COVID-19 Stimulus

COVID-19 Stimulus

The Commonwealth and State Governments are supporting households and businesses to deal with the economic consequences of Coronavirus. The initial Commonwealth Government Economic Response was announced on 12 March 2020 with a second stimulus announced on 22 March to support workers, businesses and the community.

The Commonwealth Government’s economic response targets three areas:

Support for Businesses 

Support for Individuals and Households 

Supporting the Flow of Credit 

State Governments have also launched their own stimulus packages in response to COVID-19.

Click on the links below to view the stimulus package available in each state and territory:







Support for Businesses

The Government is supporting businesses to manage cash flow challenges and retain employees. Assistance includes cash flow support and measures to provide relief for financially distressed businesses. Elements of the Economic Response for Australian businesses include:

  • Boosting cash flow for employers 
  • Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses 
  • Increasing the instant asset write-off 
  • Backing business investment 
  • Supporting apprentices and trainees

Find Out How Much Your Business Is Eligible For

Download our free Excel Calculator to discover the amount your business can receive from the Government Stimulus Package.

Boosting Cash Flow for Employers

The Government is providing up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium-sized businesses, and not for-profits (NFPs) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000. These payments will help businesses and NFPs with their cash flow so they can keep operating, pay their rent, electricity and other bills and retain staff.

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.

An additional payment is also being introduced in the July – October 2020 period. 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 for Financially Distressed Businesses

The Government is temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company and the time companies have to respond to statutory demands they receive. The package also includes temporary relief for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent, and providing temporary flexibility in the Corporations Act 2001 to provide temporary and targeted relief from provisions of the Act to deal with unforeseen events that arise as a result of the Coronavirus health crisis.

Increasing the Instant Asset Write-off

The Government is increasing the instant asset write-off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanding access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million) until 30 June 2020.

Backing Business Investment

The Government is introducing a time limited 15 month investment incentive (through to 30 June 2021) to support business investment and economic growth over the short term, by accelerating depreciation deductions. 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’s cost.

Supporting Apprentices and Trainees

The Government is supporting small business to retain their apprentices and trainees. Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Where a small business is not able to retain an apprentice, the subsidy will be available to a new employer that employs that apprentice. Employers will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee ($7,000 per quarter).

Individual and Family Support

The Australian Government is providing financial assistance to Australians. This assistance includes income support payments, payments to support households and temporary early releases of superannuation.

  • Income support for individuals 
  • Payments to support households
  • Temporary early release of superannuation 
  • Temporarily reducing superannuation minimum drawdown rates
  • Reducing social security deeming rates

Income support for individuals 

Over the next six months, the Government is temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments and establishing a new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight. This will be paid to both existing and new recipients of JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance Jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.

Payments to Support Households

The Government is providing 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 will be made from 13 July 2020.

Temporary early release of superannuation 

The Government is allowing individuals affected by the Coronavirus 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 amounts released and the money they withdraw will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

Temporarily Reducing Superannuation Minimum Drawdown Rates

The Government is temporarily reducing superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products by 50 per cent for 2019-20 and 2020-21. This measure will benefit retirees holding these products by reducing the need to sell investment assets to fund minimum drawdown requirements.

Reducing Social Security Deeming Rates

On 12 March, the Government announced a 0.5 percentage point reduction in both the upper and lower social security deeming rates. The Government will now reduce these rates by another 0.25 percentage points. 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. The reductions reflect the low interest rate environment and its impact on the income from savings.

Flow of Credit Support

The Government, the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority have taken coordinated action to ensure the flow of credit in the Australian economy. Timely access to credit is vital for businesses to manage the impacts of the Coronavirus.

Support for immediate cash flow needs for 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 business

The Government is cutting red tape by providing a temporary exemption from responsible lending obligations for lenders providing credit to existing small business customers. This reform will help small businesses get access to credit quickly and efficiently.


Payroll Tax Waived

For businesses whose total grouped Australian wages for the 2019/20 financial year is less than $10M:

  • will have their annual tax liability reduced by 25% when they lodge their annual reconciliation, which is due on 28 July.
  • For those customers who lodge and pay monthly will have no payment required for the months of March, April or May 2020 will be required. ie. the payroll tax is completely waived
  • When lodging your annual reconciliation, you will still need to provide wage details paid in these months and will receive the benefit of a 25% reduction in the amount of tax you would have had to pay for 2019-20.

💡 How to apply?

  • This will be automatically applied for the payroll tax returns covering above mentioned periods.

Fees waived

The New South Wales government is also scrapping certain fees and charges that apply to businesses in vulnerable sectors.

These include fees for bars, cafes, restaurants and trades people.

Employment boost

The state government has pledged $250 million to employ additional cleaning staff for public infrastructure, such as public transport assets, schools and public buildings.

The government has announced $250 million to spend on fast-tracking the maintenance of public assets, including social housing and fencing, as well as $500 million to bring forward capital works and maintenance.


Business Grants for Melbourne Businesses

The city of Melbourne is offering $5 million in grants for small to medium sized businesses to invest in online and e-commerce capabilities, take part in training and professional development, and undertake capital works.

Grants include:

  • Up to $5000 for investing in online and e-commerce activities.
  • Up to $2000 for training and professional development.
  • Up to $10,000 for capital works projects (matching dollar-for-dollar) to adapt to changing conditions.

💡 How to apply?

  • Eligible businesses and organisations can apply online.
  • To discuss your situation, or if you have any questions, contact our COVID-19 Business Concierge Hotline on 9658 9658 (press 1 for business).

Payroll Tax Concessions

  • Businesses with annual taxable wages up to $3 million will have their payroll tax for the 2019-20 financial year waived.
  • Eligible businesses must continue to lodge returns but do not need to make further payments for the 2020 financial year.
  • The State Revenue Office will directly contact eligible businesses in relation to reimbursement for payroll tax already paid in the financial year.

💡 How to apply?

  • The State Revenue Office will directly contact eligible businesses in relation to reimbursement for payroll tax already paid in the financial year.
  • Expect an email from them!


Interest Free State Government Loans

  • The QLD Government will offer $500m in loans to eligible businesses to retain employees and maintain operations. Details are:
    • Maximum loan up to $250,000
    • No repayments or interest charged for the first year
    • Plus two years interest only
    • 2.5% fixed interest rate
    • 10-year term of loan
    • Open until 25 September 2020 or until funding is fully committed.

💡 How to apply?

Payroll Tax Concessions

If you are an employer (or part of a group of employers) who pays $6.5 million or less in Australian taxable wages, you may receive an email about a:

  • refund of your payroll tax for 2 months
  • payroll tax holiday (i.e. no payroll tax to be paid) for 3 months.

You can also apply for a deferral of payroll tax for the 2020 calendar year. (If you have already applied for a deferral, you do not need not reapply – it will be extended.)

Payroll Tax Concession Summary

If you are an employer (or part of a group of employers) who pays more than $6.5 million in Australian taxable wages and have been negatively affected (directly or indirectly) by coronavirus, you can apply for a:

  • deferral of payroll tax for the 2020 calendar year (If you have already applied for a deferral, you do not need not reapply – it will be extended.)
  • refund of your payroll tax for 2 months.

A business is directly or indirectly affected by coronavirus if their current turnover, profit, customers, bookings, retail sales, supply contracts or other factors are negatively affected compared with normal operating conditions.

💡 How to apply?


Payroll Tax Concessions

  • The payroll tax threshold will be increased to $1 million on 1 July 2020. This brings the increase forward from the planned date of 1 January 2021 and will result in approximately an additional 300 businesses no longer being liable for payroll tax. The threshold increase will be reflected in Revenue Online when it comes into effect.
  • Employers, or groups of employers, who pay $7.5 million or less in Australian taxable wages and have been directly or indirectly impacted by COVID-19 can apply to defer their monthly payroll tax payments until 21 July 2020.
  • A one-off grant of $17,500 will be available for employers, or groups of employers, whose annual Australian taxable wages are more than $1 million and up to $4 million. For a group of employers, a single grant will be payable to the designated group employer. You do not need to apply for the grant. Grants will automatically be paid by cheque from July but there will be delays for taxpayers whose tax status changed in 2018-19 or who became liable for payroll tax during the 2018-19 or 2019-20 assessment year. Eligible taxpayers should log in to Revenue Online to ensure their postal address is correct.


Interest Free State Government Loans

  • $20 million in interest-free loans available to small businesses in the hospitality, tourism, seafood production and export sectors.
  • Businesses with turnover of less than $5 million will be eligible, and the loans are intended to be used for purchasing of equipment, or for restructuring business operations.
  • Loans will be offered interest-free for three years. Details on how to apply have not yet been released.

Payroll Tax Concessions

  • Payroll tax waiver will be available to businesses in the hospitality, tourism and seafood industries, and will apply for the last four months of the 2019-20 financial year.
  • Other businesses with payrolls of up to $5 million will also be able to apply for a waiver, but eligibility will be based on how significantly the virus has affected business.
  • Further details on this criteria have not yet been released.


Business Improvement Grant

All Territory businesses will be able to access a $10,000 grant, followed by an additional $10,000 grant if they contribute $10,000 of their own.

  • Each business is only eligible to receive one grant, and it can be used to complete one or two different jobs on their premises.
  • The grant can be used to purchase goods and services to make permanent physical improvements to a business (land and / or building) that help improve its efficiency and customer experience.
  • Registrations for businesses to provide services open 30 March 2020. Businesses can apply for a grant from 13 April 2020.
  • Read more on the Business Improvement Grant.

Jobs Rescue: $50 Million Small Business Survival Fund

From today, eligible businesses will be able to apply for two payments:

  • An Immediate Survival Payment of between $2000 and $50,000 to help offset the immediate costs pressures on businesses
  • A Rapid Adaption Payment of between $1000 and $5000 to assist businesses make the necessary changes it chooses to help adapt to the new operating environment

Immediate Survival Payment

An initial lump sum payment directed to businesses to help offset immediate cost pressures and provide time to plan.

  • $2000 for business with 1 FTE/sole traders
  • $5000 for businesses with 2 to 5 FTE employees
  • $20,000 for businesses with 6 to 19 FTE employees
  • $50,000 for businesses with more than 20 FTE employees

Business will provide a certified financial/payroll statement identifying number of employees pre-shutdown.

Assessment of eligibility criteria includes demonstrating the impact of the restrictions on the business, including reduction in turnover, impact of fixed costs and employment reduction.

Rapid Adaption Payment

  • A payment of up to $1000 for sole traders and up to $5000 for other eligible businesses to offset costs incurred in adapting current business model to suit restrictions.
  • Application based, paid direct to business.
  • Paid on provision of appropriate invoice. Buy local provisions will be highlighted to businesses.
  • Expenditure to occur post announcement and applications close 1 May 2020.
  • After this time businesses have full access to Improvement and Immediate Works grants under the Jobs Rescue and Recovery package.

This is the first stage of the Small Business Survival Fund. The Business Advisory Group is continuing to meet and will provide advice for the next stage of the package.

Businesses can complete an application form on from 5pm todayand will be assessed using the following criteria; that they:

  • are a legal entity and hold a valid Australian Business Number (ABN) as at 23 March 2020, and
  • are operating in the Northern Territory, and
  • is a Territory Enterprise, and
  • have a significant permanent presence in the Northern Territory, and
  • employ Northern Territory residents (sole traders are included), and
  • usually operate in one of the industry sectors affected by the social gathering restrictions announced on 22 March 2020 and 24 March 2020, and
  • have been directly financially affected by the social gathering restrictions.

Payroll Tax Concessions

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