Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Government support for care providers and workers



As with most industries, the disability and aged care sectors are facing unprecedented challenges during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Commonwealth, state and territory governments have issued a range of measures to support disability and aged care providers and workers through this time.

The primary source of information is the Australian Government’s dedicated website Australia.gov.au.

Information for businesses can be found at Business.gov.au.


Information related to the NDIS

 

Information related to aged care

 

Please note: this list is not exhaustive and is correct as at 22 September 2020.

Australian Government measures

Measure: NDIS Disaster Response
Description:
A package for providers that includes:

Measure: Funding boost to support aged care – First Announcement (Department of Health)
Description:
Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Richard Colbeck has outlined measures to protect residents, staff and their families at facilities across the country. These include: 

      • Upskilling aged care workers in coronavirus infection control;
      • Boosting staff numbers, support and training for residential care homes where an urgent health response is required;
      • Telehealth consultation service provided by both GPs and specialists, for anyone over the age of 70; and
      • Specialist onsite pathology services ensuring residents don’t have to leave facilities and to quickly respond to potential cases.
      • Further information can be found in the following link:

Measure: Funding boost to support aged care – Second Announcement (Department of Health)
Description:
A second funding boost was announced by the Australian Government in March 2020. Funding allocations include: 

      • $234.9 million for a COVID-19 ‘retention bonus’ to ensure the continuity of the workforce for staff in both residential and home care;
      • $78.3 million in additional funding for residential care to support continuity of workforce supply;
      • $26.9 million to supplement the viability of residential aged care facilities (including National Torres Strait Islander Aged Care Program and Multi-Purpose Services and homeless providers);
      • $92.2 million in additional support to home care providers and organisations which deliver the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) including for services such as Meals on Wheels; and
      • $12.3 million to support myagedcare to respond to the needs of older Australians.
      • Further information can be found in the following link:

Measure: Updated regulatory response to infection control in aged care
Description:
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has updated its regulatory response to COVID-19. It has adjusted its routine regulatory activities so as to minimise infection risks to aged care consumers, staff and our own employees. This means adjusting its approach to fulfilling regulatory responsibilities and limiting site visits to those that are absolutely necessary on the basis of the Commission’s assessment of risk. Key elements include: 

      • The Commission will notify the provider in advance and ensure that its practices are tailored and compliant with infection control requirements; 
      • The Commission will undertake assessment contacts with services by telephone to monitor and support the quality of care and services to consumers;
      • If a provider has an upcoming reaccreditation audit, the Commission is making arrangements to ensure continuity of accreditation during this period;
      • The Commission has developed an online self-assessment tool to support providers to evaluate their infection control program; and
      • The Commission is continuing to work closely with the Department of Health and with the sector to develop further practical tools to assist providers as new information becomes available.
      • Further information can be found in the following link: 

Measure: Aged care preparedness (PPE supplies in aged care)
Description:
Aged care providers that require Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must now email agedcarecovidppe@health.gov.au for all requests.

      • Requests can be made by aged care services and any workers providing support to people receiving aged care support living in the community.
      • The Department of Health will triage the request to determine priority and may be in contact with the requester for further information.
      • Once approved the request for supplies will be shared with the National Incident Room who will work with the requester’s State or Territory Government to distribute the supplies.
      • For a list of information requirements to be included in the request email, please use the following link: 

Measure: Cash flow assistance – boosting cash flow for employers
Description:

      • The Australian Government will support small and medium-sized businesses to manage cash flow challenges via a tax-free payment to small and medium-sized businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million that employ workers. This measure will provide up to $25,000 back to employers, with a minimum payment of $2,000 for eligible businesses.
      • Further information can be found in the following link:

Measure: Economic Response to Coronavirus – supporting apprentices and trainees 
Description:

The Government is extending and expanding the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees wage subsidy. 

      • The subsidy will be available to support small and medium-sized businesses with fewer than 200 employees, including those using a Group Training Organisation, who retain an apprentice or trainee.
      • Support for small business is available for wages paid from 1 January 2020 – 30 September 2020.
      • For small and medium business who retain an Australian Apprentice engaged as at 1 July 2020, eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of an apprentice’s or trainee’s wage paid from 1 July 2020 to 31 March 2021, up to a cap of $7,000 per quarter.
      • Employers of any size, including Group Training Organisations, that re-engage an eligible out-of-trade apprentice or trainee will also be eligible for the subsidy.
      • Further information can be found in the following link:

Measure: JobKeeper Payment
Description:

      • Under the JobKeeper Payment, businesses impacted by the Coronavirus will be able to access a wage subsidy from the Government to continue paying their employees. 
      • Affected employers (including not for profits) will be able to claim a fortnightly payment per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, until 28 March 2021.
      • The existing JobKeeper Payment will remain in place until 27 September 2020. From 28 September 2020, the JobKeeper Payment will be targeted to businesses and not-for-profits that have been most significantly impacted, the payment rates will be stepped-down and two tiers of payment will be introduced. 
      • For further information, including eligibility and application requirements, please refer to the following link:

Measure: Increased Income Support
Description:
The Government has temporarily increased eligibility for income support payments, including the JobSeeker Payment. The Coronavirus Supplement of $550 per fortnight is available until 24 September 2020. Beyond this date, the Coronavirus Supplement will be available at $250 per fortnight until 31 December 2020.

Measure: SME Guarantee Scheme
Description:
From 1 April 2020 the federal government will guarantee 50% of new loans, up to $250k, issued by eligible lenders to small and medium entities.

Measure: ATO administrative concessions for businesses affected by the coronavirus
Description: 
Some of these may be available to businesses who contact the ATO:

      • Deferral of income tax and GST payments;
      • PAYG instalment variation;
      • Change of business reporting cycle to monthly where GST refunds are available;
      • Remission of interest and penalties on tax liabilities incurred after 23 January 2020 for COVID-19 affected businesses;

The ATO may apply a low interest payment plan on ongoing tax liabilities for affected businesses.

Measure: Instant asset write-off
Description: 
Immediate deduction for assets costing less than $150k for business with aggregated annual turnover of <500m. On 9 June 2020, the Government announced a six month extension to the Instant Asset Write-Off to 31 December 2020.

Measure: Accelerated depreciation until 30 June 2021
Description:
Accelerated depreciation deductions (50% on installation) for businesses with aggregated annual turnover of <500m.

Measure: Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
Description:
Government is temporarily increasing the threshold which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company ($5,000 -> $20,000), and time companies have to respond from personal liability for trading while insolvent.

Measure: Support for sole traders
Description:
The Australian Government has measures to support sole traders who do have any employees, including providing access to the JobKeeper Payment for Sole Traders, Backing Business Investment (BBI), income support payments, and SME Guarantee Scheme. 

Measure: Medicare support for telehealth services
Description:
The Australian Government will expand Medicare-subsidised telehealth services for Australians.
Note, NDIS services can also be delivered via teletherapy. There is no separate line item, billing is the same as for a face-to-face session.

 

Please note: this list is not exhaustive and is correct as at 22 September 2020.

Measures in New South Wales

For general COVID-19 updates and guidelines specific to New South Wales please see the New South Wales State Government COVID-19 page.

Measure: Payroll tax waiver and cuts
Description:
Waive payroll tax for businesses with payrolls <$10m for three months, until the end of FY19/20.
Payroll threshold limit increased to $1m in FY20/21 to bring forward payroll tax cuts. The due date for lodgment and payment has been extended to 30 October, this extension is only available for the 2020 annual reconciliation.

Measure: Small business fees and charges waiver
Description:
$80m grant to waive fees and charges for small businesses including bars, cafes, restaurants and trades.

Measure: Health boost
Description:
$700m health package for NSW Health. Increasing ICU capacity, purchasing additional PPE/medical equipment, establishing respiratory clinics and increasing COVID-19 testing.

Measure: Supporting NSW through COVID-19
Description:
Services NSW are providing supporting for individuals and businesses via phone calls and online resources. Resources include free legal advice, Australian Government payments and supports, and Emergency relief packages.

Measure: Personal Protective Equipment PPE Supplies Portal 
Description:
Industry buyers are encouraged to use the PPE supplier list to secure supplies needed for safe and robust operations.

      • The list has over 900 suppliers who have indicated they can service personal protective equipment (PPE) needs through business-to-business transactions.
      • For further information, please refer to the following link:

Measure: NSW Business Connect Services 
Description:
Business Connect is a dedicated and personalised NSW Government program that provides trusted advice to help you start or grow your small business. 

      • If your business has been affected by COVID-19 or bushfires, you can access free business advice and webinars.  
      • For further information, please refer to the following link:

 

Please note: this list is not exhaustive and is correct as at 22 September 2020.

Measures in Victoria

For general COVID-19 updates and guidelines specific to Victoria please see the Victorian State Government COVID-19 page.

Measure: Information for Community Services - COVID-19
Description:
$17m support package to assist Victorians with a disability and an updated COVID-19 plan for the community support sector and specifically the disability support sector. 

Measure: Medical Equipment and PPE Supplier Directories
Description:
To assist businesses in sourcing the supplies they need, including PPE, the Victorian Government has developed a series of directories to help identify suitable suppliers of locally manufactured products.

Measure: Business Support Package
Description:
The Victorian Government has released a new $534m Business Support Package to provide support to businesses and workers through the (COVID-19) pandemic.

Measure: $300 COVID-19 Test Isolation Payment
Description:
Victorian workers can apply for a $300 COVID-19 Test Isolation Payment that provides financial support while they self-isolate to wait for the results of their COVID-19 test.

 

Please note: this list is not exhaustive and is correct as at 22 September 2020.

Measures in Queensland

For general COVID-19 updates and guidelines specific to Queensland please see the Queensland State Government COVID-19 page.

Measure: Payroll tax support
Description:
Deferral of lodging and paying payroll tax returns for affected businesses until 31 July 2020.

Measure: Electricity Rebate
Description:
A $500 rebate for all small and medium sized businesses that consume less than 100,000 kilowatt hours.

Measure: Support for Landlords and Tenants
Description:
Up to $400 million in land tax relief for eligible landlords, which must be passed onto tenants.

Measure: Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grant Program
Description:
The Queensland Government has extended the Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grant Program. Up to $100 million is being made available to deliver a second round of grants.  Applications are still being accepted for regional small businesses, however applications from South East Queensland businesses are now closed.

 

Please note: this list is not exhaustive and is correct as at 22 September 2020.

Measures in Western Australia

For general COVID-19 updates and guidelines specific to Western Australia please see the Western Australia State Government COVID-19 page.

Measure: Small business grant/relief and Payroll tax threshold adjustment
Description:
Grant of $17.5k to small businesses paying payroll tax for businesses with a payroll between $1m - $4m – with a total of $114m to be spent in additional measures.
$1m payroll tax threshold brought forward by six months to 1 July 2020.

Measure: Support for commercial tenants and landlords
Description: $100 million in land tax relief grants have been given to commercial landlords. Eligible landlords to receive grants equal to 25% of their 2019 – 2020 land tax bill. Supports have also been created for commercial tenants with a freeze on rent increases

 

Please note: this list is not exhaustive and is correct as at 22 September 2020.

Measures in South Australia

For general COVID-19 updates and guidelines specific to South Australia please see the South Australia State Government COVID-19 page.

Measure: $1 billion Jobs and Rescue package
Description:
The South Australian Government has announced a $300m Business and Jobs Support Fund to directly assist individual businesses facing potential collapse due to COVID-19. A $250m Community and Job Supports Fund was also announced to assist community organisations. 

Measure: COVID-19 Support Grant - Round Open
Description:
Grants of up to $10,000 are available to eligible not-for-profit community organisations so they can continue to deliver programs during the COVID-19 public health emergency. 

Measure: Mental Health Support COVID-19
Description:
To support the mental health of South Australians during this time SA Health have established a Virtual Support Network of services based locally in South Australia.

 

Please note: this list is not exhaustive and is correct as at 22 September 2020.

Measures in Tasmania

For general COVID-19 updates and guidelines specific to Tasmania please see the Tasmania State Government COVID-19 page.

Measure: Emergency Relief Package
Description:
$1m to organisations such as Salvation Army, Red Cross and Rural Business Tasmania to support vulnerable Tasmanians who are self-isolated.

Measure: Tax Relief Measures
Description:
The Tasmanian Government has introduced a number of business stimulus measures in response to the impact of Coronavirus. The following measures (including a Commonwealth-funded builder scheme) are being administered by the Commissioner of State Revenue.

Measure: Dedicated Coronavirus Website for Tasmanians
Description:
Department of Premier and Cabinet Website with all up-to-date information on COVID-19, information, measures and stimulus packages including:

Measure: Premier’s Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council (PESRAC)
Description:
Premier’s Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council to provide advice to the Premier on strategies and initiatives to support the short to medium, and the longer-term recovery from COVID-19.

 

Please note: this list is not exhaustive and is correct as at 22 September 2020.

Measures in the Australian Capital Territory

For general COVID-19 updates and guidelines specific to the Australian Capital Territory please see the ACT Government COVID-19 page.

Measure: Payroll tax deferral and waiver
Description:
Businesses paying <$10m in wages will be entitled to defer their FY20/21 payroll taxes, interest free, until 1 July 2022. Businesses must apply on ACT Revenue website.
Hospitality, creative arts and entertainment industries will be entitled to a one-off, 6-month waiver on payroll tax, from April to September 2020. Businesses must apply on ACT Revenue website.

Measure: Commercial general rates rebate
Description:
Businesses with properties with an average unimproved value <$2m will be entitled to a $2,622 credit on their FY19/20 general rates bill. Applied automatically to quarter four. Businesses who have paid in full are eligible for a refund.

Measure: Small businesses rebate
Description:
Small businesses will receive a $750 rebate on their next electricity bill.

Measure: Community Support Package
Description:
$7m package to provide food relief and support for vulnerable members of the community and meet increased service demand for emergency relief.

Measure: Commercial tenancy relief  

Description:
The government has developed a scheme that provides relief for business tenants and owner-operated commercial properties.

Measure: Infection control training  
Description:
New nationally recognised infection control training is available from 5 June for workers in customer facing roles to help them understand how to minimise the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

 

Please note: this list is not exhaustive and is correct as at 22 September 2020.

Measures in the Northern Territory

For general COVID-19 updates and guidelines specific to the Northern Territory please see the Northern Territory Government COVID-19 page.

Measure: Payroll tax concession
Description:
Payroll tax exemption for hiring Territory employees has been extended to 30 June 2021.

Measure: Business improvement grant
Description:
Businesses investing in permanent physical improvements of $10,000 will be able to access a $10,000 grant, followed by an additional $10,000

Measure: Business improvement scheme
Description:
$20m for business upgrades. Businesses may be entitled to an initial $10k grant for upgrades, plus a further $10k in matched contribution. Upgrades must be purchased from an eligible territory businesses.

Measure: Immediate Works Grant
Description:
$5m in grants for not-for-profit and community engagements to engage local businesses for repairs, renovation and upgrades to their facilities. First $50k will be paid as a grant and a further amount, up to $50k, in matched contributions.

Measure: Government fees and charges increase freeze
Description:
Any regular increases on government fees and charges, including electricity costs, will be put on hold.

 

Please note: this list is not exhaustive and is correct as at 22 September 2020.