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COVID-19 RESOURCES

COVID-19 (coronavirus) resources, advice and up-to-date information to support tourism businesses in South Australia through this pandemic.

Here you will also find the webinar recordings from our weekly ‘In Conversation Sessions’, featuring industry experts.

For ongoing updates regarding South Australia’s easing of restrictions, click here > 

IMPORTANT TRAINING & PLANNING

COVID CLEAN PRACTICING MODULE

Quality Tourism Accredited businesses have access to the COVID Clean Practicing Business module in the Quality Tourism Framework portal. This complimentary online tool is designed to provide customised checklists to support businesses in their efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and drive consumer confidence. Once completed, businesses will receive a tailored cleaning plan for immediate use. Workplace posters and signage can also be downloaded to help promote best hygiene practices to customers. REGISTER HERE >

COVID-SAFE PLAN

The State Government has launched the COVID-Safe Plan. Businesses that are involved in a defined public activity MUST complete a Plan before they are permitted to reopen. START YOUR PLAN > 

SA COVID-19 AWARENESS TRAINING

The South Australian Tourism Commission has launched COVID-19 Awareness Training for business owners and employees in the tourism sector. This FREE 30-minute online course aims to further support businesses in their effort to control the spread and build consumer confidence. REGISTER HERE >

IN CONVERSATION SESSIONS

IN CONVERSATION WITH FESTIVALS ADELAIDE

Justyna Jochym, CEO of Festivals Adelaide will outline the future of festivals in Adelaide and share an insight into the impact of COVID-19 on the market.

She will also discuss how 2021 is shaping up particularly the traditional Mad March period.

Continue the conversation by subscribing to our new industry forum >

INFORMATION & SUPPORT

IN CONVERSATION SESSIONS

$189 Billion Stimulus Package

The Federal Government has committed to a $189 billion stimulus package to support businesses and households through this difficult time. Some of the highlights include:

Increasing the instant asset write-off:
– The instant asset write-off 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.

Backing business investment:
– 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.

Supporting apprentices & 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.

Support for individuals:
– $550 per fortnight over the next six months for both existing and new recipients of the Jobseeker Payment, Youth Allowance Jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.

Support to households:
– Two separate $750 payments to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. The first payment will be made from 31 March 2020 and the second payment made from 13 July 2020.

Temporary early release of superannuation:
– Individuals affected by COVID-19 will be able to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. Individuals will not need to pay tax on the amounts released.

Reducing social security deeming rates:
– As of 1 May 2020, the upper deeming rate will be 2.25 per cent and the lower deeming rate will be 0.25 per cent.  

Boosting cash flow for employers:
– The government is providing up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium-sized businesses, and not-for-profits that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000.

– Small and medium-sized businesses with aggregated annual turnover under $50 million and that employ workers are eligible.

– 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.

– An additional payment in July – October period, meaning eligible entities will receive at least $20,000 and up to a total of $100,000 under both payments.

Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses:
– The government is temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand initiating bankruptcy and increasing the time companies and individuals must respond to statutory demands.

Support for coronavirus-affected regions and communities:
– The government will set aside $1 billion to support regions most significantly affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

– The airline industry will receive relief from a number of taxes and government charges estimated up to $715 million. 

Support for immediate cash flow needs for small and medium enterprises (SMEs):
– Under the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme, the government will provide a guarantee of 50 per cent to SME lenders to support new short-term unsecured loans to SMEs. The Scheme will guarantee up to $40 billion of new lending

Quick and efficient access to credit for small businesses:
– The government is cutting red tape by providing a temporary exemption from responsible lending obligations for lenders providing credit to existing small business customers.

Supporting the flow and reducing the cost of credit:
– The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) announced a term funding facility for the banking system. Banks will have access to at least $90 million in funding at a fixed rate of 0.25 per cent to help reduce interest rates for borrowers.

Support for Non-ADI and smaller ADI lenders in the securitisation market:
– The Government is providing the Australian Office of Financial Management with $15 billion to invest in structured finance markets used by smaller lenders, including non-Authorised Deposit-Taking Institutions (non-ADI) and smaller Authorised Deposit-Taking Institutions (ADI).

Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority — ensuring banks are well placed to lend:
– The Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority has announced temporary changes to its expectations regarding bank capital ratios. The changes will support banks’ lending to customers, particularly if they wish to take advantage of the new facility being offered by the RBA.

Further details on how you can apply for the above support will be released shortly. For the latest information, click here.

Australian Taxation Office Support

The Australian Taxation Office will tailor solutions for owners or directors of businesses, including the reduction of payments or deferrals, or withholding enforcement actions including Director Penalty Notices.

Administrative measures announced by the ATO:
– Deferring by up to four months the payment date of amounts due through the business activity statement (including PAYG instalments), income tax assessments, fringe benefits tax assessments and excise.

– Allow businesses on a quarterly reporting cycle to opt into monthly GST reporting in order to get quicker access to GST refunds they may be entitled to.

– Allowing businesses to vary Pay As You Go (PAYG) instalment amounts to zero for the March 2020 quarter. Businesses that vary their PAYG instalment to zero can also claim a refund for any instalments made for the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters.

– Remitting any interest and penalties, incurred on or after 23 January 2020, that have been applied to tax liabilities.

– Working with affected businesses to help them pay their existing and ongoing tax liabilities by allowing them to enter into low interest payment plans.

Jobs Rescue Package

Premier Steven Marshall has unveiled a $650Million emergency Jobs Rescue Package, taking the state’s total economic response to the coronavirus crisis to $1 billion.

Key points:

Payroll tax relief (up to $60M of savings to business):
– 6-month waiver for all businesses with an annual payroll (grouped) up to $4M.

– Eligible businesses won’t have to pay any payroll tax from April to September.

– This measure is expected to assist up to 2,400 businesses and save them up to $84,000 over the six months (average saving $25,000).

– Employers with grouped annual wages above $4M able to defer payroll tax payments for 6 months on demonstration of significant impacts on cash flow of coronavirus.

– Around 4,300 businesses will be able to access this payroll deferral and is expected to increase overall cash flow by around $580M.

Land tax relief (Up to $13M in additional savings):
– From July, the Government’s significant land tax reforms will kick in, delivering $189M in savings to investors and landlords over the next three years.

– Under the new measures, individuals and businesses with outstanding quarterly bills for 2019-20 able to defer payments for 6 months (up to 28,000 private land tax ownerships will benefit).

– For 2020-21 Land Tax Transition Fund relief will be increased from 50% to 100% based on existing relief criteria guidelines – saving some investors up to $50,000.

Fees and Charges:
– Waiver of liquor licence fees for 2020-21 for those hotels, restaurants, cafes and clubs forced to close as a result of new social distancing restrictions.

$300M Business and Jobs Support Fund:
– A fund to support individual businesses and industry sectors directly affected by coronavirus and face potential collapse – and the loss of thousands of jobs – as a result.

$250M Community and Jobs Fund:
– A fund to support community organisations, sporting, arts and recreational bodies, non-profit organisations as well as some industry sectors whose operations have been impacted by the coronavirus.

– Will also help with training of South Australians seeking new skills and employment and to assist organisations meet increased demand for services including emergency relief.

Cost of Living Concessions (An estimated additional benefit of about $30M):
– A once-off boost of $500 and bring forward the 2020-21 ‘Cost of Living Concession’ for households who are receiving the Centrelink JobSeeker Payment, assisting those who are unemployed or lose their jobs as a result of the coronavirus restrictions.

– For eligible homeowners, their 2020-21 payment of $215.10 will now become $715.10. Eligible tenants will receive $607.60.

Access to accrued leave for public sector workforce:
– If a public servant has a family member who has lost their job and moved onto Commonwealth benefits, they will be able to receive their accrued leave down to a limit of two retained weeks (annual and long service leave).

The government also has established a new Industry Response and Recovery Council, including TiCSA CEO, Shaun de Bruyn. This group represents key industries to help inform the response to the economic challenges created by the global pandemic.

For more information and how to apply to the Funds, email: BusinessandJobsSupportFund@sa.gov.au or  CommunityandJobsSupportFund@sa.gov.au.

Information sourced from Hood Sweeney – proud partner of TiCSA. 

JobKeeper Payment

The Federal Government has announced a $130 billion JobKeeper payment to help keep more Australians in jobs and support businesses affected by the significant economic impact caused by the coronavirus. Affected employers will be able to access a subsidy to continue paying their employees, which will help reactive operations quickly when the crisis is over.

Eligible employers can claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 (before tax) per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum period of six months. The first payments will be received by employers in the first week of May.

Key points:
– The JobKeeper Payment is designed to help businesses affected by the Coronavirus to cover the costs of their employees’ wages so more employees can retain their jobs and continue to earn an income.

– It will be available to full-time and part-time workers, sole traders, and casuals who have been with their employer for 12 months or more.

– JobKeeper will also be available to the self-employed.

– Businesses with a turnover of less than $1Billion will be eligible if their revenue had dropped by 30% or more since the crisis hit.

– Businesses with a turnover of more than $1Billion will be eligible if their revenue had dropped by 50% or more since the crisis hit.

– The employer must have been in an employment relationship with eligible employees as at 1 March 2020 and confirm that each eligible employee is currently engaged in order to receive JobKeeper Payment.

– This is a temporary scheme open to businesses impacted by the Coronavirus.

– Employers must elect to participate, which is done via an application process.

–  The scheme runs from 30 March with first payment to be received in early May.

Unlike the Jobseeker payment through Centrelink, for people who have been let go due to economic downturn, the JobKeeper plan is to subsidise employee wages, to support businesses to keep them on.

For more information, click here. You can also register for JobKeeper updates from the ATO.

Download the fact sheet for employers >

Downlad the fact sheet for employees >

Information sourced from Hood Sweeney – proud partner of TiCSA.

COVID-19 Export Capital Facility

The Australian Government has established a $500 million COVID-19 Export Capital Facility to assist previously profitable Australian exporters whose businesses have been impacted by COVID-19.

Exporters will be able to access loans from $250,000 to $50 million under the Facility. The Facility will complement other measures announced by the Government which enable banks to support new and existing clients. Exporters should contact their banks in the first instance to determine what assistance may be available to them. 

$5.7M Financial Support Package for Local Tourism Operators & Events

A new $5.7M financial support package for local tourism operators and events has been announced by Premier Steven Marshall and the South Australian Tourism Commission.

The packages include grants of $5K or $10K depending on turnover, as well as access to Digital Training Programs for free, a Resilience & Rebound Project and a Regional Funding Support Program. Read more >

Banks Extend Relief for Borrowers

By Hood Sweeney – proud partner of TiCSA

Australian banks have begun outlining products and facilities they can offer to COVID-19 affected businesses and individuals to provide temporary cash-flow relief.

As the fanfare around taking a holiday from meeting loan repayments settles, it is increasingly clear that accessing relief from your bank can require a detailed application process and come with some stringent terms.

We urge our clients to seek expert advice at this time to assess what works for their personal situation. Deferral of repayments is not for everyone and should be considered carefully.

What may seem like an ‘easy’ solution may not be the best, so it is vital to understand ALL the options available to you, so you can make an educated decision.

Here are some of the relief measures for commercial and residential lenders:

Commercial Lending

Deferral on Loan Repayments

Enables eligible businesses impacted by COVID-19 to defer principal and interest payments of business term loans, equipment finance facilities and equipment loans, for six months to help manage their cash flow.

– Eligibility is determined based on your application.

– For businesses with loans up to $10M.

– Includes commercial property customers, who commit to supporting their tenants throughout the six-month payment deferral period by ensuring they can continue to operate from their premises even if they are unable to pay their rent.

– Where the business is operated in Australia with less than 20% foreign ownership.

– For customers with above $3M total business lending exposure, with current facilities that have not been in arrears in the last 90 days.

– Customers with an overdraft facility are encouraged to utilise their available balance before seeking further support from their bank.

– Businesses with total loans of more than $10M – may also be eligible for relief but this would be considered on a case by case basis.

About the deferment
– Interest deferred will be capitalised.

– Any current fixed-rate period will be extended by six months at that fixed-term rate.

– Your loan term will be extended by at least six months.

SME Guarantee Scheme

SMEs with a turnover of up to $50M – may be eligible for new unsecured loans to use for fixed costs. The government will provide a guarantee of 50% to SME lenders for these loans.

To apply businesses affected by COVID-19 must:
– Have exhausted existing undrawn loan limits as well as government stimulus packages and deferred repayments and still require further cash flow relief to meet fixed costs.

– Be an Australian business with turnover less than $50M a year.

– Use loans for business purposes only.

– Have a clear credit rating.

– Be up to date with any statutory payments.

– Be able to outline how COVID-19 has impacted the business i.e.: quantify impact on turnover.

– Must apply to your existing bank, up to 30 September 2020.

How it Works:
– Eligibility is determined based on an application.

– Loan amount is determined by confirming fixed expenses from 1 July 2019 to end Dec 2019.

– Loan amount is offered for a three-year term.

– The first six months is interest only with interest capitalised.

– The resulting loan amount is subject to principal & interest repayments over 2.5 years.

– Interest rate applicable is around 4% – made possible by government support.

Unsecured loans are a product of last resort offered by the banks. Ultimately it is your bank that decides which provision can apply to you and your business.

That means a structured, full application process is essential.

Hood Sweeney Finance can assist with quickly determining a customer’s eligibility and assisting with guidance on how to best prepare the information required for a successful application. Please ring Jonathan McLachlan, Commercial Lending Specialist of Hood Sweeney Finance#, to discuss your options and the application process, on 1300 764 200 or email jonathon.mclachlan@hoodsweeney.com.au.

Retail Banking

The key offering for banks during the COVID-19 crisis is:

A six-month pause on making repayments on home loans, to relieve cash flow pressures for individuals whose earnings have been threatened. Each lender is considering this to varying degrees. Careful consideration needs to be taken when looking at this option and should be understood based on your personal situation.

– It’s important to note that the interest is capitalised, which means it continues to accrue on the whole amount of the loan during this time and you will end up paying back more.

– This could mean that your repayments increase after this deferral period, or your loan term will need to be extended.

– This option should be carefully considered if you’ve had a significant impact to your household income. However, there are some alternative options if your household has not been significantly impacted at this time.

Options that may be more suitable include:

– A pricing review on an existing loan, either from your existing bank or understand what other banks are currently offering.

  • With two RBA interest rate cuts in March, not all lenders have passed this savings onto its customers.
  • We have seen a significant reduction in fixed rates by many of the lenders, so could be worthwhile seeing if locking in your repayments is something to secure at this time.
  • Interest rates are historically low, with the cash rate only 0.25% so unsure whether we will see any further reduction in interest rates in the immediate future.

– You may be a candidate to consider extending the loan term to reduce the repayments.

– Or you may consider consolidating debts.

  • e.g. If you have a home loan, credit card debt, and a personal loan, it may be viable to consolidate the debt and pay just one interest rate, paring back your repayments and saving you interest

– In the investment space, investors, with principal and interest loans may want to consider interest-only repayments for a set period, especially if their tenants are unable to continue paying rent due to job loss.

There are plenty more options beyond putting repayments on hold – your relationship manager can have a conversation with you about what could work for your personal situation. Ring Jaime Aplin, Lending Specialist of Hood Sweeney Finance# on 1300 764 200 or email jaime.aplin@hoodsweeney.com.au.

Refunds & Cancellations

– Small business guidance about refunds and cancellations due to COVID-19, click here to download. 

Support for landlords & tenants

– The State Government has proposed some initiatives aimed at helping residential tenants and landlords whose incomes have been affected by COVID-19. The proposed measures include a short-term moratorium on eviction for non-payment of rent due to severe rental distress as a result of COVID-19, and preventing landlords from increasing rent.

– Where tenants are impacted by COVID-19 but still have the capacity to pay their rent, they should continue doing so. Tenants and landlords are encouraged to work together on an agreement and – where an agreement cannot be reached – the matter may need to go before SACAT. Read more > 

– State Government agencies are offering rent relief for business tenants that have been forced to close or are significantly impacted by the virus. Read more >

Other Grants & Support Services

– The Disaster Recovery Allowance provides people whose income has been reduced because of a declared major disaster with a short-term allowance for up to 13 weeks.

– Disaster Assistance provides assistance and support to businesses across Australia that have been affected by natural disasters.

You may find other grant opportunities applicable to your business via the links below:

Mental Health Support

– Beyond Blue has developed a guide to help small business owners improve their mental health and wellbeing at work.

– Support for mental health and wellbeing is available from Lifeline (13 11 14) and Beyond Blue (1300 224 636).

– The Be Well Plan is a free program being delivered by the SAHMRI Wellbeing Centre and Flinders Orama Institute. The program helps people to develop a personalised mental health and wellbeing plan for good and challenging times.

– The Department of Education, Skills and Employment has released a series of videos with various experts to support small business wellbeing.

My Business Health gives businesses easy access to tools, templates and tips to manage stress and proactively engage with their business in times of crisis.

– The State Government has set up a new line to provide localised support for South Australians who need mental health support as a result of COVID-19. The service will offer video and phone support and is staffed by trained Lifeline counsellors. The line will be staffed from 8am to 8pm, phone 1800 632 753.

– National Mental Health Commission has developed #InThisTogether – a national conversation sharing practical tips online to support the mental health and wellbeing of Australians during COVID-19.

– For information and assistance regarding personal hardship, contact the COVID-19 Relief Call Centre on 1300 705 336.

Resources

– COVID-19 guidance principles for tour and transport operators.

– Refer to SA Health for updates and advice regarding hygiene standards and protocols. We encourage you to keep your customers informed of your health and safety practices. 

– SA COVID-19 Information and Advice Line – 1800 253 787.

– For more information about COVID-19, contact the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 or visit coronavirus (COVID-19) resources

– The Australian Government publishes a daily alert with the latest medical advice and official reports.

– The South Australian Tourism Commission has a dedicated webpage for useful resources related to COVID-19. You may also want to subscribe to their e-newsletter for regular tourism updates. 

– The Australian Government Department of Health has developed some hygiene publications to assist businesses.

covid-19.sa.gov.au is a one-stop-shop for South Australian individual and businesses.

– For information and assistance regarding personal hardship, contact the COVID-19 Relief Call Centre on 1300 705 336.

– As part of their Resilience and Rebound Program, the South Australian Tourism Commission has uploaded useful resources to their corporate website to help businesses rebound.

– Business.gov.au have developed an easy to use marketing kit to promote the range of support available to help small businesses during COVID-19.