COVID-19 Business Update – 5 May 2021
Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.
Perth Dodges New Lockdown
West Australian Premier Mark McGowan announced on Sunday that there will be no second snap-lockdown in Perth, but COVID-19 restrictions will still be imposed after reports that a hotel quarantine security guard and two of his housemates tested positive for the virus.
Nightclubs will be closed immediately until after midnight on 8 May, restrictions will still be in place, and the use of masks will be required.
New South Wales Reports First COVID-19 Case in More Than a Month
NSW reported its first locally acquired COVID-19 case in more than a month.
A man in his 50s who tested positive for COVID-19 had visited a movie theatre, restaurants, a service station, and a meat store in Sydney’s eastern suburbs while unknowingly infectious. He has not travelled overseas in recent times and doesn’t work in any high-risk facility such as a quarantine hotel or hospital.
Authorities are working to trace the source of the virus.
Australian Citizens in India Barred From Returning Home
Australian citizens are barred from re-entering the country if they are coming from India. Prime Minister Scott Morrison defended the decision saying that strict regulations are necessary to keep the country Covid-free.
The ban is currently set to be lifted on 15 May.
WA Small Business Lockdown Assistance Grants Program
The Western Australian Government has announced targeted grants to help small businesses affected by the recent lockdown in the Perth and Peel regions. The program will provide grants of $2000 to small businesses in industry sectors most severely impacted.
The intention is to help small businesses offset some of the direct costs of the lockdown and business closure, such as perishable goods.
A full list of eligibility criteria will be published in the coming weeks.
Federal Budget 2021 to be Announced on 11 May
The Federal Government will hand down its 2021-22 Budget on 11 May. From JobKeeper to JobSeeker and all the associated costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, many expect this year’s Budget to be modest.
The government has already revealed its expenditure plans on the two most pressing issues– child care and aged care, with annual costing at $1.7 billion and $2.5 billion, respectively. The planned expenditure on these two key issues appears low relative to estimates from independent studies.
Stay tuned next week for a comprehensive coverage of the Federal Budget 2021.
$600 M for New Resilience Agency to Combat Threat of Natural Disasters
The government will establish a national recovery and resilience agency and create a new climate service to help manage the risk of natural disasters.
Around $600 million will be allocated to the agency to fund resilience projects such as bushfire and cyclone-proofing houses, building levees for flood control, and improving the resilience of telecommunications and essential supplies.
New AgMove Support to Boost Harvest Workforce
A new AgMove support will be launched to accommodate short, but intense, harvesting seasons and provide the right incentives to get job seekers to give agricultural work a go.
Under AgMove, the government is introducing more flexible incentives which will see Australians eligible for up to $2,000 in relocation assistance (or $650 for temporary visa holders) when they complete just 40 hours of agricultural work over a two-week period.
If they continue with the agricultural work and complete 120 hours across a period of at least four weeks, they will hit the second eligibility point where they will be able to access reimbursement of up to $6,000 for Australian workers and up to $2,000 for temporary visa holders.
Reinsurance Pool to Cover Cyclone Damage in Northern Australia
The government has announced a reinsurance pool backed by a $10 billion government guarantee. This will subsidise the cost of insurance coverage for cyclones and related flood damage, making insurance premiums cheaper for people living in vulnerable areas of northern Australia from July next year.
The government expects this will reduce premiums by more than $1.5 billion for households, strata and small businesses north of the Tropic of Capricorn over 10 years.
Providing Health Care Remotely During COVID-19
From 13 March to 30 June 2021, new temporary MBS (Medicare Benefits Schedule) telehealth items have been made available to help reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID-19. You can find the temporary Medicare items that will help health care practitioners deliver telehealth services via phone or video conferencing here.
$6.9 M Cyber Security Assistance Boost for Businesses
Nearly 600,000 small- and medium-sized businesses across the country will soon have access to free advice and assistance to improve their cyber security.
The Cyber Security Business Connect and Protect Program is providing $6.9 million in funding to 14 trusted organisations that will work directly with businesses to identify security risks and help them take active steps to secure their systems.
$2000 Upfront Cash if the Unemployed Move for Work
Starting in May, job seekers will get up to $2000 upfront if they move to a new location for ongoing work. Job seekers will get help relocating for jobs offering at least 20 hours a week, instead of the existing threshold of 30 hours.
Wage Subsidy Scheme for Apprentices to Be Expanded
The government will spend $1.2 billion to expand its wage subsidy scheme for apprentices, as JobKeeper ended last month.
Under the apprentice scheme, the government will pay half the wages of apprentices up to a maximum of $7,000 each quarter for 12 months. It will run until September 2022. Ask us if you have any questions.
Upcoming Key Dates
Upcoming key lodgment and payment dates for businesses:
- Lodge 2020 tax returns for all entities that did not have to lodge earlier and are not eligible for the 5 June concession.
- Lodge and pay April 2021 monthly business activity statement.
- Final date to add new FBT clients to your client list to ensure they receive the lodgment and payment concessions for their fringe benefits tax returns.
- Lodge and pay eligible quarter 3, 2020–21 activity statements if you or your client have elected to receive and lodge electronically.
- Lodge and pay quarter 3, 2020–21 Superannuation guarantee charge statement – quarterly (NAT 9599) if the employer did not pay enough contributions on time. Employers who lodge a Superannuation guarantee charge statement – quarterly can choose to offset contributions they paid late to a fund against their super guarantee charge for the quarter. They still have to pay the remaining super guarantee charge.
Contact us if you have any questions.
Government-backed COVID-19 Loans Extended
The government is extending its small business COVID-19 loans scheme until June 2021. If you need help to access these loans or you want to find out if you are eligible, don’t hesitate to drop us a message.
Tasks Business Owners Should Be Delegating
It doesn’t matter what your big plans are or how well-designed your road map for growth is– the future success of your business will be limited if you don’t work on the right things. This Forbes article discusses the tasks that business owners should delegate to accelerate their business’ growth.
- Low-value admin tasks– Your time is of high value and it’s finite. So instead of spending your time on tasks that anyone with the right tools can do with little instruction, it’s best to focus on the core activities that drive business growth.
- High-value tasks you’re NOT an expert in– If you haven’t been working in accounting, marketing, or any other area of specialisation for the past 10 years, find a professional who has. While you can teach yourself how to do all these, your performance won’t likely match the skill of an expert with years of experience, not to mention that you’ll be slower in completing the task.
- High-value tasks you ARE an expert in– While this may come at a later stage in your business journey, it’s important to train people to perform in the same areas you’re an expert in. This will make your business more resilient to challenges, changes, or unexpected circumstances that will inevitably come.
Need help with the finance-side of your business? Get in touch with us today and ease your burden by delegating your accounting with us.
Get in touch
Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.