Weekly Digest – 9 March 2022

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

COVID-19 Vaccine Claims Scheme

The government is developing a claims scheme to provide a simple, streamlined process to compensate eligible people who suffer a moderate to significant impact following an adverse reaction to an approved COVID-19 vaccine without the need for complex legal proceedings. The scheme covers the costs of injuries of $1,000 and above.

Business Sentiment Rebounds

Business sentiment strengthened in February, as the Omicron wave dissipated, easing supply chain disruptions and reviving demand. Business confidence jumped to 13 points from a revised 4 in January, recording gains across all industries, according to a National Australia Bank survey.

Labour Crunch May Affect Economic Recovery

A labour crunch across critical industries threatens to weigh on the country’s economic recovery. Australia currently faces a shortfall of about 300,000 workers.

Central Bank Still Patient on Rates

The central bank head warned that the war in Ukraine was a new inflationary shock to the world economy, but Australia still had time to assess the impact before likely raising interest rates later in the year.

Investment Attraction Fund Opens

Expressions of interest are now open for the recently launched Investment Attraction Fund designed to attract new investment to Western Australia that will create local jobs and contribute to a more diversified economy.

Grants for Regional Sporting Events

Sporting events across rural and regional Australia are set to benefit from the government’s Regional Sport Events Fund. The fund is now open for applications and will support community sporting events with an aim of kickstarting local economies and encouraging visitors back after the impacts of the pandemic. More than 400 eligible LGAs across Australia can apply for funding of up to $50,000.

Business Assistance Package for WA Businesses

The Level 2 COVID-19 Business Assistance Package is available for businesses in Western Australia most impacted by restrictions. The assistance includes a $66.8 million Small Business Hardship Grants Program, $2.8 million of payroll tax relief for large hospitality businesses, and $2.1 million for a COVID-19 Commercial Sporting Franchises Support Program.

Safe Transition Industry Support Package

The WA Government has launched a $77 million Safe Transition Industry Support Package to assist eligible businesses and individuals in sectors most affected by the decision to delay the full reopening of WA’s borders. It includes nine support programs for the international education, tourism, aviation and events sectors.

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. 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.

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.

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.

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.

Get in touch

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