Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support for Businesses

As the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to cause widespread disruption globally, it’s important for businesses to take precautionary measures and formulate action plans to mitigate risks on impacts to business operations and be prepared to take advantage of the recovery.

Council is committed to supporting Queensland Health as the lead agency responsible for responding to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and will ensure our community is kept informed. Anyone with health concerns can call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) or find up-to-date reliable information on the Queensland Health website.

Keep updated on Chief Heath Officer directives, including Non-essential business, activity and undertaking Closure Direction, via the Queensland Health website and State Government's overall Covid-19 website. General advice and updates from the Australian Government can be found here.

Queenslanders whose employment has been impacted by COVID-19 and are now looking for work, can register their details, location and skills to be matched with suitable job opportunities by professional recruitment agencies. Register via the Queensland Government's Jobs Finder portal. 

While it can be assumed that some industries such as health and aged care, education and tourism will be more impacted than others, the widespread nature and uncertainty of the impacts of the virus mean that a large proportion of businesses will  face challenges around supply chain, workforce and cash flow.

A range of services and financial assistance packages have been made available by the Australian Federal Government and the Queensland State Government.

Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise (TSBE) also offer a range of relevant information sources and online training services to support businesses through this crisis. Please refer to the TSBE Coronavirus Support page for more details.  

Supporting local businesses and regional areas remains a priority for Toowoomba Regional Council.

At an Ordinary Meeting of Council on 19 May 2020, Council adopted an amendment to its Procurement Policy, giving extra price weighting to local suppliers when engaged by Council to supply goods or services.

As part of the changes to the Procurement Policy, Council will:

  • Seek quotes from only local suppliers for procurement under $200,000 (where possible)
  • Give local suppliers an additional 10% price variance for purchases up to $50,000
  • Give local suppliers an additional 5% price variance for purchases greater than $50,000 but less than $200,000
  • Will continue to follow the public tender or contractual arrangement exceptions contained within Local Government Regulation 2012 (Regulation) s223 to s235 for procurement with an expected value greater than $200,000.

In addition to this, Council will give a further 2% price advantage to local suppliers in regional areas (all areas inside the Toowoomba Region boundary that are outside of the Toowoomba City, i.e. postcode 4350) for anything up to $200,000.

Your people

  • Implement measures to support good hygiene and health for your people, including travel management, advice on attending client meetings, site visits and events.
  • Communicate clearly to your people the steps they should take if they are feeling unwell – including seeking medical attention and, if required, isolation. This may include communicating what this will mean for colleagues and clients if you suspect a case of COVID-19.
  • If your business has been significantly impacted by the Coronavirus you will be able to access a wages subsidy to continue paying your employees. Under the JobKeeper program, you will be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum of six months. This assistance will help you keep staff and will help you restart when the crisis is over.
  •  JobKeeper payment fact sheet - Information for employers (last updated: Monday 30 March 2020)

Review your customers and suppliers

  • Consider informing your clients and customers of any changes to your services. This could include different opening times, changes to deliveries or deadlines.
  • Consider implementing plans to ensure regular and clear communications to clients about your policies and updates on changes to service.
  • With international travel and export impacted by COVID-19, assess the strength of your supply chain and identify alternatives if you need to source another provider.
  • Identify which customers will need extended terms from you and which suppliers might require different arrangements. Liaise with your suppliers to determine how they can support you.

Cash flow and financing

  • Any changes or delays in service can have an impact on cash flow. Consider having discussions with clients, suppliers or your landlord about renegotiating terms.
  • Your banker will be invaluable in helping you over the next couple of months. Plan early if you are going to need additional funding to get restarted. Make sure your banker is across your plans and understands where you are going.
  • Most banks have hardship teams offering a range of services that may be of support. More information, including the number for your bank’s hardship team, can be found here

Get advice

  • Be aware of the support programs available and have regular discussions with your existing business support providers e.g. Accountant, Banker, Advisor, etc.
  • The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) is offering businesses free annual membership until 30 April 2020. Membership provides access to insights and resources, including free advice from its Fair Work Helpdesk. More information is available here. 

The Government has announced a $130 billion JobKeeper payment to help keep more Australians in jobs and support businesses affected by the significant economic impact caused by the Coronavirus.

Around 6 million workers will receive a fortnightly payment of $1,500 (before tax) through their employer.

The payment ensures eligible employers remain connected to their workforce and will help businesses restart quickly when the crisis is over.

Fact sheet

Supporting businesses to retain jobs (last updated: Tuesday 31 March 2020)

Register now for JobKeeper updates 

 

Visit the Australian Government business website for information and support.

Business Support The Australian Government is supporting Australian businesses to manage cash flow challenges and retain employees. Assistance includes cash flow support to businesses and temporary measures to provide relief for financially distressed businesses.

Individual Support The Australian Government is providing financial assistance to Australians. This assistance includes income support payments, payments to support households and temporary early releases of superannuation.

Supporting the Flow of Credit The Government, the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority have taken coordinated action to ensure the flow of credit in the Australian economy. Timely access to credit is vital for businesses to manage the impacts of the Coronavirus.

Increasing the instant asset write-off - the instant asset write-off threshold has been increased from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanded access to include businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million). This applies from 12 March 2020 until 30 June 2020, for new or second-hand assets first used or installed ready for use in this timeframe. 

Backing business investment - a time-limited 15-month investment incentive to support business investment and economic growth over the short term, by accelerating depreciation deductions. This applies to eligible assets acquired from 12 March 2020 and first used or installed by 30 June 2021. Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million will be able to deduct 50 percent of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset cost. 

Boosting cash flow for employers - Provides $25,000 back to small and medium-sized businesses, with a minimum payment of $2,000 for eligible businesses. The payment will provide cash flow support to businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million that employ staff. The payment will be tax-free. 

Supporting apprentices and trainees - if you employ an apprentice or trainee you may be eligible for a wage subsidy of 50 percent of their wage paid from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. You can register for the subsidy from early April 2020. 

Safe Work Australia - for advice on work health and safety requirements in your workplace.

Employer and business obligations - find out how to meet your employer and business obligations and isolation requirements if you're affected by the coronavirus. 

Tax relief - If you are experiencing difficulties with tax obligations because of COVID-19, you can phone the Australian Taxation Office Emergency Support Infoline on 1800 806 218 for help tailored to your circumstances or email COVID-19Taxissues@ato.gov.au

Visit Business Queensland for small business support.

Call for advice - local teams are ready to talk you through the support and services on offer – call 1300 654 687 to find out more. 

Tell us what you need - complete the online survey to help the Queensland Government understand the impact of COVID-19 on your business and assess what support you need. 

Queensland COVID-19 Jobs Support Loans - QRIDA provide a new $500 million loan facility

Mentoring sessions - mentors are available to provide tailored support including financial mentoring and business planning. Contact 1300 654 687 or m4g@desbt.qld.gov.au 

Financial workshops - workshops will be delivered to support a place-based approach for the local small business community. Register your interest by contacting 1300 654 687 or info@desbt.qld.gov.au 

Immediate industry recovery package - market diversification and resilience grants are available for Queensland agriculture, food and fishing exporters and their critical supply chain partners, as well as industry organisations working with exporters.  

Support for tourism operators and hospitality providers - fees and charges relief for tourism operators and hospitality providers include: waiving application fees for some variations to liquor licences, waiving registration renewal fees for inbound tour operators, waiving of daily fees for commercial activity agreements and permits, rebate on marina charges and passenger levies, deferral of Tourism Lease Rent Payments

Support for exporters - the $1.1 million ‘market ready’ initiative will provide tailored export advice to SMEs on leveraging opportunities in the Chinese online market, support brand development by providing market intelligence and expert advice for exporters entering new markets and host China market development forums to provide practical export advice. 

Payroll tax relief package - if your business has been affected by the COVID-19, you may be able to apply for a relief package to defer lodging and paying payroll tax returns until 31 July 2020.  

Worker transition scheme and rapid response - the Worker Transition Scheme and rapid response provides a suite of information and support services to workers who may find themselves without work as a result of business closures or redundancy programs. 

Tourism impact survey - the Queensland Government is continuing to keep a close eye on the impacts of COVID-19 on Queensland’s tourism industry, please take a few minutes to complete this short survey so there is robust information about the business impacts that are being experienced.

Work Safe Queensland - for workplace risk management information and advice.

Counselling and support

  • Support services for businesses impacted - a range of resources and support services are available for impacted businesses who feel they need additional mentoring or assistance.
  • Support for impacted employees - if your employment has been impacted, access information about employee rights, entitlements and support available.
  • Support for international students - funding is available to increase student support services across Queensland to help impacted students returning to study. This support includes providing information, advice and referrals on health care, employment, budget management, accommodation and legal service, as well as connecting students to social events and activities.