22 March 2020
Following the release of their first $17.6 billion COVID-19 stimulus package on 12 March 2020, the Australian Government has released a second $66.1 billion COVID-19 stimulus package to provide further assistance to impacted Australian businesses and workers.
Some of the most important measures in the Government’s 22 March 2020 assistance package include:
- Support for individuals and households
- Assistance to business for keeping workers employed in their jobs
- Assistance to business to help them stay in business
Let’s take a look at each of these areas in some more detail.
1. Support for individuals and households
- New six-month income support COVID-19 supplement that will be paid at a rate of $550 a fortnight to both existing and new recipients of various benefit payments, such as JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance Payment, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.
- In addition to the $750 stimulus payment announced on 12 March 2020 (that is payable from 31 March 2020), an additional $750 payment will also be made to pensioners from 13 July 2020 provided the pensioner does not qualify for the new COVID-19 supplement.
- Ability for individuals in financial stress because of COVID-19 to access up to $20,000 of their superannuation early. Individuals will be able to apply to access $10,000 of their superannuation before 1 July 2020 and up to another $10,000 within three months of 1 July 2020.
- Temporary 50% reduction in superannuation minimum drawdown rates for 2019-20 and 2020-21 to provide more flexibility for retirees as to how they want to manage their superannuation assets.
2. Assistance to business for keeping workers employed in their jobs
The measures are designed to boost cash flow for employers by providing up to $100,000, with a minimum payment of $20,000, to eligible small and medium sized businesses and not-for-profits that employ people. This will be delivered by:
- Providing up to $50,000, with a minimum payment of $10,000, back to eligible businesses (i.e. businesses or not-for-profit entities with an aggregated turnover under $50 million) from 28 April 2020. The payments will be tax free and will flow automatically through the PAYG system.
- Making an additional payment from 28 July 2020 which is equal to the payment made from 28 April 2020. So, eligible entities will receive at least $20,000 and up to a total of $100,000 under both payments.
3. Support for businesses to stay in business
- Establishment of Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme whereby the Government will guarantee 50 per cent of new loans issued by eligible lenders to SMEs.
- Relief for financially distressed businesses by temporarily increasing the threshold at which:
- creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company;
- the time companies have to respond to statutory demands they receive; and
- temporary relief for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent.
- The Government is providing up to $715 million in support for Australian airlines and airports.
The new measures announced in the second stimulus package are in addition to the measures announced on 12 March 2020, which included:
- Increased instant asset write off.
- Accelerated depreciation deductions.
- Support for apprentices and trainees.
- Targeted support for COVID-19 affected regions and communities.
If you require more information or would like some support accessing any of the support measures announced, please contact the Findex Tax Advisory Team.
Findex has developed a Government Stimulus Health Check and free Business Wellbeing Toolkit to help businesses manage potential risks and take full advantage of eligible stimulus assistance. Book your Health Check here.
 Prime Minister of Australia, Supporting Australian Workers and Business, 22 March 2020.