Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.
After two years, the government announced that it would lift its entry ban for international cruise ships next month. This could potentially boost a tourism industry impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.
Fully vaccinated Australians will be able to travel to New Zealand from April 12. New Zealand borders will start to open for other countries from May 1.
Australian small businesses are being encouraged by Australia Post to put their hands up to be counted as Local Business Heroes and share in a prize pool worth $285,000.
The Queensland government will pay a $3,000 subsidy to electric vehicle buyers and build new charging stations to incentivise take-up, under a 10-year strategy to reduce emissions and ultimately help its net-zero commitment by 2050.
The government announced almost $500 million in funding to boost the output of critical minerals, aiming to diversify supply for its allies and counter China’s dominance of the global market.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.
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