Weekly Digest – 2 February 2022

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

NSW Unveils $1 Billion Support Package for Businesses

The New South Wales government has unveiled a $1 billion support package for small- and medium-sized businesses hit by the Omicron outbreak.

However, the payment will be capped at half of what was offered during the Delta wave in 2021, after the federal government refused to split the cost of the package.

The package will provide a payment of 20% of weekly payroll costs to businesses that can prove at least a 40% decline in turnover across January. Payments would range from a minimum of $500 to a maximum of $5,000 a week.

$800 Bonus to Support Aged Care Workforce

The government will provide $210 million to support the aged care workforce to continue to care for older Australians during the pandemic. The $800 bonus will be paid in two instalments of up to $400 each.

The payments will be for clinical care workers and expanded to those providing direct care, food or cleaning services in government-subsidised residential care.

Australia’s Economic Accelerator Announced

The new $1.6 billion Australia’s Economic Accelerator is part of the $2.2 billion package for the commercialisation of the six national manufacturing priority areas and will turn the country’s leading research into world-beating businesses.

Together with a new $150 million expansion of CSIRO’s Main Sequence Ventures, it will reshape research funding to emphasise projects with high potential for commercialisation that are directed at National Manufacturing Priorities and industry engagement.

Retail Sales Declined in December

Latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed retail sales fell 4.4% in December to $31.9 billion after a huge 7.3% surge in November. Sales were still up 4.8% compared to the previous year and sharply higher for the December quarter as a while, suggesting household spending made a major contribution to economic growth.

A further slowdown was likely in January as a surge in COVID-19 cases led to a self-imposed lockdown by many consumers.

Rapid Antigen Tests Now Free for Some Australians

Individuals who hold any of the following concession cards can access up to 10 free rapid tests from pharmacies over the next three months:

  • Pensioner concession card
  • Commonwealth seniors health care card
  • DVA gold, white or orange card
  • Health care card
  • Low-income card

If you fit the criteria, you need to visit your local pharmacy in person to get your free tests, or your carer or guardian can do it for you.

Eligibility Criteria for Tourism, Hospitality and Gym Grant in SA Extended

The South Australian government has announced the eligibility criteria for its Tourism, Hospitality and Gym Grant will be extended to include newer businesses that began operating after December 2020.

The payment will be:

  • $3,000 (for employing businesses) or $1,000 (for non-employing businesses);
  • Additional $1,000 for CBD businesses;
  • Additional $7,000 for tourism, hospitality and other eligible businesses with turnover above $2 million;
  • Additional top-up equivalent to automatic payment for businesses that did not receive the automatic payment.

The grant is automatically paid to businesses that have received a COVID-19 Tourism and Hospitality Support Grant or those that received an additional COVID-19 Business Support Grant. You can check for more available grants here.

Support for Small Businesses

If your business is struggling, the ATO offers a wide range of support for those affected by the pandemic, natural disasters, mental health issues, or financial difficulties.

Learn more about the available support, and the small business debt helpline for free, independent advice.

Webinars to Help You Become More Efficient with Tax and Super

The ATO will be offering two webinars this January and February to help you streamline processes and manage your tax and super online.

These sessions will teach you the ins and outs of GST, pay as you go withholding, pay as you go instalments, how to lodge your tax returns, and more. Need expert help with your tax and super? Get in touch with us today!

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment

People who are forced out of work to isolate due to being infected or being a close contact are eligible for the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment.

You are also eligible if you are caring for a child under 16 years old who is a close contact or infected, or someone with a disability or a severe medical condition who is a close contact of someone with COVID-19.

The payment was initially given in the form of a $750 lump sum payment for seven days. However, this changed slightly from 18 January into a tiered system. While it remains a lump sum payment, those who lose over 20 hours of work will receive the full $750, but if you lose between 8 and 20 hours, you will only receive $450.

A financial hardship test has also been introduced, which means anyone with $10,000 available and accessible to them will not get the payment.

You can find more information about Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment conditions specific to your state or territory here.

COVID-19 Vaccination Info Kiosks

COVID-19 vaccination information kiosks are now open in shopping centres and at events in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia to help you book a vaccination appointment.

Grants for South Australian Businesses

The South Australian government has announced a $40 million support package for businesses affected by COVID-19 restrictions. Initial automatic cash grants of up to $11,000 will be paid to eligible tourism and hospitality businesses, as well as gyms.

A second cash grant will be available on application for businesses who suffered a 30% reduction in turnover in the two weeks starting from 27 December. Other businesses who have had a 50% reduction in turnover during the same period will be eligible for grants of up to $8,000.

Meanwhile, a grant of up to $100,000 will be available for major events that had to be cancelled or delayed between 27 December and 27 January.

Get in touch

Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.

Would you like to know more? Contac us today