NECA Group

ACT COVID-19 - 24 March 2020

As a valued ACT member, NECA will be providing COVID-19 updates each afternoon for the foreseeable future. Please look out for this in your inbox and review in full.

We will endeavor to capture everything relevant to your business, but you will appreciate the situation is constantly evolving so please be patient. 


Key developments in the last 24 hours


Restrictions on non-essential activities

The ACT Government will be enacting directions on the temporary closure of non-essential activities and businesses to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

For the ACT, this includes:

  • Pubs & Registered Clubs
  • Gyms & indoor sporting venues
  • Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos and night clubs
  • Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
  • Religious gatherings & places of worship (excluding small weddings and funerals that comply with the 4m2 rules)


Worksites will remain open and all electrical work is currently permissible in accordance with all health and safety regulations.


ACT public schools

ACT public schools will still be able to safely receive and provide learning for the children of parents and carers engaged in essential services (such as our healthcare sector) who are unable to care for their children at home, as well as vulnerable children and those with additional needs.

From this week, the ACT is moving towards a program of alternative teaching models from term 2.  Further information is here.

Aged care

As of 5pm, 23 March 2020 visits to residential aged care facilities in the ACT will be restricted.



Federal Parliament passes the Government’s Economic Response to the Coronavirus

  • Yesterday, the Federal Parliament passed the Government’s Economic Response to the Coronavirus stimulus package that was announced earlier this month. Further details are below.  The assistance under the package will be available from 27 April 2020 and NECA colleagues will be supporting members access the support.

Youth Allowance, Austudy And Abstudy To Be Included In Coronavirus Package

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann advised the Senate that people on Youth Allowance, Austudy or Abstudy will now be included in the supplement package, giving them an additional $550 per fortnight.


This assistance will be made available from April 2020.


Key past announcements


ACT schools to go pupil free

The ACT Minister for Education announced that from Tuesday 24 March all ACT public schools will go pupil free until the school holidays due to begin on Thursday 9 April, 2020. Further information here.

ACT State Stimulus Package

The ACT’s stage one economic survival package is injecting $137 million into the local economy. Further information here and here.

 Public Health Emergency

On 16th March The ACT Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith declared a Public Health Emergency.  Further information see here.



Economic Response to the Coronavirus

The Federal Government package includes the following measures:

  • expansion to the eligibility of Jobseeker Payments to support sole traders and the self-employed,
  • cash payment of up to $100,000 for the period March 2020 to September 2020, worth 100% of the tax those small and medium size businesses (SME) with a turnover less than $50 million are withholding from their employee’s salary and wages,
  • coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme to support SMEs with a turnover less than $50 million. The Commonwealth will guarantee 50%, through the participating banks, of an eligible loan to small and medium enterprise customers that have been impacted by the coronavirus,
  • cash flow support to employers, whereby the Government is providing up to $100,000 to eligible SMEs, and not-for-profits (NFPs) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000,
  • temporary relief for financially distressed businesses,
  • immediate, quick and efficient credit for SMEs.


Places of social gathering and Social Distancing

On 22nd March, the Prime Minister and Premiers announced Stage 1 restrictions on social gathering meaning the following “non-essential venues” will be closed:

  • Gyms and indoor sporting venues
  • Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos, and night clubs
  • Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
  • Religious gatherings, places of worship or funerals (in enclosed spaces and other than very small groups and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies).


NECA Resources

Business advice and support

NECA is mobilising resources to support members, in particular to access government support outlined above. 

Relevant employment legislation – Fair Work has published these FAQs which providing guidance on managing employment issues arising from COVID 19.

Webinars - NECA is hosting a series of webinars, which members can register for here.

Workplace health and safety advice and support

For information please log on into the NECA TKB.  To access TKB, please click on the link

Once you have logged in click on the Safety STAR icon.  Safety STAR is located on the NECA TKB website, you will need to log into NECA TKB.

Policy proposals/ media releases

NECA is developing a comprehensive set of policy proposals aimed at helping members manage the current crisis and rebuild in the future.

Payroll tax: NECA is calling for state governments to give businesses a ‘hand up, not a hand out’ by abolishing payroll tax for all small and medium businesses to help combat the continued economic turmoil caused by COVID-19.Link to media release

Contracting an essential service: Electrical contracting constitutes an essential service as set out in legislation, and NECA will be advocating accordingly so work can go ahead when it is safe to do so.  


Health advice

Please monitor the following sources for the latest health advice:


NECA has a dedicated webpage for all COVID 19 updates here.

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