COVID-19 advice for seafood businesses

Both state and federal governments are rolling financial and support services for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 event.  These services are continually being revised and updated as the situation changes. This is a difficult time for primary producers, including the seafood industry, and the VFA would urge businesses to access the packages and services available to them. A summary of the programs currently available is provided below.

Victorian Government

The Victorian Government has developed a $1.7 billion economic survival and jobs package to support Victorians, including businesses, impacted by the COVID-19 disruptions.

This includes an economic package for small and medium-sized businesses with payroll of less than $3 million. This includes:

  • full payroll tax refunds for the 2019-20 financial year, with businesses saving an average of $23,000. This assistance is a refund, not a loan.
  • ability to defer any payroll tax for the first three months of the 2020/21 financial year until 1 January 2021
  • $500 million to establish a Business Support Fund to help small businesses survive the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and keep people in work.  Funding of $10,000 per business is available and will be allocated through a grant process.  Small businesses are eligible if they employ staff, have been subject to closure or are highly impacted by Victoria’s Non-Essential Activity Directions, have a turnover of more than $75,000 and have payroll of less than $650,000.

A Business Victoria Hotline has been set up - 13 22 15 - for businesses dealing with challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak. This hotline provides information about support services, including those available through Business Victoria, which offers mentoring to help operators develop business continuity and recovery plans.

Federal Government

  • The Federal Government has announced $320 billion worth of support to protect the Australian economy against the impacts of COVID-19.
  • This includes a number of economic stimulus packages - the first, a $17.6 billion coronavirus economic stimulus package, announced on 13 March 2020, with an additional  $66 billion package of direct financial support announceda week later.  More recently, the $130 billion Jobseeker Payment package was announced to help businesses to continue paying their employees.  A further $105 billion of emergency banking measures have been announced to prevent a credit freeze.
  • These packages include significant financial support for small and medium business (summarised below).

Full details can be found at https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/businesses

What

When

Boosting Cash Flow for Employers – $31.9 billion

Enhance the previously announced Boosting Cash Flow for Employers by extending access to not-for-profits, including charities; increasing the maximum total payments to $100,000; increasing the rate of the payment, increasing minimum total payments to $20,000.

Payments from 28 April 2020, additional payments from 21 July 2020

Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses

Help businesses get through a temporary period of insolvency, by temporarily providing higher thresholds and more time to respond to demands from creditors and providing temporary relief from directors’ personal insolvent trading liability

Not applicable.

Increasing the instant asset write-off – $0.7 billion

Lifting the threshold to $150,000 (from $30,000) — and making more businesses eligible to use it up to a turnover of $500 million.

Immediately, with deductions to be included in 2019-20 tax returns

Backing business investment – $3.2 billion

Offering businesses a time-limited incentive to invest, by accelerating depreciation deductions.

Immediately, with deductions to be included in 2019-20 tax returns

Supporting apprentices and trainees - $1.3 billion

Wage assistance to help small businesses to keep their apprentices and trainees.

Applications open from early April

Government support for immediate cash flow needs of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)– up to $20 billion

Establish a loan guarantee arrangement between the Government and participating banks to cover the immediate cash flow needs of SMEs.

Commence by early April 2020 and be available for new loans until 30 September 2020

Assistance for severely affected regions and sectors

$1 billion to support communities, regions and industries most significantly affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. These funds will be available to assist during the outbreak and to help with the recovery. In addition, the Government is assisting our airline industry through a package of up to $715 million.

Funds will be available for distribution through existing or new mechanisms as soon as practicable.

JobKeeper Payment to help businesses to continue paying their employees.

The Government will provide $1,500 per fortnight per employee for up to 6 months to businesses significantly impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak. The JobKeeper Payment will also be available to the self-employed.

Applications open.  First payments to be received week in May 2020

International Freight Assistance Mechanism to help maintain export chains

To help support Australia’s agriculture and seafood export sectors, $110 million of investment is being made to help exporters get their produce into key overseas markets. Return flights will bring back items critical to the ongoing health response such as health supplies.

TBD

Australian Taxation Office

Options available to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19 include:

  • Deferring by up to six 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.

See https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Dealing-with-disasters/In-detail/Specific-disasters/COVID-19/ for further information.

Directory of services

Mental Health

Who

What

Contact

Local GP or hospital  

Local GPs can provide referrals for appropriate support services.

NURSEONCALL

NURSE-ON-CALL puts you directly in touch with a registered nurse for caring, professional health for free health advice, 24 hours a day.

If you think your situation is an emergency, you should always call 000 or go to an emergency department at a hospital

1300 60 60 24

Department of Health - Head to Health

Emotional health and wellbeing support and links to trusted Australian online and phone supports, resources and treatment options

https://headtohealth.gov.au/

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/

Victorian Department of Health and Human Services

Health services and support across Victoria.

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/

Business Victoria

Information and links to services available for businesses experiencing personal difficulties during the COVID19 incident

https://www.business.vic.gov.au/disputes-disasters-and-succession-planning/cope-with-stress-and-anxiety

Heads up

A range of mental health information for small businesses.

https://www.headsup.org.au/healthy-workplaces/for-small-businesses

Lifeline

Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.

131 114

http://lifeline.org.au

Mensline

MensLine Australia is a telephone and online counselling service for men with emotional health and relationship concerns.

1300 78 99 78

http://mensline.org.au

BeyondBlue

Beyond Blue provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live

1300 224 636

http://www.beyondblue.org.au/

Relationships Australia

Relationships Australia provides relationship support services to enhance human and family relationships.  These services are offered in many locations across Australia.

http://www.relationships.org.au/

Mental health online

Mental Health Online provides comprehensive and effective online services and programs free of charge. If you’re experiencing mental distress, our services can help you understand and address your needs through self-assessment, self-help and, if you choose, online professional support.

https://www.mentalhealthonline.org.au/

Financial Assistance

Who

What

Contact

Rural Financial Counselling Service

Provides a free service with rural financial counsellors.  They can help you:

  • identify your financial and business options
  • develop an action plan
  • negotiate with your lenders
  • apply for Farm Household Allowance.

www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought/assistance/rural-financial-counselling-service

1800 900 090

Australian Taxation Office

Information on support available for businesses effected by COVID19.

https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Dealing-with-disasters/In-detail/Specific-disasters/COVID-19/

Australian Government – Services Australia

Business - Information, forms, payments and services if you’re an employer or run a business.

www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/organisations/business?from=404

Business Victoria

Coronavirus business support

Advice, updates and support to help your workplace plan and respond to coronavirus COVID-19

https://www.business.vic.gov.au/disputes-disasters-and-succession-planning/illness-and-business-management-plan/coronavirus-business-support#

Employment and training

Who

What

Contact

Jobs Victoria

Jobs Victoria provides support for businesses & workers facing retrenchment including:

Information, tools and   resources to help both business and workers.

Information and  contacts about:

  • Re-training and up-skilling
  • Employment
  • Creating a new business
  • Financial counselling
  • Emotional health and wellbeing support

https://jobs.vic.gov.au/

jobsvictoria@ecodev.vic.gov.au

1300 208 575

Victorian Department of Education and Training

Skills and job centres based in TAFEs provide expert advice on training and employment opportunities including:

  • careers advice
  • help with job searching
  • referral to welfare support and financial advice

https://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/pathways/skillsandjobscentres/Pages/default.aspx

Skills and job centres are for anyone seeking to explore tertiary studies, training, job and career options

http://skillsandjobs.com.au/

1300 100 606