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:
- JobKeeper Payment to allow impacted businesses to access a subsidy from the government to continue paying their employees.
- Increase in the Instant Asset Write-Off.
- Boosting cash flow for employers.
- Investment of up to $15 billion to enable smaller lenders to continue supporting Australian consumers and small businesses.
The Australian Government's business hotline will give more support to small and medium businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Operations at the business.gov.au 13 28 46 Contact Centre will increase from 5 days per week to 7 days per week, and provide additional hours of support outside standard operating hours for the first month, answering calls from 7am to 11pm AEST.
Information for businesses is regularly updated on business.gov.au Coronavirus information and support for business.
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 Energy Regulator (AER) has set reasonable expectations of energy companies to protect householders and small business customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The AER’s Statement of Expectations sets out a range measures, including:
- waiving any disconnection, re-connection and/or contract break fees for small businesses which have gone into hibernation, along with daily supply charges to retailers, during any period of disconnection until at least 31 July 2020
- offering all households and small businesses who indicate they may be in financial stress a payment plan or hardship arrangement
- not disconnecting customers who may be in financial stress, without their agreement before 31 July 2020 and potentially beyond
- deferring referral of any customer to a debt collection agency for recovery actions, or credit default listing until at least 31 July 2020 and potentially beyond
- minimising the frequency and duration of planned outages for critical works, and providing as much notice as possible to assist households and businesses to manage during any outage
Coronavirus information and support for business (business.gov.au) Australian Government
COVID-19 (Australian Taxation Office) Australian Government
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)
Financial difficulty Australian Banking Association (membership comprises 22 banks from across Australia)
Energy and water ombudsman (for small businesses)
Australian Government Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman
Australian Government Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman COVID-19
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