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Support from the Federal Government

Cash flow assistance for small and medium sized businesses

The Australian Government will deliver an estimated $31.9 billion to support eligible small and medium sized businesses, and not‑for-profits (including charities) to incentivise the retention of their workforce.
Small and medium business entities with aggregated annual turnover under $50 million and that employ workers are eligible with an amount equal to 100% of their salary and wages withheld.
The payments will be linked to business to staff wage tax withholding, and are tax free, with no new forms and payments will flow automatically through the ATO.
The first payment will be available from 28 April 2020 and an additional payment from 28 July 2020.
The maximum amount available to businesses through the initiative is $100,000.
Further information can be found here

Instant asset write-off increase and accelerated depreciation 

The Australian Government will provide $700 million to increase the instant asset write-off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 and expand access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million) until 30 June 2020.
This applies for new or second‑hand assets first used or installed ready for use in this timeframe.
The threshold applies on a per asset basis, so eligible businesses can immediately write‑off multiple assets.
Further information can be found at: https://www.business.gov.au/risk-management/emergency-management/coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business/instant-asset-write-off
A further $3.2 billion will support a time limited 15 month investment incentive (through to 30 June 2021) to support business investment over the short term, by accelerating depreciation deductions. 
Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million will be able to deduct an additional 50 per cent of the asset cost in the year of purchase.
Further information can be found here
These measures commenced on 12 March 2020.

Apprentice wage subsidy

The Australian Government will provide $1.3 billion to support small businesses to support the jobs of around 120,000 apprentices and trainees. Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for up to 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. 
Where a small business is not able to retain an apprentice, the subsidy will be available to a new employer that employs that apprentice.
Further information can be found here

Coronavirus Regional and Community Fund

The Australian Government will provide $1 billion to regions and communities that have been disproportionately affected by the economic impacts of the Coronavirus, including those heavily reliant on industries such as tourism, agriculture and education.
Funding will be provided through existing or newly established Government programs, with eligibility and timing still being finalised.
Further information can be found here

Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme

The Australian Government will guarantee up to 50% of new loans to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) issued by eligible lenders.
Up to $20 billion will be guaranteed by the government to enhance lenders’ willingness and ability to provide credit that will assist SMEs gain access to working capital to help them get through the impact of the coronavirus.
Further information can be found here

Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses

The Corporations Act 2001 will be amended to provide temporary and targeted relief for companies to deal with unforeseen events that arise as a result of the Coronavirus.
These measures include, temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company and the time companies have to respond to statutory demands they receive. The package also includes temporary relief for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent.  
Further information can be found here

Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit

The Australian Government has established a Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit within the Treasury Department. 
The role of the Unit will be to engage with peak business groups on systemic issues relating to Coronavirus to ensure these are being addressed by Government. It will take over business engagement on behalf of all departments and agencies of the Australian Government to ensure the response is coordinated centrally.
Dr Gordon de Brouwer will head the Unit. He is a former departmental secretary and was one of the key public servants that developed the Australian Government’s stimulus package in response to the Global Financial Crisis.  
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Small Business Exemption from Responsible Lending Obligations

The Australian Government will provide an exemption from responsible lending obligations for a period of six months in relation to the credit they extend to their existing small business customers, provided there is an existing borrowing relationship and some proportion of that credit is used for business purposes.
The exemption will apply to new credit, credit limit increases and credit variations and restructures.
Increased income support for recipients of the Farm Household Allowance
The Australian Government is providing a Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight. This supplement will be paid to both existing and new recipients of the eligible payment categories including the Farm Household Allowance. These changes will apply for the next six months and will not be income tested.
Further information can be found here

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