Update on Australian Government’s recent Grants during Covid-19
Covid-19 was not limited to 2019 but also spread its wings to 2020 and 2021 with many variants appearing once every few months. The pandemic has made a serious holistic impact on people, communities, and businesses around every corner of the world. Australian government responds to these adverse social and business impacts through various relief payments and concessions. There are cash grants offered as well as tax credits delivered through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Some of these grants have been specifically designed for some states based on specific financial requirements. Most of these grants are focused on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which have less than the threshold of employees and the aggregate turnover limit. Every grant program that has been introduced has its eligibility requirements.
1. Continuous Jobmaker Hiring Credit Scheme
The Jobmaker Hiring Credit scheme is an incentive given for businesses to hire young job seekers between 16-35 years of age. The credit is granted for each eligible additional employee that has been hired between October 2020 to October 2021. There is a $4 billion Jobmaker Hiring Credit given to businesses and there is an additional $1.2 billion for ‘Boosting Apprenticeship Wage Subsidy’ to support 100,000 apprentices and trainees. There is also an SME Recovery Loan Scheme introduced to provide continuous support to companies that received JobKeeper Loans.
The Government’s SME Recovery Loan Scheme is designed to support the economic recovery, and to provide continued assistance, to firms that received JobKeeper Loans. This grant is available from 1 April 2021 until 31 December 2021.
2. Grants to Affected regions
Australian Federal Government has a $110m initiative to support agricultural and fisheries exports to overseas markets where these exporting flights come back to Australia with medical supplies from those countries. Under this scheme, there is also $12.7m given to SMEs with 19 employees or less to get financial counseling to enhance their businesses.
3. Grant for Arts & Entertainment Sector
The Australian government has allocated $75m to assist companies in the arts and entertainment sector to restart or create new activities that have been impacted by Covid-19. $75,000 to $2m of grants are given to eligible companies till 31st December 2021.
4. Consumer Travel Support Program Grants
Travel agent companies are one of the most affected sectors due to pandemics. These companies are given a one-off grant of $1500 to $100,000 under the Consumer Travel Support Program that has been introduced by the government. This funding enables the businesses in the sector to continue the trading and pay legal refunds and credits to the required consumers. To be eligible for this grant, a business needs to have an annual GST turnover of $50,000 to $20 million in the year 2019.
5. Disaster Support Package
When there are lockdowns imposed due to Covid-19 that restrict employees from attending work, and if that causes loss of income or if the employee isn’t receiving any paid leave entitlements or any income/disaster support payment; he or she will be eligible for this package. Through this grant, a person will receive $750 per week when 20 hours or more have been lost. While $450 will be received if 8 to 20 hours a week have been lost.
Another Disaster support grant is the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment (PDLP), a lump sum payment of $1,500 given for every 14 days. This is given as financial support to individuals who cannot earn because they are quarantined or self-isolated. PDLP is a taxable income.
6. Apprenticeship Boost
Apprenticeship boost is a wage subsidy given for companies that employ Australian apprentices. All businesses that engage an Australian apprentice between October 2020 and March 2022 will be eligible for this scheme, allowing 50% of the apprentice’s gross wages. The maximum subsidy amount is capped at $7,000 for a quarter for one apprentice.
The grants that have been discussed so far are the grants issued by the Australian Federal Government. Apart from these main grants, each state has its grant schemes covering different territorial aspects.
New South Wales
- Job Saver Payment – Eligible employees receive 40% of weekly payroll
- 2021 Covid-19 business grant – One-off grant for businesses if their turnovers are affected.
- Grants for micro-business – if the business turnovers are at least 30% affected
- Payroll tax concessions – 50% payroll tax deduction when there is 30% turnover reduction with $1.2m – $10m payroll.
- Commercial tenancy changes – rent relief for commercial and retail tenants if the turnover up to $50m.
- Land tax relief – reduction of 2021 tax payable if the rent relief has been obtained
- Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund – Grant of $3,000 a month for landlords who face difficulties due to reduced rents
- Business Cost Assistant Payment – Business support based on the size of the payroll
- Licensed Hospitality venue fund
- Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme – Commercial landlords providing rent relief to tenants with under $50m turnover. This turnover has to be reduced by 30% in 2021 April to September compared to 2019.
- Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund – For landlords who have waived 50% or more of the rent between July 2021 to January 2022.
- 2021 Covid-19 business Support Grant Provided for SMEs and Large Tourism & Hospitality Companies
- Tourism & travel agent support fund – $2000 to $10,000 grants for tourism businesses affected by lockdown & boarder restrictions
- Covid-19 business Support Grant – for businesses with 30% turnover reductions due to restrictions imposed from 20th July 2021.
- Covid-19 Additional Business Support Grant
- Covid-19 Hardship Grant – For a business that has 50% turnover drop and annual payroll of less than $10 million
- Covid-19 Tourism & Hospitality Support grant
Many of these grants have deadlines. It is imperative to be aware of this, as the deadlines differ by program. The longer grants program dates tend to keep changing from time to time. These grants help to create ‘hope’ for many businesses and individuals during these difficult times.