- Last updated:
- 01 Apr 2020
A range of support programs are available for small businesses affected by novel coronavirus, below we have compiled some useful lists to start with.
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
Download the official government “Coronavirus Australia” app in the Apple App Store or Google Play, there is a section for a businesses and employees and a way to report self isolation and so much more. Also, join the WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android.
Additional Information for Sole Traders - Sole traders can access the Federal Government's third stimulus package item of fortnightly wage subsidy up to $1500 in JobKeeper payments. Increased instant asset write off and accelerated depreciation measures for sole traders, as well as increased and accelerated income support payments for sole traders and employees. Early access to superannuation - Sole traders or casual workers with an income or hours reduced by 20% or more, access up to $10,000 of the superannuation tax-free. If you're a sole trader, learn what your business can get and where to go for help. You can also join other sole traders in an online group.
- 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.
- $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 includes access to JobSeeker payments to people with partners who earn up to $80,000 and JobKeeper payments of up to $1500 per employee for businesses to keep staff on.
- Commercial tenants, landlords and financial institutions are encouraged to sit down together to find a way through to ensure that businesses can survive and be there on the other side. As part of this, National Cabinet agreed to a common set of principles, endorsed by Treasurers, to underpin and govern intervention to aid commercial tenancies as follows:
- a short term, temporary moratorium on eviction for non-payment of rent to be applied across commercial tenancies impacted by severe rental distress due to coronavirus;
- tenants and landlords are encouraged to agree on rent relief or temporary amendments to the lease;
- the reduction or waiver of rental payment for a defined period for impacted tenants;
- the ability for tenants to terminate leases and/or seek mediation or conciliation on the grounds of financial distress;
- commercial property owners should ensure that any benefits received in respect of their properties should also benefit their tenants in proportion to the economic impact caused by coronavirus;
- landlords and tenants not significantly affected by coronavirus are expected to honour their lease and rental agreements;
- cost-sharing or deferral of losses between landlords and tenants, with Commonwealth, state and territory governments, local government and financial institutions to consider mechanisms to provide assistance.
- Second economic stimulus package includes relief for workers, and others, already bearing the brunt of the crisis. The government is supporting Australian businesses to manage cash flow challenges and retain employees. The package includes:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Visit the Australian Government business website for more information and support.
- 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.
- Complete the online survey to help the government understand the impact of COVID-19 on your business and assess what support you need.
- For a Queensland Government support package overview read this PDF
- 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.
- Small business financial counselling services - The Rural Financial Counselling Service has been expanded to support any small business impacted by COVID-19 and is funded by grants from government to local organisations that employ financial counsellors. Any small business impacted by COVID-19 can now contact the Small Business Financial Counselling Service Southern Queensland on (07) 4622 5500. A map of Queensland showing the division of Small Business Financial Counselling Service providers can be found here: rfcs-qld-map.pdf
- 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. To register your interest click here or send your full name, phone number and email address to email@example.com or call 1800 623 946.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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 email@example.com
- Rent relief - for small businesses who rent premises from the Queensland Government.
- Visit Business Queensland for further small business support.
Anyone needing to contact council should ideally call 5475 7272 or consider using one of the many convenient online options including MyCouncil, Web Chat, the Call Back service, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rates update - On March 30 we announced that council will be communicating with everyone who has outstanding rates that, if they are experiencing financial difficulty, council will work with them to make a suitable arrangement that takes into account their circumstances. Council will also not be charging interest on outstanding rate payments and will not be pursuing outstanding rates at this time. To support some of our most vulnerable community members and those experiencing homelessness, council is working with the State Government and local community groups, including accommodation providers, to help provide support.
- Economic stimulus package - On March 24 we announced that as part of its efforts to keep money circulating in the local economy and work flowing for the construction and related industries, council will be accelerating programmed maintenance and other works in a number of its facilities while they are closed as a result of complying with public health directions. Council would look to bring forward scheduled works at council facilities such as Venue 114, The Events Centre, Caloundra and Sunshine Coast Stadium. Council is also currently reviewing its Capital Works Program to identify opportunities to bring forward approved and budgeted projects, as a further measure to support the local economy and businesses.
- Additional support for businesses - Council will contact affected businesses to discuss the following additional support measures and the reviewed fees and charges:
- Dedicated staff to assess temporary use permits
- Additional staff focused on building and plumbing approvals to ensure continuity of work/approvals
- Representations made to the State Government on kitchens/liquor licensing and Federal Government on stimulus to support sole suppliers
- Relaxation of curfews in relation to deliveries of essential items to supermarkets/pharmacies
- Footpath/outdoor dining and trading permit fees (reimbursement or waiver from March 1 to July 31)
- Food licensing fees (reimbursement or waiver from March 1 to August 31)
- Community event and major event permit fees (reimbursement/refunds from March 1 to June 30 or ability to postpone for 12 months and bond refunded until new date set)
- Commercial low-use/commercial high use permits (reimbursement or waiver from March 1 to July 31)
- Filming application fees (reimbursement or waiver from March 1 to June 30)
- Venue hire (bookings) - refunds and waiver of normal cancellation fees at all Council venues from March 16 to June 30
- Payment of Infrastructure Charges for MCU developments will be assisted through a Staged Payment process up to three years, complemented with the initial payment being deferred between 6-9 months (interest free). A reduced interest rate (TBA) will run over the life of the staged payment period
- Parking regulators will issue warnings instead of infringements in general unless the infringement relates to health and safety issues or parking in disabled parking spaces
- Paid parking waiver for Caloundra from March 31 to June 30.
- Expediting payments - Sunshine Coast Council will be injecting up to $15 million per month earlier into the local economy by expediting payments to local contractors in a bid to improve cash flow and stem the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses that have undertaken work for council are urged to submit their invoices for receipting, processing and payment as soon as possible and preferably within seven days. Our finance team will do everything it can to expedite the processing of payments and will target paying the invoices within seven days, provided all of the information has been provided, and the goods have been received or the services delivered within contractual arrangements.
- Posters for businesses - keep your customers informed about changes to your trading hours, movements to trading online or take away and delivery only. We have helped you save some time and design struggles by creating printable posters you can download and print yourself or let us know and we will get some printed for you.
- Wellbeing support - Business owners and employees can log in to the free B-Well and Prosper portal available via the council's website to provide mental wellbeing support during this difficult time. For further support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14. It is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
- Funding finder - Businesses can also log on to Sunshine Coast funding finder to see what grants are available to support you.
- Permits - For event operators with approved permits and current applications through Sunshine Coast Council, permit fees will be credited for up to 12 months, please liaise with your community land permit contact. More information on local government support.
- Free online courses - Many businesses are having to change the way they do business, with more outlets going online, using video for meetings and offering delivery. If you or your employees want to update your online skills you can access a free online course - Level Up.
- Contact us - Council’s Economic Development Branch is here to support businesses during this challenging period, please contact our business support officers.