Australian Government support

Depending on your corporation’s circumstances the following support measures from government may or may not be relevant to you. Some measures you need to liaise with government about or lodge an application to access them, and others you should know about to help with your decision-making but your corporation doesn’t need to apply for them.

If you need help updating your information or accessing support measures email info@oric.gov.au or call 1800 622 431 and we’ll help you as best as we can.

Support you need to ask/apply for

Corporation rules for meetings and making decisions

If your corporation’s rule book makes it difficult to hold meetings using technology (phone and video) or you’d like to make it easier to make decisions without a meeting, ORIC can help you adopt some temporary special rules for COVID-19.

JobKeeper payment

The JobKeeper payment is a wages subsidy scheme for employers whose turnover has been impacted by the coronavirus to help them keep paying their staff. In the first phase (from 30 March to 27 September 2020, if your corporation’s turnover was reduced by 30 per cent (or 15 per cent if you’re a registered charity) you could seek reimbursement of $1500 per fortnight for each eligible employee for six months.

In late September this payment scheme was extended to 21 March 2021—see JobKeeper extension, below, for details.

Payments started in early May, backdated to 30 March. The ATO made payments each month for the month before.

Timing:

  • Enrol as soon as you can—if you are eligible, your payments will cover your employees' work from the month you apply until 27 September.
  • Each month—update and confirm your eligible employee information.

Your corporation will need to:

  • Check your corporation meets the eligibility requirements (you were operating on 1 March 2020 and have at least one eligible employee and they’re currently employed) including the turnover test (your turnover dropped by at least 30 per cent or 15 per cent if you’re a charity, when compared to the same period last year).
  • Check which employees are eligible and that they’re aren’t already nominated for JobKeeper through another employer. Get them to complete and return JobKeeper employee nomination notice or create your own form. Keep it on file.
  • Pay all eligible employees at least $1500 per fortnight (before tax) through your payroll system for each JobKeeper fortnight you intend to claim (the first fortnight was 30 March to 12 April). This means re-hire or re-engage employees you let go or stood down as well as pay them.
  • Enrol by logging into the ATO Business Portal using myGovID. Select ‘manage employees’ > ‘JobKeeper payment’.

JobKeeper extension

In late September the government announced an extension to JobKeeper over two periods, with payments reducing in each period.

You can be eligible for JobKeeper now even if you were not in the first round, but you will need to show that your turnover is lower than normal.

If you are already receiving JobKeeper payments, to keep receiving it you'll need to show that you're still eligible from 1 October 2020, and to show actual decline in turnover.

There are now two different pay rates depending on whether your employees worked for more or less than 80 hours in four weeks.

From 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021, those who worked:

  • over 80 hours will receive $1200 (per fortnight, before tax)
  • under 80 hours will receive $750 (per fortnight, before tax).

From 4 January 2020 to 28 March 2021, those who worked:

  • over 80 hours will receive $1000 (per fortnight, before tax)
  • under 80 hours will receve $650 (per fortnight, before tax).

To apply for JobKeeper:

  • Log into ATO online services or the Business Portal—or ask your tax or BAS agent to do this for you.
  • View the COVID-19 screen, select ‘Step 1: Enrol business for JobKeeper wage subsidies’, and complete the required fields.

Keep your apprentices and trainees employed

Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage paid during the nine months from 1 January to 30 September 2020.

In late September 2020 the government announced the wage subsidy will extend to March 2021 and be opened to medium-sized businesses.

To access the subsidy you need to apply and be assessed by an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider.

For details see the government page on Supporting apprentices and trainees.

Specialist advice and working capital assistance

All Indigenous businesses (whether they are Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) customers or not) who have been established for at least six months and are affected by the coronavirus crisis, can apply to IBA to access specialist advice to navigate the coronavirus crisis, including a rapid assessment of business positioning, cashflow management and assistance to access available stimulus measures such as JobKeeper and cash flow boosts.

IBA will deliver the support through its network of partners and a range of business advice specialists, including Indigenous consulting firms.

You can also apply for working capital assistance of up to $100,000 via a loan/grant package (assessed on a needs basis), consisting of:

  • a grant of up to 50 per cent of the package amount
  • for the loan component, concessional repayments and interest rates terms including zero repayments for the first 12 months.

Please note: priority for this assistance will be given to Indigenous businesses who may not be eligible for any other government stimulus packages

See iba.gov.au

Grants from National Indigenous Australians Agency

The National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) is contacting funded organisations to talk through current grant agreements. On a case-by-case basis and where required, the NIAA will work with organisations to review and if appropriate, adjust current grant schedules.

See niaa.gov.au – grant recipients

NIAA is also providing a range of support for other funded programs such as Community Development Program providers and community night patrols.

 

Other support measures

These are measures you should know about to help with your decision-making but your corporation doesn’t need to apply for them.

Cash flow boosts

To support employers to retain employees during the economic downturn associated with COVID-19 the ATO will provide temporary tax-free cash flow boosts (in the form of GST credits) of between $20,000 and $100,000 to eligible businesses.

You do not need to apply but you need to lodge your BAS. The ATO will automatically apply the appropriate amount against your activity statement when you lodge it. The first cash flow boost will be paid from 28 April 2020.

Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses

To help corporations manage cash flow challenges and retain employees, the government has lessened the threat of actions that could unnecessarily push corporations into insolvency and force winding up. This has been implemented by a temporary increase to the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a corporation and the time corporations have to respond to statutory demands they receive. It also includes temporary relief for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent.

You don't need to apply, initially these relief measures applied for six months (from 25 March to 24 September 2020). On 7 September the government announced that the relief package would extend to 31 December.

See business.gov.au financial distress