COVID-19 Information Hub – Latest News
This page was last updated: 20/12/2021 at 1:08pm
This page was last updated: 20/12/2021 at 1:08pm
Small Business COVID Hardship Fund
The Small Business COVID Hardship Fund will receive a $448 million boost, increasing the total grant amount available to small and medium-sized businesses from $14,000 to $20,000 in recognition of the impact of the lockdown extension.
The Fund now stands at $700 million, providing support for up to 35,000 businesses. Some 16,000 businesses that have already received a Small Business COVID Hardship Fund grant will receive an automatic top-up payment of $6,000.
This program supports businesses that have been ineligible for Victorian Government business support programs since May but have experienced a reduction in revenue of at least 70 per cent. This includes businesses that are legally allowed to operate but are restricted in their ability to generate revenue.
Applications for the Small Business COVID Hardship Fund will close on 10 September.
If businesses have issued permits with future date ranges, they do not need to reissue permitted worker permits.
Businesses can edit and add to the dates on the permitted worker permits they have currently issued to workers if required.
Master Plumbers welcomed today’s release of a roadmap for the construction industry.
The plumbing industry Association has been at the forefront of a collaborative and comprehensive industry effort to plan the return of construction activity and was reassured by the inclusion of nearly all the recommendations that industry sent to the Premier last week.
Master Plumbers, along with many in the community, is disappointed that Victoria is not able to commence a significant re-opening as hoped in mid-September but understands the Government’s caution, based on the health data.
Master Plumbers CEO, Peter Daly, said that Master Plumbers had encouraged Government to set clear and visible targets for the resumption of business and welcomed the increased transparency of conditions required to do so.
“This allows businesses to plan, the community to respond and people to have hope,” he said.
Master Plumbers has been working closely with Government Ministers and Departments to ensure the plumbing industry’s needs are known and met.
“We congratulate the Government for its collaborative approach over recent weeks and look forward to getting our industry fully back to work as soon as possible. We will further engage on how this can be done safely and responsibly over coming days,” Mr. Daly said.
Mr Daly reiterated that everyone in the building and construction industry must continue to play their part to ensure compliance with the restrictions and demonstrate zero tolerance for breaches of COVIDsafe protocols – on all sites and in the home.
“This is the only way we will get infections down, restrictions eased, and a return to something resembling normal before Christmas,” Mr. Daly said.
“The Government has now laid out the roadmap, we need to make sure we all drive it safely and to the rules.”
Following feedback to Government, the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg today officially announced the easing of the eligibility thresholds for businesses and employees to qualify for JobKeeper 2.0 which is due to run for six months from 28 September 2020 to 28 March 2021.
These announced changes are designed to provide support for businesses that may have seen some recovery in their revenues in April, May and June before the latest restrictions and border closures came into play, and therefore, may have missed out on the next phase of the JobKeeper scheme.
Today’s announcement reflects ACCI and members’ advocacy to Government for changes since the announcement of JobKeeper 2.0 just over a fortnight ago. ACCI and members identified two issues that needed to be addressed and through successful engagement with the Attorney General and the Treasurer, these necessary changes are reflected in today’s announcement. A summary of these changes is set out below.
Summary of further JobKeeper 2.0 changes announced on 7 August 2020
WorkSafe has announced new temporary Occupational Health and Safety (COVID-19 Incident Notification) Regulations 2020 (OHS COVID-19 Regulations).
Previously, employers were not required to notify WorkSafe Victoria (WorkSafe) of an infectious disease in the workplace, unless immediate inpatient treatment is required or the disease is the cause (or suspected cause) of a death.
The OHS COVID-19 Regulations extends the operation of Part 5 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act) to require duty holders to notify WorkSafe if:
A penalty will apply for failing to notify WorkSafe under section 38 of the OHS Act - up to $39,652 (240 penalty units) for an individual or $198,264 (1200 penalty units) for a body corporate.
The OHS COVID-19 Regulations are temporary in nature and will expire 12 months after their making. WorkSafe will review the OHS COVID-19 Regulations during the 12-month period of operation.
The Australian Government has confirmed that current JobKeeper arrangements will operate at the current single rate of $1500 per fortnight until 28 September. After this date and up to the end of December 2020, JobKeeper 2.0 will operate with a 2 tier payment system:
In the March quarter (from end of December), these payments will become:
To be eligible for JobKeeper 2.0 in the December quarter, businesses will need to demonstrate that their revenue is 30% down for businesses less than $1 billion (50% for businesses above $1b, and 15% for charities) in both the June and September quarters. To be eligible for JobKeeper in the March quarter, they will need to demonstrate revenue losses above the thresholds for three quarters (June, September and December quarters).
JobKeeper 2.0 is predicted to cost $16 billion (additional to the $70b of the existing scheme). It is estimated to support 1.4 million in the December quarter, and 1 million workers in the March quarter.
Courtesy of the Victorian Small Business Commissioner
Master Plumbers welcomes the Victorian Government’s announcement this morning about the first part of the Building Works package.
The government estimates that the package will create 3,700 direct jobs for construction workers and thousands more across supply chains. At the centre of the Building Works package is $1.18 billion in education infrastructure projects which provides for ten new schools and refurbishment/upgrades to many more across Victoria. It also includes half-a-billion dollars to upgrade 23,000 dwellings and build 168 new homes across the state.
The construction industry has proven its ability to work safely and has continued to deliver critical projects during the shutdown which we can all be proud of.
Plumbers are at the frontline of community health services, building and maintaining our essential services such as hospitals, medical facilities and schools as well as much-needed public housing. This is an excellent start and we need all governments to maintain investment in community infrastructure, particularly throughout the COVID recovery.
Thoughts and perspectives from key industry stakeholders on the uncertain situation facing and prospects for the Australian economy and construction industry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Large construction sites
(note this is due to be updated to version 3 in next week)
Small construction sites
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has created a unique situation and we understand that many people are feeling concerned about its impacts. Cbus is doing everything we can to assist our members and employers during this period.
We encourage you to use our website for information about your super.
It’s regularly updated with resources and important information, including a list of FAQs and information about the Federal Government’s recent announcement to temporarily change the conditions allowing early release of superannuation.
The Government is allowing affected and eligible individuals to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation before 1 July 2020 and a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020 (members must apply before 24 September 2020).
You can also find the new Early Access to Superannuation flyer on our website.
While this payment will be helpful for many, we want members to consider all the facts before making any financial decisions.
Investment markets are at relatively low levels due to volatility created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
If a member’s super is withdrawn and their balance gets too low, it may not cover the costs of their insurance and cover will stop.
There are also other potential financial sources and relief options that members may have available to assist.
Cbus Member and Employer services are available to provide continued service and support.
Our Advice Line and Contact Centre are experiencing higher than normal call volumes so we encourage our employers and members to visit our website or members can also log into your account for regular updates and information.
This information is about Cbus. It doesn’t take into account your specific needs, so you should look at your own financial position, objectives and requirements before making any financial decisions. Read the relevant Cbus Product Disclosure Statement and related documents to decide whether Cbus is right for you. Call 1300 361 784 or visit www.cbussuper.com.au for a copy.
Cbus’ Trustee: United Super Pty Ltd ABN 46 006 261 623 AFSL 233792 Cbus ABN 75 493 363 262
The City of Melbourne will temporarily adjust the management of construction activity in the municipality in a bid to fast-track construction projects, save jobs and help limit the economic impact of COVID-19.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the temporary measures will allow some extensions of working hours on building sites for commercial, large residential and mixed-use developments.
“The changes will allow the construction industry to work safely and remain viable during these challenging times but they will not allow construction activity around the clock,” the Lord Mayor said.
“We understand these changes may affect residents with a potential increase in noise, however we are attempting to strike a balance between the needs of residents and the need to keep people in jobs. We recognise these extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.”
“The necessary health and safety measures, such as social distancing are impacting the productivity of the construction industry. We’re responding by adjusting the hours available for construction work on a case-by-case basis.”
“We are doing our best to support industry and residents during these uncertain and stressful times.”
Deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood said the temporary arrangements will be reviewed on a monthly basis to ensure the needs of both the construction industry and local residents are met.
“We’re working to balance the need to save jobs in the construction sector by allowing different ways of working and still protecting public safety and amenity,” the Deputy Lord Mayor said.
“I want to stress that these changes are temporary.”
In response to COVID-19, Federal and State Governments have acknowledged the construction industry as an essential service and determined that it should remain in operation for the time being.
Construction sites are subject to increased health and safety precautions including limiting the number of workers on site, adhering to social distancing requirements, following personal hygiene guidelines and regular cleaning of equipment.
The city’s Local Law currently allows for construction activity to occur between the hours of 7am and 7pm on weekdays and between 8am and 3pm on Saturdays. Approval is required from Council to work outside these standard hours.
Working on a case-by-case basis, the City of Melbourne proposes to allow an extra hour of work each morning and evening on weekdays. Three hours of extra work will be allowed on Saturdays and six hours on of limited activity on Sunday.
In addition, finishing trades that do not have a significant impact on residential amenity (such as painting and plastering) will be extended until 10pm.
“More officers will be out monitoring building sites to ensure compliance with the regulations. We reserve the right to issue fines or revoke construction permits for sites that don’t follow the rules outlined in their construction permit,” the Deputy Lord Mayor said.
“In turn, we seek commitment from the industry to ensure that everything possible will be done to preserve residential amenity and protect workers.”
For more information call 9626 9626 or visit our planning and building page.
On Saturday, 28 March 2020, the Fair Work Commission granted an application made jointly by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Australian Industry Group to vary the Clerks-Private Sector Award 2010 (Clerks Award)(Joint Application).
The Joint Application seeks to add a new schedule; Schedule I-Award Flexibility during the COVID-19 Pandemic, to the Clerks Award.
It is proposed that the new schedule operate until 30 June 2020.
The Joint Application arose from the unique set of circumstances pertaining to the current COVID-19 pandemic and sought to include a new Schedule to provide for award flexibility on a temporary basis.
If you have any questions please contact Phil Eberhard, Senior Workplace Relations Adviser, Master Plumbers, on 03 9321 072 or [email protected].
From the office of Daniel Andrews
Money is in the bank accounts of small and medium businesses - supporting them and thousands of jobs through the devastating impacts of coronavirus on the state’s economy.
Premier Daniel Andrews and Treasurer Tim Pallas announced today that payroll tax refunds have now hit the bank accounts of 2,700 small businesses, putting $52 million immediately back into the pockets of business owners.
More than 21,000 small businesses have been contacted about their refund, with all eligible businesses who have provided their bank details to get their money from the Victorian Government by the end of next week.
In more support for businesses impacted by the coronavirus, the first tranche of the Government’s $500 million Business Support Fund grants will flow from Monday, with $10,000 grants available for over 30,000 employers who don’t pay payroll tax.
The Government has smashed its target of $750 million in fast-tracked payments of outstanding supplier invoices, with more than $1.1 billion paid to businesses this week - putting more money into the economy to support jobs.
Cheques will be in the mail to 12,500 businesses either waiving or refunding their liquor license fees for this year and 64,000 small businesses will have their land tax deferred into the next financial year, helping them cut costs and survive through the impacts of coronavirus.
Yesterday, National Cabinet announced strict new quarantine measures to slow the spread of coronavirus and save lives. Most cases of coronavirus in Victoria right now are connected to returning overseas travellers.
Under the new measures, which come into force at 11:59pm tonight, all travellers returning from overseas to Victoria will be placed in enforced quarantine for a self-isolation period of 14 days.
The Government has already secured 5,000 hotel rooms to house newly-returned travellers - who will each receive care packages of food and other essentials - and will secure more rooms as needed to support the measures.
Victoria is in discussions with the Australian Defence Force about logistical support including transporting travelers from the airport to accommodation or distributing care packages.
With international travel and non-essential domestic travel banned and Victorians canceling their school holiday plans, our hotels and motels are struggling. But this allows us to support them, as well as enforcing the new quarantine measures.
The Government will continue to work closely with business and unions and will announce further support over the coming weeks and months, in consultation with the Commonwealth, as the impacts of the coronavirus evolve.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has today (24/03) updated its website with essential information about tax and superannuation changes that have now become law following the passage of the Government’s Economic Support Package through the Parliament. The site is ato.gov.au/coronavirus
Commissioner of Taxation Chris Jordan acknowledged that many people are being heavily affected by the challenging economic conditions created by the outbreak of COVID-19 and that the ATO is standing by ready to help where it can.
The ATO’s Coronavirus page provides easy-to-understand and detailed information about what people need to know or do in order to get access to the tax or superannuation measures as announced by the Government as part of its economic response to COVID-19.
Commissioner of Taxation Chris Jordan said “each of the measures have different timings, eligibility, and processes. Some will be applied automatically and others will require an application, so I recommend heading to ato.gov.au/coronavirus to understand what is possible”.
Mr Jordan also reminded the community of other options available to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19 in addition to the new measures announced by the Government.
“In these difficult and uncertain times, the ATO is doing everything it can to reduce stress from tax and super related obligations,” Mr Jordan said.
Options available to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19 include:
Outside of business, the ATO will also work with individuals experiencing financial hardship, and their tax agents, and will apply appropriate tax relief measures for serious and exceptional circumstances, such as where people cannot pay for food or accommodation.
“If you’re impacted by COVID-19, and require immediate assistance contact us to request support on our Emergency Support Infoline 1800 806 218. If you do not require immediate assistance you can contact us when you’re ready, to discuss your situation”, Mr Jordan said.
From today, the Morrison Government’s Business Hotline – 13 28 46 – will be expanded to provide specialist advisers and extended hours to support small and medium businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Operations at the www.business.gov.au 13 28 46 Contact Centre will increase from five days per week to seven days per week, and provide an additional two hours a day of support outside standard operating hours for the first month, answering calls from 7.00 am to 11.00pm AEST.
The Government is rolling out comprehensive, targeted assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and we want businesses who are looking for information to be supported.
• Coronavirus Supplement: $550 per fortnight payment for recipients of the JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit for the next six months
• Early access to superannuation for struggling Australians
• Temporary reduction of minimum super drawdown rates
• Extra $750 for some households, including those on social security and veteran income support and eligible concession card holders
• Reduction of deeming rates by a further 0.25 percentage points
• Small and medium businesses with turnover under $50 million, along with not-for-profit charities, will be eligible for a tax-free cash payment of up to $100,000
• Support for airlines
• Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
• Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme: Government to guarantee half a bank’s loan to a small or medium enterprise impacted by the virus
With the rapidly evolving nature of COVID-19 and its unprecedented implications on what is familiar for our people, our communities and you - our key stakeholders, I wanted to update you on the decisions and actions the Victorian Building Authority is taking to support our industry.
As Victoria’s regulator of our vital building and plumbing industries, our actions are focused on the safety and wellbeing of our people and the industries and communities that we serve.
Importantly, as a public sector entity within the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), we will continue to be guided by the advice and response of the Victorian Government and Victoria’s Chief Health Officer (CHO).
As we all grapple with the shared challenges ahead, I want to ensure you know that the VBA will play its part in supporting you and your businesses where we can. Should the need arise for short term solutions to keep your staff employed - irrespective of their back or front office, technical or field role - do not hesitate to reach out to see how we can work together to keep the dedicated, hard-working and talented people that underpin our vital industry employed.
Today the Australian Banking Association announced Australian banks will defer loan repayments for small businesses affected by COVID-19 for six months.
The assistance will apply to more than $100bn of existing small business loans.
Today’s announcement will make a big difference for the hundreds of thousands of businesses we represent and the people whose jobs depend on them.
Master Plumber’s first priority is the health and wellbeing of all staff and students, and as such we are providing you advice about how the school is managing the unfolding situation with COVID-19.
We want to reassure you that the school is well-prepared for the impact of COVID-19 and we are monitoring the latest advice from state and federal health departments.
Currently the RTO is operating as normal and being vigilant by following the recommended good hygiene practices and asking staff and students to self-exclude from school if they have:
If a student develops symptoms as mentioned above whilst attending trade school, their employer will be contacted, and they will be asked to seek medical advice and keep the RTO advised of their condition.
PICAC have also issued the following details for students attending classes at PICAC facilities:
This 30-minute online training module is for health care workers in all settings. It covers the fundamentals of infection prevention and control for COVID-19.
The ATO understands this year has been difficult for a number of small businesses, with a number of recent events leading to economic and personal challenges. If you are experiencing financial difficulties with your tax and super obligations because of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), phone the ATO Emergency Support Infoline on 1800 806 218 for help tailored to your circumstances.
The Government also recently announced on 12 March 2020 its economic response to COVID-19. Subject to passage of legislation, the ATO will implement a series of administrative measures to further assist you.
For more information view www.ato.gov.au/coronavirus
Facebook – https://business.facebook.com/atogovau/?business_id=1008462902507689
Twitter – https://twitter.com/ato_gov_au/status/1240069181027934209
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6644118959379619840
In the interest of your wellbeing and in response to the Australian Government’s announcement advising against holding non-essential gatherings, our face-to-face workshops are currently on hold. We will update this information as soon as practicable; in the meantime, you can register for an online webinar.
PM Scott Morrison fronted the press in Canberra yesterday with Chief Medical Officer - Dr Brendan Murphy to discuss the Government’s latest recommendations on managing the coronavirus crisis in Australia.
The following recommendations were handed down:
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