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Federal Government Initiatives

Other Federal Government Initiatives

Loan Guarantees

What is it?

  • Loan guarantees up to 50% for new unsecured loans of up to $250,000
  • Loan terms up to three years with an initial six month loan repayment holiday
  • These loans will be unsecured
  • Also providing exemption from responsible lending obligations for lenders providing credit to small business customers.
  • The Initiative will commence by early April 2020 for new loans made by lenders until 30 September 2020.

Who is eligible?

Businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million.

What do I do?

Talk to your current financial institution or other participating lenders. The Government is currently working with banks and other lenders to ensure loans are available as soon as possible.


Links for further information

SME Guarantee Scheme

Working from Home Tax Deduction

What is it?

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is increasing the deduction rate to allow people to claim 80 cents per hour for all their working from home running expenses, rather than needing to calculate costs for specific running expenses.

This method will be available from 1 March to 30 September 2020.

If you choose to use this shortcut method, all you need to do is keep a record of the hours you worked from home as evidence of your claim.

Multiple people living in the same house will each be able to claim at the new rate.

The requirement to have a dedicated work-from-home area has been removed.

The new arrangement does not prohibit people from making a working-from-home claim under existing arrangements, where you calculate your running expenses on a pro rata basis of actual expenses incurred.


Links for further information

Home Office Tax Deductions

Working from Home

Early Access to Superannuation

What is it?

Eligible individuals will be able to apply online to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation before 1 July 2020. They will also be able to access up to a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020 until 24 September 2020. Only one application can be submitted in each financial year, even if the total amount is released is less than $10,000.

Individuals will be able to apply for early release from 20 April 2020.

What do I do?

Register your interest by logging into your myGov account and follow the Intention to access coronavirus support instructions.


Links for further information

Early Access to Superannuation

NDIA Support

What is it?

The NDIA is introducing a number of changes to assist providers, including:

  • One-off advance payment for eligible registered providers, to be received automatically.
  • Temporary 10% increase for some supports effective 25 March 2020.
  • Providers are able to claim 100% of the agreed support price for a cancellation where the participant has given less than 10 business days’ notice.

Who is eligible?

Registered NDIS providers. To be eligible for the one-off advance payment, registered providers must have received a payment in February 2020 and at least one other payment in December 2019 or January 2020.


Links for further information

NDIS COVID-19 Updates

Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package

What is it?

To ensure ongoing access to early childhood education and care, from 6 April 2020 until 12 July 2020, services that remain open and have children enrolled will receive a weekly payment to ensure they can deliver early childhood education and care to families who need it. Payments will be 50% of the lower of the services’ hourly fees or the existing hourly rate cap, based on the fortnight before 2 March 2020. These payments will be made instead of the usual Child Care Subsidy (CCS) and Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) payments. Payments for services providing vacation care only will be calculated on the equivalent of the average weekly amount for the September-October School Holidays.

From 13 July 2020, Child Care Subsidy and Additional Child Care Subsidy return, along with a Transition Payment for the period 13 July 2020 to September 2020.

The Transition Payment is the lower of 25% of fee revenue or the existing hourly rate cap.

Services may also be eligible to receive the Exceptional Circumstances Supplementary Relief Payment if they require a ‘top up’ in addition to the base relief payment. For more information refer to the DESE Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package – Exceptional Circumstance Supplementary Relief Payment information sheet.

Who is eligible?

Early childhood education and care services.

What do I do, as a provider of early childhood education and care services?

  • Stay open unless closed on public health advice or other health and safety reasons
  • Ensure families are not charged a fee, including an out of pocket or gap fee
  • Prioritise care to children of essential workers, vulnerable and disadvantaged children and previously enrolled children
  • Services will not be able to upload session reports to the Child Care Subsidy System during this period, but must continue to keep attendance records of children and provide statements to families while payments remain active.
  • Comply with all other provider obligations including National Quality Framework and other relevant conditions of approval under Family Assistance Law.
  • Until the payments are made, the Government will allow centres to waive gap fees for families who keep their children home.

When will payments be received?

Payments will be made automatically on a weekly basis into your child care service bank account from the week beginning 6 April 2020 until the week ending 12 July 2020. No application for payment is required.

FAQ’s:

Will I still receive payments if my service is directed to close by health authorities due to COVID-19?
Yes, you are still eligible to receive this payment if your service is directed to close on public health advice or other valid health and safety reasons.

Our service has had to close temporarily, what do we do?
If your service is required to temporarily close for any reason, you must report the closure and re-opening. Failure to report a re-opening may impact your Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package payments.

What if I need to amend a session report for a session of care prior to 6 April 2020?
After 28 June 2020, providers will be able to submit sessions of care for periods prior to 6 April 2020, and to make resubmissions to correct already submitted sessions.

How should services treat new enrolments at their centre?
Providers should continue to enter into a complying written arrangement with parents who are eligible for the child care subsidy and record the child’s start date in their third party software. An enrolment notice should be submitted in the provider’s third party software within 7 days of entering into an arrangement with the family.

Worked Examples:

Calculation method for payments under the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package
A centre-based day care (CBDC) service charges $100 for a 10 hour session of care. Therefore, their hourly fee is $10 per hour ($100 ÷ 10 = $10). As $10 is less than the CBDC hourly rate cap of $11.98, $10 is the amount used.

On the fortnight starting 17 February 2020, the CBDC service had 20 children attending the service. Each child attended 10 sessions of care for the fortnight (or five per week) and were charged $100 for a ten hour session (meaning the hourly fee was $10). For that fortnight, the service’s total fees charged were $20,000 (or $10,000 per week).

The payment this service will receive is worked out below:

The hourly payment is $5 ($10 x 50% = $5).

$5 hourly payment x 10 hour session = $50 payment per session

$50 x 20 children x 5 sessions per week = $5,000 paid per week

Sourced from: Department of Education, Skills and Employment


Links for further information

COVID-19 Information for early childhood education and care providers

Childcare FAQ

Exhibiting Zoos and Aquariums Program

What is it?

This program provides funding to eligible exhibiting zoos and aquariums whose revenue from tourism has been impacted by the travel and social distancing restrictions to reduce the spread of COVID19.

Who is eligible?

Austrade is working with the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA) and state and territory tourism organisations to identify businesses that will be eligible for this assistance. These businesses will be exhibiting animal attractions that are important at a national, state or regional level as they contribute to conservation and presentation of animals and drive interstate and international visitation. This program does not provide assistance to animal refuges and rescue organisations.

Eligible exhibiting zoos and aquariums will have access to a grant that contributes towards up to six months of its animal welfare costs.

What do I do?

Eligible zoos and aquariums will be invited by Austrade to submit an application for a grant in early May and will also be provided with a link to the application form via email.

When will payments be received?

An initial payment will be made within 10 days of eligible applicants executing a funding agreement. The balance will be paid from 1 July 2020 when the expenses of eligible applicants who can show an ongoing decline in revenue of at least 30 per cent has been established.


Links for further information

Fact Sheet

AusTrade Information

Cultural and Creative Sector Support

What is it?

The Australia Government is providing support for organisations in the cultural and creative sector including:

  • Grants for Indigenous Art Centres and Indigenous Art Fairs that already receive funding through the IVAIS Program. Payments of up to $85,000 will be made to each IVAIS-funded Indigenous Art Centre and up to $70,000 made to each IVAIS-funded Indigenous Art Fair.
  • Artists and arts organisations in regional Australia will be able to access additional funding of $10million through the Regional Arts Fund.
  • $10million contribution to the performing arts industry charity Support Act, to provide immediate crisis relief to artists, crew and music workers affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Funding available through Australia Council’s Resilience Fund which can be combined with relief offered by other arts funding agencies, government departments, support services and philanthropy.
  • Live Music Australia program offering grants for small to medium sized venues that support original Australian live music.

Links for further information

Arts – Government COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund

Live Music Australia 

Aged Care Sector Assistance

What is it?

The Australian Government Department of Health has announced a number of funding initiatives for residential care and home providers including:

  • $78.3 million in temporary additional funding for residential care.
  • Temporary increases to the Residential and Home Care Viability Supplements and a number of Homeless Supplements for residential care providers.
  • An additional $70.2 million for the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) to support in home providers impacted by COVID-19

What do I do?

The temporary additional funding and increase to supplements will be administered through an uplift to subsidies paid through the Aged Care Funding Instrument with effect from 1 March 2020 to 31 August 2020. Funding will start to flow to providers from April 2020.

CHSP providers must complete and submit an application form to access the in home provider funding


Links for further information

Protecting Older Australians COVID-19

ATO Assistance

What is it?

The Australian Taxation Office has announced measures to assist the cash flow of Not for Profit organisations including, (subject to an application process):

  • Remittance of interest and penalties paid to the ATO after 23 January 2020.
  • Deferral of activity statement and PAYG payments for up to six months.
  • Low interest payment plans for on-going tax liabilities.
  • Allowing organisations on a quarterly reporting cycle to opt into monthly GST reporting to get quicker access to GST refunds they may be entitled to.
  • Allowing organisations to vary PAYG instalment amounts to zero for the March 2020 quarter.
  • Lodgement and payment due date for the 2019-20 Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) annual returns automatically deferred to 25 June 2020 for both self-preparers and tax agent paper and electronic lodgements.
  • Amendments to ancillary fund guidelines to provide a credit for ancillary funds that make an eligible distribution to DGRs.

The ATO is also applying automatic lodgement and payment deferrals for obligations due on 15 May 2020:

  • Company 2018-19 income tax returns now due by 5 June 2020
  • SMSF 2018-19 annual returns now due by 30 June 2020
  • 2019-18 income tax returns for individuals, partnerships and trusts can be lodged by the 5 June concessional due date

Who is eligible?

Any not for profit organisation with tax obligations or amounts owing to the ATO.

What do I do?

  • Contact the ATO to discuss entering a low interest payment plan or payment deferrals (Not-for-profit infoline 1300 130 248 or the Emergency Support Infoline 1800 806 218).
  • Interest and penalties incurred after 23 January 2020 may be remitted by the ATO automatically.

FAQ’s:

Can I defer the due dates for tax payments that were due before 23 January 2020?
No you cannot defer due dates for tax payments that were already due before 23 January 2020. However you can request:

  • Remission of interest that has accrued on those debts from 23 January 2020
  • Low interest payment arrangement

Can I defer the due dates for tax payments that were due after 23 January 2020?
You can request a deferral of due dates for tax payments that were due after 23 January 2020 and which you have not yet been able to pay. 

My organisation has been affected by COVID-19, if I get an ATO debt now, will interest and penalties be remitted?

Yes – the COVID-19 remission applies to interest and penalties that were incurred on or after 23 January 2020.


Links for further information

COVID-19 Payment Deferrals

COVID-19 Low Interest Payments

Amended Guidelines for Ancillary Funds

ASIC Assistance

What is it?

ASIC has provided relief for companies having difficulty holding Annual General Meetings:

  • Confirming it will take no action if the AGMs of companies with 31 December balance dates (which are required to hold an AGM by 31 May 2020) are postponed for two months; that is until the end of July. This also applies to AGMs of companies with 30 June 2020 yearends that hold an AGM in January or February 2021, instead of by 31 December 2020.
  • Supporting the holding of AGMs using appropriate technology.

ASIC is also granting temporary relief for financially distressed companies which will provide temporary relief from directors’ duty to prevent insolvent trading related to eligible debt.


Links for further information

Guidelines for Meeting Upcoming AGM and Financial Reporting Requirements

Extended Financial Reporting Deadlines

Directors Duties 

ACNC Assistance

What is it?

The Australian Charities and Not-forprofits Commission (ACNC) is providing:

  • Charities with their Annual Information Statement lodgement due date between 12 March 2020 and August 2020, now have an extension until 31 August 2020.
  • Tax-deductible donations available to Australian Disaster Relief Funds that are established for the relief of people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These will be tax-deductible when made within two years from 18 March 2020.

The ACNC has also issued guidance:

  • On the holding of AGMs, encouraging organisations to consider their constitutional and regulatory requirements and plan now as to how the AGM may be held if face to face is not an option – no further relief offered at this stage. Note that the ACNC have included links to each state regulator, which details their compliance approach with regard to AGMs.
  • Regarding the need to be transparent as to fundraising monies received that can no longer be used for the purpose for which they were received.
  • That they will not investigate certain breaches of Governance Standards and the External Conduct Standards that occur from 25 March until 25 September 2020, unless they are significant and harm public interest. These certain breaches include operating outside of the charity’s purposes, incurring debts such that the charity becomes insolvent, or being unable to obtain reporting from the charity’s overseas operations or partners.

 


Links for further information

Charity Operations and COVID-19

COVID-19 Declared a Disaster – ATO

Fair Work Australia

The Fair Work Ombudsman has provided information on their website to help employers and employees understand their rights and responsibilities at work during the coronavirus outbreak.

On 8 April 2020, the Fair Work Commission made determinations varying 99 awards. The determinations inserted a temporary new schedule into these awards and apply from an employee’s first full pay period on or after 8 April 2020 until 30 June 2020. The schedule provides employees with:

  • 2 weeks of unpaid pandemic leave
  • Flexibility to take twice as much annual leave at half pay

Fair Work Act JobKeeper provisions allowing for JobKeeper enabling stand down direction


Links for further information

Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws

Award Flexibility during coronavirus

Unpaid Pandemic Leave in Awards

Economic Stimulus Payment

What is it?

A one-off payment of $750 will be made to eligible individuals as an economic stimulus measure and to provide support to individuals on low incomes as a result of COVID-19.

Who is eligible?

If you meet one of the following criteria the payment will be made automatically between 31 March and 17 April 2020.

If you receive one of the following payments:

  • Age Pension
  • Disability Support Pension
  • Carer Payment
  • Carer Allowance
  • Parenting Payment
  • Wife Pension
  • Widow B Pension
  • ABSTUDY (Living Allowance)
  • Austudy
  • Bereavement Allowance
  • Newstart Allowance
  • JobSeeker Payment
  • Youth Allowance
  • Partner Allowance
  • Sickness Allowance
  • Special Benefit
  • Widow Allowance
  • Farm Household Allowance
  • Family Tax Benefit A
  • Family Tax Benefit B
  • Double Orphan Pension.

You’ll also get the payment if you have one of the following concession cards:

  • Pensioner Concession Card
  • Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
  • Veteran Gold Card.

You’ll also get the payment if you receive one of the following Department of Veterans’ Affairs payments:

  • Veteran Service Pension
  • Veteran Income Support Supplement
  • Veteran Compensation payments, including lump sum payments
  • War Widow(er) Pension.

What do I do?

The additional payment will be made automatically if you are eligible.


Links for further information

A $750 one off Economic Support Payment


Government Support

Boosting Cash Flow for Employers

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JobKeeper Payments

JobKeeper
Payments

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JobSeeker Payments

JobSeeker
Payments

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Federal Government Initiatives

Federal Government Initiatives

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State Government Assistance

State Government Assistance

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Local Government Assistance

Local Government Assistance

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Help Available

Other Financial Assistance

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