20 April Update
The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has published advice on how small business can better protect themselves from cyber-attacks and disruptions during COVID-19.
Visit cyber.gov.au for more information
Updated 20 April: New information about satisfying the turnover test is now available
Sole traders and some other entities (such as partnerships, trusts or companies) may be entitled to the JobKeeper Payment scheme under the business participation entitlement. However, not-for-profit organisations are not included under the business participation entitlement.
Visit ato.gov.au for more information including employer and employee eligibility guidelines.
16 April Update
NSW Government confirms second set of fee waivers (UPDATED)
Updated 15 April: second set of fee waivers
Licence, registration and permit fees will be automatically waived for 12-months on new applications and renewals lodged by eligible businesses and individuals as follows:
From 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021
- Liquor licences for bars, pubs, clubs, hotels and most other licensed venues
- Licences for tattoo parlours and pyrotechnicians
- Paintball venue permits
- Registration of amusement devices.
From 20 April 2020 to 19 April 2021
- Licences for tattooists
- Licences for packaged liquor licences for small operators (up to 3 licencees).
Licences relating to gambling are excluded.
From 15 April 2020 to 14 April 2021
- 1-year building contractor licences, trade or specialist contractor licences and motor vehicle repairer licences. For 3-year or 5-year licence applications and renewals, the licence fee is discounted by 1 year.
- 5-year High Risk Work licences and asbestos removal licences
- 2-year demolition licences
From 20 April 2020 to 19 April 2021
- High Risk Work Assessor Accreditation licence
- SafeWork Registered Training Organisations licence
The following 1-year licences:
- Home Building: Qualified Supervisor Certificate
- Home Building: Tradesperson Certificates
- Motor Vehicle Tradesperson Certificates (MVTC)
For longer application and renewal durations, the licence fee is discounted by 1 year.
Fee waivers for change of class, amendments to licences and replacement licences are excluded.
Visit nsw.gov.au for more information. Read media release here.
Information for small businesses struggling to make usual payments (UPDATED)
Updated 15 April: If you are experiencing difficulties meeting your obligations to the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) due to COVID-19, you have the option of discussing payment plans and applying for fee waivers.
Visit asic.gov.au for more information
60 Free Online Workshops and Webinars (Updated)
Over 60 free online workshops and webinars are available through Business Connect to support your NSW small business to manage cashflow, change your business model, sell goods and services online and market your business in a challenging environment.
To book a webinar, visit business-connect-register.industry.nsw.gov.au.
14 April Update
Online application form for the new Small Business COVID-19 Support Grant (up to $10,000) now live!
The NSW Small Business COVID-19 Support Grant of up to $10,000 is available to eligible NSW small business owners and non-profit organisations.
The application form is now live, as of Tuesday April 14, 2020.
This grant supports the ongoing operations of small businesses highly impacted from COVID-19 pandemic following the NSW Public Health Order of 31 March 2020.
Customers need to apply for the grant using the online form on the Service NSW website.
Clubs, pubs, small bars, cafes and restaurants can now sell takeaway food and alcohol this Good Friday and ANZAC Day in a move to help businesses impacted by COVID-19.
On Good Friday, pubs, clubs, small bars, restaurants and cafes with liquor licences can sell takeaway alcohol, with a meal, during their normal trading hours within a 12pm to 10pm window. The exemption does not apply to packaged liquor licenses such as bottle shops – these businesses are subject to their normal Good Friday closure.
On ANZAC Day, pubs, clubs, small bars, restaurants and cafes with liquor licences can sell alcohol during their usual trading hours, and packaged liquor licenses can open as usual from 1pm until normal close of trade.
For more information, visit https://www.liquorandgaming.nsw.gov.au/news-and-media/more-takeaway-alcohol-sales-allowed-on-good-friday-and-anzac-day
Beyond Blue has an online portal and 24-hour helpline available to support the mental wellbeing of Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic. Resources include strategies for small business owners. Call 1800 512 348 or visit https://coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au/?utm_campaign=hp_banner.
9 April Update
Mandatory Code of Conduct will guide commercial tenancy leases for eligible businesses (NEW)
A mandatory Commonwealth Code of Conduct agreed by states and territories effective 7 April 2020 will implement a set of good faith leasing principles for commercial tenancies during the COVD-19 pandemic.
The objective of the Code is to share in a proportionate, measured manner the financial risk and cashflow impact during the COVID-19 period, whilst seeking to appropriately balance the interests of tenants and landlords
The Code applies to all commercial tenancies that
- are suffering financial stress or hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
- are eligible for the JobKeeper program
- have an annual turnover of up to $50 million
Parties involved in the commercial tenancy leases should read the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct that outlines a range of overarching and leasing principles https://www.pm.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/national-cabinet-mandatory-code-ofconduct-sme-commercial-leasing-principles.pdf
- there should be a proportionality to rent reductions based on the tenant’s decline in turnover to ensure that the burden is shared between landlords and tenants.
- tenants and landlords can agree on tailored, bespoke and appropriate temporary arrangements that take account of their circumstances and to equally share the burden.
- Australian and foreign banks along with other financial institutions are expected to support landlords and tenants with appropriate flexibility as they work to implement the mandatory Code.
- the Rent Relief Policy will include a mutual obligation requirement on the small and medium sized enterprises and not-for-profit tenants to continue to engage their employees through the JobKeeper initiative where eligible, and if applicable, provide rent relief to their subtenants.
- where landlords and tenants cannot reach agreement on COVID-19 leasing arrangements the matter should be referred to the NSW Small Business Commission.
Visit business.gov.au for more information
8 April Update
Support for primary producers who export into key overseas markets (NEW)
Primary producers of certain high-value products, such as seafood, premium red meat, dairy and horticulture, may be eligible for the federal government’s International Freight Assistance Mechanism, which aims to help exporters get their goods into key overseas markets.
Primary Producers can express their interest at https://haveyoursay.agriculture.gov.au/international-freight-assistance
Visit infrastructure.gov.au for more information.
Grant available to help organisations provide engagement activities for seniors at risk of COVID-19 social isolation (NEW)
The Combatting Social Isolation for Seniors Grant is a one-off grant open to eligible organisations who can provide programs that help seniors aged 65 years and over and Aboriginal people aged 55 years and over, engage with others to reduce social isolation during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Applications close 26 April 2020.
Visit Communities & Justice for more information.
7th April Update
The NSW Government has announced that TAFE NSW is offering a suite of 21 free online short courses to assist job seekers and workers looking to diversify their skills, and businesses in hibernation to upskill their workers.
The 21 short courses include:
- eMarketing for Small Business
- Engaging Customers Using Social Media
- Writing and Presentation Skills
- Computing Skills
- Team Leader Skill Set
- Administration Skills for Team Leader
Visit nsw.gov.au for more information or TAFE NSW to browse the courses.
6th April Update
Small Business Support Grant (NEW)
The NSW COVID-19 Small Business Support Grant of $10,000 will be available to eligible NSW small business owners.
The application form will be available on the Service NSW website by 17 April.
To be eligible, businesses will need to:
- have between 1-19 employees and a turnover of more than $75,000
- a payroll below the NSW Government 2019-20 payroll tax threshold of $900,000
- have an Australian Business Number as at 1 March 2020, be based in NSW and employ staff as at 1 March 2020
- be highly impacted by the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 issued on 30 March 2020
- use the funding for unavoidable business costs such as utilities, overheads, legal costs and financial advice
- provide appropriate documentation upon application.
Highly impacted industries
Eligible industries are those that have been subject to closure or are highly impacted by NSW Government health directions in relation to COVID-19 and include:
- Retail trade
- Accommodation and food service
- Rental, hiring and real estate services
- Administrative and support services
- Arts and recreation services.
Cancellations and refunds of goods and service (NEW)
For guidance and support related to managing the cancellations, delays and suspensions of products and services, including rights and responsibilities as a business owner, refund entitlements and fair pricing, visit the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) website at https://www.accc.gov.au/business/covid-19-coronavirus-information-for-small-business.
COVID-19 electricity and gas network relief package (NEW)
Small businesses that are temporarily closed due to COVID-19 may be eligible for full electricity and gas tariff relief under a financial support package organised by Energy Networks Australia. Eligibility criteria apply, including usage figures and time limits.
For more information, visit https://www.energynetworks.com.au/news/media-releases/2020-media-releases/energy-network-relief-package-announced/
3rd April Update
Changes to pharmacy trading (NEW)
Temporary new powers have been given to pharmacies to allow expanded services during COVID-19.
- 24-hour operating hours
- ability to dispense certain medications without a prescription
Visit nsw.gov.au for more information
In addition, pharmacies can now register with Australia Post for access to free postage on prescription deliveries. Participating pharmacies can apply for a full rebate on costs associated with mailing prescriptions to vulnerable customers.
Visit auspost.com.au for more information
Extended hours for construction businesses (NEW)
Changes to planning rules for the construction industry now allow sites to operate on weekends and public holidays, as long as workers can abide by social distancing requirements. This means building works can continue to progress and staffing can be spread across more days of the week.
Visit planning.nsw.gov.au for more information.
Changes for food trucks and dark kitchens (NEW)
Planning rules for the set up and operation of food trucks and dark kitchens (also known as virtual, cloud or ghost kitchens, which cook food for purpose of delivery only) have been amended to make it easier for new and existing food businesses to operate. Food trucks can operate on any land at any time with the landowners’ consent. Existing commercial kitchens can offer takeaway and delivery only, without the need for dine-in options, providing they can adhere to social distancing requirements.
Visit planning.nsw.gov.au for more information
2nd April Update
Opportunity for NSW businesses to help fill the medical supply chain.
The NSW Government is seeking expressions of interest from NSW businesses who can help supply or make components of urgently needed medical equipment and sanitation aids including:
- hand sanitiser
- examination gloves
- disinfectant and cleaning products
- handwash and soap
- gowns and protective overalls
- paper products, including toilet and tissue paper.
Visit nsw.gov.au for more information.
Considerations for vulnerable workers
National Cabinet has endorsed the advice that workers classified as vulnerable to serious illness if they become unwell, must undergo a risk assessment and be redeployed to non-customer-based roles where possible. Where risk cannot be appropriately mitigated, arrangements should be considered to accommodate a workplace absence.
People classified as vulnerable are:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders 50 years and older with one or more chronic medical conditions;
- 65 years and older with chronic medical conditions;
- 70 years and older; and
- those with compromised immune systems
Visit www.health.gov.au for more information.
Update: sole traders may be eligible for the JobKeeper payment if their turnover has reduced relative to a comparable period one year ago. https://www.business.gov.au/risk-management/emergency-management/coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business/jobkeeper-payment-for-sole-traders
Visit treasury.gov.au for more information including employer and employee eligibility guidelines