 
  • Casual employees - The Australian Government is making support payments quicker to access by waiving the usual waiting period periods for casual employees. Plus a coronavirus supplement of $550 a fortnight for the next six months, on top of other benefits, such as JobSeeker Payment.
  • Remember to tell your accountant this tax time if you worked from home during the COVID-19 outbreak as that might change what you can claim.
  • 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 closures or redundancy programs. You can email for financial, job seeking and career information support. 
  • Early access to superannuation - Casual workers with an income or hours reduced by 20% or more, access up to $10,000 of their superannuation tax-free. 
  • Vulnerable employees in workplace -  on March 30 National Cabinet endorsed the AHPPC advice that: Where vulnerable workers undertake essential work, a risk assessment must be undertaken. Risk needs to be assessed and mitigated with consideration of the characteristics of the worker, the workplace and the work. This includes ensuring vulnerable people are redeployed to non-customer based roles where possible. Where risk cannot be appropriately mitigated, employers and employees should consider alternate arrangements to accommodate a workplace absence. Special provisions apply to essential workers who are at higher risk of serious illness and, where the risk cannot be sufficiently mitigated, should not work in high risk settings.

Emergency business hotlines
Federal Government Business Hotline - 13 28 46
Queensland Business Hotline - 1300 654 687
Australian Taxation Office Emergency Hotline - 1800 806 218
Centrelink Hotline - 13 74 68 

Boosting cash flow - Temporary cash flow support to small and medium businesses  through two sets of cash flow boosts to support employers to retain employees. Support provided via tax-free cash flow boosts of between $20,000 and $100,000

Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme –  the Australian Government will provide a guarantee of 50% to support short-term loans. 

JobKeeper package - offers a subsidy of up to $1500 per fortnight per employee to keep eligible businesses paying their staff. Employers and sole traders can register their interest in this program with the Australian Tax Office. The JobKeeper Payment factsheet for employers states the first payment will be received by employers from the ATO in the first week of May.

Supporting apprentices and trainees - Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50% of their apprentice’s or trainee’s wage paid during 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. As of 2 April 2020, Registrations are now open for small businesses, and other eligible employers, to apply for the 50 per cent wage subsidy for apprentices. 

Job support loans - Loan for Queensland businesses to retain employees and maintain their operations. Low interest loans of up to $250,000 are available to assist with carry-on expenses such as employee wages, rent and rates and other related expenditure. Eligible business types include sole traders, partnerships, private and public companies and Trusts.

Payroll tax relief package - SMEs may be eligible for one or more of a range of payroll tax relief measures as a result of the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses - The Australian Government is temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issues a statutory demand

Finance for exporters - Export Finance Australia provides commercial loans, guarantees and bonds when the banks are unable to help. Speak to Export Finance Australia’s experienced team on 1800 093 724. 

SME power bill relief - Small and medium businesses may be eligible for $500 rebate off their energy bill.

Rent relief -  for small businesses who rent premises from the Queensland Government.

Commercial and residential tenancies - Evictions will be put on hold over the next 6 months for commercial and residential tenancies in financial distress, who are unable to meet their commitments due to the impact of the coronavirus. Commercial tenants, landlords and financial institutions are encouraged to talk about short term agreements.

Charities and non-for-profit organisations - information can be found at the Australian Charities and Non-For-Profits Commission