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.

 

Choose the government measures most relevant to you from the list below:

 

Information related to the NDIS

Information related to aged care 

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Overview of 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: Cash flow assistance – supporting apprentices and trainees (1 Jan 2020 to 30 September 2020)
Description:

A 50% subsidy on apprentice/trainee wages, up to $21,000pp - for small businesses with <20 employees.

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 of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum of 6 months. 
      • Full time and part time employees, including stood down employees, will be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment. Where a casual employee has been with their employer for at least the previous 12 months they will also be eligible for the Payment.
      • For further information, including eligibility and application requirements, please refer to the following link:

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.

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.

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Overview of New South Wales measures

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.

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.

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Overview of measures in Victoria 

Measure: Payroll tax incentives – refund & deferral
Description:

      • $550m in refunds on payroll tax paid in the first three quarters of FY19/20, for small and medium businesses with annual payroll <$3m.
      • Above businesses will also be able to defer any payroll tax incurred in the first three months of FY20/21 until 1 Jan 2021.
      • For further information, please refer to the following link:

Measure: Land tax payments - deferral
Description:
2020 land tax payments will be deferred for ‘eligible’ small businesses.

Measure: Commercial Rent Relief
Description:
Commercial tenants in government buildings can apply for rent relief.

Measure: COVID-19 response package
Description:
$100m health package to public and private hospitals and a further $437m health package aimed at supporting healthcare network.

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. 

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Overview of measures in Queensland 

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.

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Overview of measures in Western Australia 

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

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Overview of measures in South Australia

Measure: $350m infrastructure package
Description:
$350m package for roads, housing, tourism and health.

Measure: $10,000 emergency cash grant for small business
Description:
Small businesses and not-for-profit entities who employ South Australians who have been highly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible to receive a $10,000 grant to support the operation of their business.

Measure: Land tax relief for landlords
Description:
The South Australian Government has announced land tax relief for non-residential and residential landlords in response to COVID-19. Landlords who provide tenants impacted by COVID-19 with rent relief may be eligible for a 25% reduction on the land tax payable on a parcel of land in the 2019-20 land tax year

Measure: $650m 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. 

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Overview of measures in Tasmania 

Measure: Payroll tax waiver & Youth employment payroll tax rebate scheme
Description:
From April 2020 there will be a one year payroll tax rebate for businesses employing persons 24 and under.
All business’ with annual payroll <$5m can apply to have their payroll tax waived until June 2020 (3 months).

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: Supporting Primary Health & Mental Health Sectors
Description:

      • $2m for additional support for primary health care providers.
      • $1m for accommodation for frontline workers if they need to stay away from home.
      • $1m for Mental Health Programs provided by community organisations to support individuals impact by COVID-19.
      • For further information, please refer to the following link:

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Overview of measures in the Australian Capital Territory 

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.

      • For further information, please refer to the following link:
        • Link to the ACT commercial general rates rebate 

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: Social housing tenant support
Description:
All social housing households will be entitled to a $250 bank payment.

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Overview of measures in the Northern Territory 

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.

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Please note: this list is not exhaustive and is correct as at 3 June 2020.