If ever there was a time to be grateful for living in Australia, it’s now, as we look on in horror and sympathy at what COVID-19 has brought to much of the rest of the world.
But although our case numbers and the death toll may be low, the reprieve came at a great economic cost: almost a million people have lost their jobs, and nearly two million more are on reduced working hours. Meanwhile, around 70% of businesses are experiencing lower demand and reduced cash flow.
Fortunately, there is help available from the government and banks, but it can be difficult to negotiate the assistance package maze and ensure that your business doesn’t miss out on any benefits that will help it to bounce back now that the lockdown is beginning to ease. Your finance broker and your accountant can work as a team to use their combined expertise and understanding to ensure that your business makes the most of the available support.
JobKeeper Payment so that businesses can continue paying their employees
Boosting cash flow for employers, delivering tax-free credits of up to $100,000 via the Business Activity Statement system
Wage subsidy for apprentices and trainees of up to 50% for nine months
Commercial tenant relief, including a hold on evictions and a commercial tenancy mandatory code of conduct
Increase to Instant Asset Write-Off provisions (IAWO), providing cash flow benefits for businesses with an annual turnover under $500 million
Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme, helping businesses to get working capital loans with a 50% government guarantee
International freight assistance to help agriculture and seafood exports
Early access to superannuation, which may apply to sole trader businesses
Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses, including relaxed provisions for trading while insolvent and creditors’ statutory demands
Support from banks
Australia’s banks are offering a variety of assistance measures for customers during the pandemic. What’s on offer may include:
Deferral of scheduled loan repayments
Interest-free periods or no interest rate increases
Special relief for commercial landlords who agree not to evict tenants impacted by COVID-19
Timely help from your broker
There’s a whole lot of detail to get your head around, numbers to crunch, online forms to complete and maybe phone calls to make, all while you’re trying to keep your business afloat and prepare for the economic rebound. That’s where your broker comes in, and we can help in several ways.
Government departments and banks are understandably overwhelmed by the sheer volume of applicants for assistance, so communication can be difficult and waiting times long. Brokers understand the relief packages and can provide help and advice to get the right solution for your business.
Your broker can also offer a range of finance options to get you through the crisis and help preserve your working capital and cash flow, especially for businesses wanting to take advantage of the increased IAWO, retain employees and remain in their business premises. We’ll do the legwork with the banks on your behalf, finding the products that best suit your business needs.
Emerging from the crisis with the best foot forward
Queensland’s construction industry still has over $50 billion of infrastructure projects in the pipeline for the next five years. Victoria is planning a $2.7 billion construction blitz, while work on the new Western Sydney airport rail link will begin this year, expected to create 14,000 jobs.
The trending hashtag #MakingItForQLD highlights manufacturers who are mobilising and repurposing to support the economy, including switching production to hand sanitiser, ventilators and PPE, a movement mirrored in other states and territories. And agriculture is poised to play a significant role in post COVID-19 recovery, according to a recent survey showing that 46% of farmers expect the agricultural economy to improve this year.
So make sure that you’re equipped to play your part in the recovery, with tailored advice from your broker about assistance packages and finance options.