Canberra Liberals Leader

COVID-19 Business Support

These are very difficult times for Canberra’s small businesses. The Canberra Liberals are doing everything we can to fight for you.

We have compiled a directory of business support measures that have been announced by both the Federal and ACT Governments. We have done our best to ensure these links are accurate and will strive to update them as new details become available.

If you would like to receive updates when new support measures are announced, please subscribe:

Last updated: 9 April 2020

Federal Government

JobKeeper Payment

Employers will be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee for six months.

Helpline for Affected Businesses

Operations at the 13 28 46 Contact Centre will be increased to 7 days per week between the hours of 7am to 11pm.

Jobs Hub

The Federal Government has created a Jobs Hub to connect unemployed individuals with businesses that have multiple job opportunities available.

Instant Asset Write-Off Threshold

The Federal Government has lifted this threshold from $30,000 to $150,000.

$550 Coronavirus Supplement for Income Support

The Federal Government has expanded eligibility to income support payments and established a new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight that will be paid to both new and existing recipients of the eligible payment categories.

Early Access to Superannuation for Sole Traders

Sole traders are eligible to withdraw $10,000 from their superannuation before the 1st of July 2020, and $10,000 after the 1st of July 2020 if your business was suspended or there was a reduction in turnover of 20 percent or more.

Wage Subsidy for Businesses Employing Apprentices and Trainees

The Federal Government has introduced a wage subsidy for small businesses employing fewer than 20 full-time employees. Eligible businesses will receive a subsidy of 50 percent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage paid during the 9 months from the 1st of January 2020 to the 30th of September 2020.

Boosting Cash Flow for Employers

This measure provides up to $100,000 back to small and medium businesses, as well as not-for-profits (including charities), with a minimum payment of $20,000. Eligible businesses and not-for-profits are those with a turnover of less than $50 million and that employ workers.

Temporary Relief for Financially Distressed Businesses

The Federal Government has temporarily increased the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand and the time companies have to respond, as well as increasing the threshold for a creditor to initiate bankruptcy proceedings and the time period for debtors to respond. Additionally, there is a temporary relief for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent.

Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Guarantee Scheme

Under the Scheme, the Government will provide a guarantee of 50 per cent to SME lenders for new unsecured loans to be used for working capital valued up to $250,000 for new unsecured loans to be used for working capital.

Relaxation on Rules Regarding Lending

The Federal Government is providing a 6 month exemption from responsible lending obligations for lenders providing credit to existing small business customers.

Backing Business Investment (BBI)

The BBI is a time limited 15 month investment incentive, where 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.

ACT Government

Business Liaison Team

The ACT Government has created a business liaison phone line to assist businesses in understanding the support available to them and practical advice for those operating through changed arrangements. Call 6205 0900. 

Canberra Business Advice and Support Service

Under the Service, small business owners can receive up to four hours of fully subsidised, tailored advice and access to online business development resources. You can make a booking with this service by calling 6297 3121.

Waiver of Hospitality Fees

Licenced venues in the ACT will receive a 12-month waiver of their food business registration and on-licence liquor licencing fees from 1 April 2020. Outdoor dining fees for 2020-21 will also be waived.

Increased Subsidies in the Vocational Education and Training Sector

Support will be provided to the VET Sector by increasing subsidies for apprenticeships and traineeships and other VET students.

Supporting Community Clubs and the Casino Canberra

An additional payment of $1.5 million will be made, as well as the existing $1.8 million in the Diversification and Sustainability Support Fund freed up to keep staff employed. 

The Government has announced a number of measures that will help keep staff employed in community clubs and Casino Canberra, such as:

  • A payment of $15,000 per authorisation for the voluntary surrender of gaming machine authorisations;
  • A waiver/refund of gaming machine tax liabilities for clubs for March 2020 gaming activity, or gaming activity in the first quarter of 2020, and
  • Providing clubs was a rebate of fixed water and sewerage charges on their Icon Water bills for the next two quarters
  • A waiver/refund of the annual licence fee and gaming tax liabilities for March 2020 activity for Casino Canberra.

$750 Electricity Rebate

For small business owners with electricity usage below 100 megawatts per year, will receive a $750 rebate automatically applied to the next electricity bill.

Rideshare and Taxi Vehicle Licence Fees

The ACT Government is waiving the rideshare vehicle licence fee for 12 months from 1 April 2020. Leased taxi plate fees, including wheelchair accessible taxi’s, will also have their fees waived. The government will provide a one-off payment of up to $5,000 to taxi drivers who lease their taxi plates from private owners.

Payroll Tax Waiver

A six-month waiver of payroll tax from April to September 2020, will be available to all businesses whose operations are directly affected by the ‘prohibited activities list‘.

Payroll Tax Deferral

All ACT business with Australia-wide wages of up to $10 million can defer their 2020-21 payroll tax, interest free until 1 July 2022.

Commercial Rates

The issuing of commercial general rates notices for 2019-20 quarter 4, will be deferred by four weeks. Rates charges can also be deferred (interest free) up to October 2020.

Other Business Fee Waivers

The government will waive fees for 12 months from 1 April 2020 for business that require an infection control licence.

CIT Investment

The Study Work Anywhere Any Time project will be fast tracked, so that CIT can move its teaching and learning online by July 2020.

Support for the Construction Industry

Businesses in the construction industry will be eligible for a deferral on payroll tax liability from April to September 2020. The Government will also fast track development application approvals to allow work to continue in the ACT’s construction sector.

Commercial Tenancy Relief

The Government has established three broad categories of business emerging through COVID-19. Support will be provided through the deferral or waiver of rates, based on need which is assessed as per the category criteria, and will be targeted at properties with small AUVs.

Rental Relief to Tenants of ACT Government Owned Properties

The ACT Government will review rent charges for commercial tenants of ACT Government properties whose operations have been significantly impacted. This relief is available for up to six-months from April 1 2020.

What help do you need?

The Canberra Liberals will do everything we can to keep businesses open and Canberrans in jobs.

Let me know what action needs to be taken to help you.

Authorised by Alistair Coe MLA