Letter to Member; $130 Billion Wage Subsidy Package And Useful Links (COVID-19)

March 30, 2020

Dear Member/friend

While the curve hopefully may be starting to begin to flatten, social and business restrictions continue and tighten. Concurrently new economic measures are announced.

JOBKEEPER PAYMENT
Today the Prime Minister has announced a $130 Billion wage subsidy package. See this link to the press statement.https://www.pm.gov.au/media/130-billion-jobkeeper-payment-keep-australians-job

There is also a link to the ATO that enables you to register for more information.

Register now for JobKeeper Information (ATO)

ATO COVID-19

Key aspects of this package are:

  • It is a JobKeeper payment. It will be a flat rate of $1,500.00 a fortnight before tax for employees, regardless of their salary. Employers can top up wages beyond that.
  • The payment is a subsidy for eligible businesses that receive a significant financial downturn as a result of the Coronavirus
  • The payment will work through the single touch payroll system. Business will be required to keep on their books all employees who receive this payment.
  • The payment will be paid to employers for up to six months for each eligible employee, employed as at 1 March 2020. Eligible businesses can immediately commence making the Jobseeker payment now and will be reimbursed in May.
  • Businesses and not for profit organisations with an annual turnover of less than $1 billion will be eligible after a 30% downturn in business since 1 March 2020, over a one month period. For businesses with a turnover of more than $1 billion it is a 50% downturn.
  • The payment would be delivered in the first week of May 2020 but backdated to 1 March 2020.

Also announced were changes to the income support partner pay test. The JobSeeker payment (and Coronavirus Supplement) has been subject to a partner income test. The rate has been lifted to $79,762.

COMMERCIAL TENANCIES 
Yesterday the Prime Minister announced a moratorium on evictions from commercial and residential tenancies. The moratorium is for six (6) months and is in respect of circumstances when the tenants are in financial distress as a result of the Covid-19 impact.

A number of principles have been signed by the National Cabinet “to underpin and govern intervention to aid commercial tenancies."

The link to the Prime Minister's Press Release is www.pm.gov.au/media/national-cabinet-statement

The principles include:

  • a short term, temporary moratorium on eviction for non-payment of rent to be applied across commercial tenancies impacted by severe rental distress due to coronavirus;
  • tenants and landlords are encouraged to agree on rent relief or temporary amendments to the lease;
  • the reduction or waiver of rental payment for a defined period for impacted tenants;
  • the ability for tenants to terminate leases and/or seek mediation or conciliation on the grounds of financial distress;
  • commercial property owners should ensure that any benefits received in respect of their properties should also benefit their tenants in proportion to the economic impact caused by coronavirus;
  • landlords and tenants not significantly affected by coronavirus are expected to honour their lease and rental agreements; and
  • cost-sharing or deferral of losses between landlords and tenants, with Commonwealth, state and territory governments, local government and financial institutions to consider mechanisms to provide assistance.

The issue of tenancies is very complex. All tenants facing difficult times are urged to discuss their circumstances with their landlord or managing agent.

THE TWO MAN RULE AND ISOLATION
The link in relation to tenancies provides details of the restrictions surrounding social distancing.

We are down to the “two man rule” when it comes to indoor and outdoor gatherings. The existing exceptions remain for funerals (10 people), weddings (5 people), family units and people of the same household going out together. The Federal guidance is to stay at home unless you are:

  • Shopping for what you need
  • Attending to medical or health needs
  • Exercising and observing social distancing rules
  • Working or studying if you can’t do so remotely

Bootcamps are for two only. Playgrounds and outside skate parks are out.

These rules may be nuanced by the NSW Government.

I have been out and about in the Armidale CBD - while safely practicing social distancing.  As you know a lot of places are closed or closed to clients, except by appointment. Can I just say how impressed I have been to see social distancing measured out and marked in the premises that are open and how people are going about observing it. There is however no room for complacency, beating the virus will get us back to work.

Best Wishes,

Anthony

Anthony Fox
President
Armidale Business Chamber
m. 0402 838 077

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