Covid-19 & Local Business

The Australian and Queensland Governments have released a number of funding packages to support businesses and the economy in response to Covid-19, as well as restrictions to operations to limit the spread of the outbreak.  These are summarised below. For more information on the latest business requirements and economic assistance for affected industries and small businesses, please visit: 

Restrictions 

Stay up-to-date with the latest restrictions.

Covid Safe Business

Queensland businesses are required to take action to manage Covid-19 in their workplace. All business should have a Work Health & Safety (WHS) Plan in place, including strategies to manage Covid-19. This does not require approval but should be made available when requested.

Industries deemed high risk — dining, beauty and nail salons, tattoo parlours, tanning, and spas — must complete a mandatory checklist and undertake Covid Safe training. This checklist forms part of your Covid Safe Plan and you should display this signed and submitted checklist as evidence that your business is Covid Safe.

Alternatively, if you operate in line with an approved Industry Covid Safe Plan, the checklist is not required. View the Industry COVID Safe Plans.

  • Beauty salons.
  • Restaurants and cafes (including pubs, registered and licensed clubs, RSL clubs and hotels).

Industries are also encouraged to create industry health plans to drive best practice in managing Covid-19 for their industry.

Find more information about being a Covid Ssfe business. You can also speak to someone to get answers to your questions on the 24/7 Small Business Hotline 1300 654 687.

Support

TRC Support

The incoming Council approved a package of Covid-19 community relief measures to address the economic impacts Covid-19 has had on the local economy. Further considerations will be made as part of the 2020–21 budget deliberations.

The first round of relief measures include:

  • Payment of rates issued on 24 February 2020 is not required until 30 June 2020 (subject to conditions).
  • Debt collection activity for outstanding rates will be temporarily suspended.
  • Creditor payment terms for local businesses will be reduced from 30 to 14 days.
  • Existing accommodation licences, food licences, commercial use road permits and personal appearance services licences will be extended for six months at no charge. Compliance and assessment activities will continue.
  • Existing dog registrations will be extended for six months at no charge.
  • Permits issued since 1 January 2020 where the activity did not take place because of Covid-19 restrictions will be refunded, on application from permit holders.
  • Trade waste invoicing will be suspended until next financial year.
  • Rent for 1 March–30 June 2020 on leases and licences on Council-owned or managed land will be immediately waived for true community groups.
  • Mandatory Code of Conduct — SME Commercial Leasing Principles During Covid-19 will be adopted to guide our approach to managing commercial leasing and licensing.
  • Fees associated with cancelled bookings for Council halls and other venues will be refunded.
  • Cemetery application fees will be waived until 30 June 2020 in good faith that the savings will be passed on by funeral homes to their clients.

A complementary support package for small and medium local businesses will be developed for adoption as part of the 2020–21 budget.

Tablelands Business Support

Business Lifeline Program

  • Register for free, one-on-one business advice to discuss business planning, finances, HR, IT needs, online marketing, etc to help businesses during Covid-19. Up to three sessions covering different topics.

Sole traders

  • If eligible, sole traders can access the ‘Coronavirus supplement‘ of $550/fortnight for the next six months. 
  • If income is reduced by 20% or more, sole traders can access up to $10,000 of superannuation tax-free. 

Small & Medium Enterprises (SME) With Staff

  • Tax-free cash payment of minimum $20,000 and up to $100,000 to retain staff and operations (for businesses with a turnover under $50 million).  
  • 50% wage subsidy for apprentice or trainee wages for nine months, up to a maximum of $21,000.
  • Payroll tax support
    • Two months of payroll tax will be immediately refunded.
    • The next three months of payroll tax will be waived.
    • Payroll tax for July to December will be deferred.

All Businesses

  • Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme — Government guarantee for 50% of new loans issued by eligible lenders
  • Increase in the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand and the time for companies to respond
  • Businesses can immediately write-off multiple assets up to $150,000/asset. There is also expanded access to the instant asset write-off to include all businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million (30 June 2020). 
  • Accelerated depreciation deduction 50% of the cost of an asset, with existing depreciation applying to the balance of the asset’s cost. 
  • Free financial advice to producers, commercial fishers, and tourism operators through the Rural Financial Counselling Service. 
  • Workshops will be held around the state for financial management and business planning. Register your interest for a potential Far North Queensland workshop.
  • Mentoring for Growth offering free access to business mentors including around business finances and planning. 
  • Job Keeper program
    • $1500 a fortnight paid to businesses per employee for six months regardless of wage level and employment status (casual employees must have been employed for over 12 month).
    • Sole traders are also eligible.
    • Payments begin from the first week of May but will be backdated to 30 March.
    • Businesses who have experienced a 30% drop in turnover will be eligible.
  • Commercial Property Code of Conduct — mandatory code of conduct for businesses eligible for JobKeeper payment to prevent lease termination and provide for rent reductions. Find out more.

Agriculture Industry

Commercial Fishers

  • Waiving of tropical rock lobster and coral trout quota fees and fishing boat license fees until June 2020. 
  • Expanding tropical rock lobster fishery area for three months.
  • Local seafood promotion campaign.
  • Rural financial counselling services for commercial fishers, fishery supply chain and tourism businesses impacted by Covid-19. 

 Tourism Operators

  • Waiving of site fees to conduct business in a national park, conservation park, recreation area or state forest between 1 February and 31 July 2020. 
  • Waiving registration renewal fees for Queensland inbound tour operators for 12 months.
  • Deferring Queensland Government lease rent payments for tourism leases until 1 January 2021.

Business Matters E-newsletter

We’re dedicating our Business Matters e-newsletter to providing regular updates on Covid-19 as it relates to business.

The newsletter details the various levels of government’s responses including funding packages and initiatives, advice on implementing health measures in the workplace, how to plan your business response and other advice for employers.

Don’t miss out, subscribe now.