COVID-19 Business Update – 30 September 2020
Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. We hope you and your family are safe and doing well. Read on for this week’s update.
$800m Digital Business Plan to Drive Economic Recovery
The Australian Government has announced a Digital Business plan to enable businesses to take advantage of digital technologies to grow their businesses and create jobs in the wake of COVID-19. PM Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the almost $800 million scheme on Tuesday that will facilitate doing more business online in a post-pandemic world.
Under the plan, the rollout of Australia’s 5G network will be accelerated, the digital capacity of the agriculture, manufacturing, mining, logistics and financial services will be boosted, and Australians will be able to start a new business in 15 minutes using online government services.
If you need our expert advice on how you can start a business or pivot to adapt to the crisis, don’t hesitate to message us.
Victorian Government Accelerates Lifting of COVID-19 Restrictions for Melbourne
Melbourne’s nighttime curfew ends on Monday and COVID-19 restrictions may ease faster than expected, says Victorian Premier Daniel Andrew. This means the state could take its next step towards lifting restrictions as early as 19 October and achieve a potential “Covid-normal Christmas”.
Aside from 127,000 workers returning to various industries, including supermarket, food distribution, food processing, and manufacturing, primary school students can return to schools in the week starting 12 October. Childcare centres can open for all children, and visitors will be allowed in healthcare facilities and hospitals.
Furthermore, public gatherings of people from the same household or a limit of five people from no more than two households will be permitted. Outdoor exercises and activities such as fishing and hiking that don’t involve visiting a facility will also be allowed for a maximum of 2 hours within 5km from home.
We are thinking of everyone doing it tough at this time. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like to discuss future plans for your business.
Major Overhaul to Bankruptcy Laws
After the major changes to the JobSeeker and JobKeeper programs, Australia’s bankruptcy laws have been overhauled, throwing a lifeline to struggling businesses amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Under the proposed changes, businesses with liabilities of less than $1 million will be able to keep operating while they come up with a debt restructuring plan, rather than be placed in the hands of administrators.
The new rules which will become effective from 1 January 2021 follows the government’s decision earlier this month to extend its temporary insolvency and bankruptcy protection rules until the end of 2020.
Supporting Apprentices and Trainees Wage Subsidy Extended
The Supporting Apprentices and Trainees wage subsidy has been expanded and extended to include medium-sized businesses who had an eligible apprentice in place from 1 July 2020.
Eligible employers will receive a wage subsidy of up to 50% of the wages paid until 31 March 2021 worth up to $7,000 per quarter, per eligible apprentice or trainee, to manage their cash flow challenges. 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.
This may be of particular interest to employers who are not eligible for the JobKeeper extension. For professional assistance in applying for this wage subsidy or any other funding assistance, feel free to contact us.
Business Resilience Package for Victorian Businesses
The Victorian government is investing $3 billion in cash grants, tax relief, and cashflow support to aid businesses hit by the tight restrictions and help them prepare for COVID Normal. The types of support included in this package are divided into three categories: Business Support, Business Adaptation, and Waivers and Deferrals.
Included in Business Support is the third round of the Business Support Fund for small- and medium-sized business ($822 million), with applications opening on 18 September 2020.
Meanwhile, Business Adaptation involves funding, tools, and resources to help businesses adapt to COVID Normal. Tax and cashflow support amounting to $1.8 billion will be provided by the government under the Waivers and Deferrals scheme.
For a detailed rundown of the inclusions of the Business Resilience Package, click here. Let us help you assess your eligibility and gain access to government support! Get in touch with us so we can schedule a consultation.
Sole Trader Support Fund
The Victorian Government has announced the Sole Trader Support Fund for eligible non-employing businesses affected by COVID-19 restrictions. Under this scheme, sole traders will receive a grant of $3,000.
Grant applications will open in the coming days and the full list of eligibility criteria will be published soon. We will keep you updated as soon as more information is available.
How Small Businesses Can Source Finance During COVID-19
Although there are government funding schemes and support available, you might still need alternative finance to keep your business going.
If you are not sure where to turn for funding, consider these three sources of finance:
- External sources– This type of finance come from entities outside the business in the form of business loans, merchant cash advance, and invoice financing.
- Internal sources– This is sourcing funds from within the business, typically in the form of share capital and selling of assets.
- Personal sources– This means using your personal funds to finance certain elements of your business. This could mean using your personal savings and investments and selling your personal property.
Government-backed COVID-19 Loans Extended
The government is extending its small business COVID-19 loans scheme until June 2021. If you need help to access these loans or you want to find out if you are eligible, don’t hesitate to drop us a message.
Government Launches Business Continuity Website to Support Businesses Amid COVID-19
The Australian Government has launched the Australian Business Continuity website to support businesses with staff working remotely amid the pandemic.
The site provides free practical tools for remote communications, collaboration, workforce management, and video conferencing, as well as advice on how to best use teleworking services.
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