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Support for Australian businesses

Last updated 29/09/2020

Essential information

  • If you can’t pay your energy bills on time, help is available.
  • The Australian Government has announced a wide range of measures to help businesses including:
  • The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has set reasonable expectations of energy companies to protect householders and small business customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Protections for small businesses and households during COVID-19 have been extended to 31 October 2020.
  • National Coronavirus Helpline. Call 1800 020 080 if you're seeking information on coronavirus (COVID-19) or help with the COVIDSafe app. The line operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • To get the latest information on COVID-19:
    • download the 'COVIDSafe' government app in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. This highly secure app enables public health workers to notify people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 more quickly and effectively. The COVIDSafe app is now available in Arabic, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Greek, Italian, Korean, Punjabi, Turkish and Vietnamese
    • download the 'Coronavirus Australia' government app in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. This app includes essential information on government actions, a symptom checker, news and contact information
    • join the WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android.
  • Advice for small businesses navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic with state and territory-specific information and resources, see Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO)
  • Businesses impacted by coronavirus can also call the Australian Taxation Office’s Emergency Support Hotline on 1800 806 218 for help.
  • For advice on mental well-being and business health for sole traders and small businesses, see ASBFEOs My Business Health page. The portal offers free tools, templates and useful tips to help small business owners manage through day-to-day operations while prioritising their wellbeing.
  • Information for businesses is regularly updated on business.gov.au, see coronavirus information and support for business.
  • The Australian Government's business hotline supports small and medium businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Call the contact centre on 13 28 46 from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week.

Billing and payment help

  1. If your business is having trouble paying its energy bill you should call your electricity or gas provider. Their phone number is on your bill.
  2. Ask about what hardship support they can offer you. They have staff trained to assist.
  3. Ask to go on a payment plan, to pay your bill over a longer time or make small regular payments.
  4. Stay on the plan to protect yourself from disconnection, interest payments and late fees.
  5. Ask if there are government concessions or rebates to help you. You can also check for government energy efficiency and sustainability rebates and assistance in your state or territory.

Some states and territories and some energy retailers have announced a pause on disconnections during the COVID-19 emergency.

Support for business

The Australian Government has announced its economic response to novel coronavirus (COVID-19). A series of administrative measures to assist Australians experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the outbreak will be implemented. Measures include:

Businesses impacted by COVID-19 can call the Australian Taxation Office’s Emergency Support Hotline on 1800 806 218 for help tailored to their circumstances.

The Australian Government's business hotline supports small and medium businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Call the business.gov.au contact centre on 13 28 46 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week.

More information

Business coronavirus advice and support

Coronavirus information and support for business (business.gov.au) Australian Government

COVID-19 (Australian Taxation Office) Australian Government

Eco-friendly alternatives to disposable face masks Sustainability Victoria

Have a COVID-19 plan (National COVID-19 Commission) Australian Government

Information on COVID-19 and work, health and safety (safe work australia) Australian Government

Business help and assistance

Advice and resources for small to medium businesses manage through COVID-19 Google

Business information on how to manage and save energy for small and large businesses, how and where to save energy for various industries and equipment, and grants and funding for energy efficiency investment.

Business Energy Advice Program provides free services for eligible small businesses to get better energy deals and reduce their energy spend.

Energy efficiency training lists a range of energy efficiency training providers and options, including accredited training, on-the-job learning, government workshops, and programs offered by professional and industry associations.

Business resources (National COVID-19 Commission) Australian Government

Financial support for small business customers in New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria Energy Networks Australia

Financial difficulty Australian Banking Association (membership comprises 22 banks from across Australia)

Home-based business guide

My Business Health advice and resources for small businesses (Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman) Australian Government

Rebates and assistance is a searchable database of energy and sustainability rebates and assistance from the Australian Government and state and territory governments.

Retailers confirm support for energy customers Australian Energy Council (membership comprises 23 major electricity and downstream natural gas businesses, covering 10 million homes and businesses)

Your rights as an energy customer

Jobs and job seekers

Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package Australian Government (payments to ensure services can remain open, and families who need it can access care)

jobactive Australian Government (advertise jobs or find staff, plus wage subsidy information and more) 

Jobs Hub Australian Government (up-to-date list of a selection of businesses and organisations that are currently hiring, and how to contact them)

Energy and water ombudsman (for small businesses)

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Australian Government

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman COVID-19 Australian Government

ACT Energy and water ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal - Call 02 6207 7740

NSW Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW - Call 1800 246 545

NT Ombudsman NT - Call 1800 806 380

Qld Energy & Water Ombudsman - Call 1800 662 837

SA Energy & Water Ombudsman SA - Call 1800 665 565

Tas Ombudsman Tasmania - Call 1800 001 170

Tas Energy Ombudsman Tasmania - Call 1800 001 170

Vic Energy and Water Ombudsman - Call 1800 500 509

WA Energy and Water Ombudsman - Call 1800 754 004

State and territory government information on COVID-19

ACT Government information

NSW Government information

NT Government information

Qld Government information

SA Government information

Tas Government information

Vic Government information

WA Government information