ACT COVID-19 - 27 March 2020

As a valued ACT member, NECA will be providing updates on COVID 19 each day 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


Pease see previous announcements below.


Places of social gathering and Social Distancing – no change announced by PM

Enhanced social distance measures are in place as of midnight Wednesday 25 March Worksites can and should remain open

Federal advice is that schools should remain open but implementation of this varies by state.

The workplaces that cannot open are listed here


Federal Government Portal on all measures relating to COVID-19

The Federal Government has developed a new website which includes details of all measures introduced to support small business.  Please see here.


National Stimulus Package

The Federal Government is set to announce a third round of stimulus in the coming days, including measures to ‘hibernate’ the economy.  NECA will share details as soon as they are available. 


Australian Services Union and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry strike deal to protect jobs

The ASU and ACCI agreed a deal which will forfeit certain awards in an effort to protect jobs.  Details can be seen here.


Australian Small Business And Family Enterprise Ombudsman – My Business Health Portal – Covid-19

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman ‘My Business Health’ web portal now features a dedicated section for small business owners struggling with the COVID-19 crisis. See details here.


Bunnings  Introduces Temporary Purchase Limits For High Products And An Exclusive Tradie Period

Bunnings has introduced temporary purchase limits for high demand products. From 26 March 2020, Bunnings will limit the quantity per customer per transaction for the following:

  • Maximum four items per customer:
  • Cleaning products
  • Storage products
  • Garden sprayers
  • Household batteries
  • Maximum one item per customer:
  • Generators
  • Gas bottles
  • Respirators/ face masks
  • Fuel cans o Methylated spirits
  • Turpentine

From 30 March 2020, Bunnings stores will open exclusively for trade customers, health and emergency services workers before 9am on weekdays.


Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program Guidelines

The Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program Guidelines (Guidelines) has been released containing provisions to support small businesses to retain apprentices and trainees, as well as support for employers to reengage apprentices and trainees where a small business is not able to retain them.

Part H of the Guidelines reimburses 50 per cent of the Australian Apprentice’s gross wage, over the nine month period 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Employers will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $7,000 per quarter, per eligible Australian Apprentice. It also outlines the eligibility criteria.

The Guideline will come into effect from 2 April 2020.

Further information here


New quarantine measures for returning travellers

The Prime Minister today announced all arrivals from abroad must self-isolate in hotels and other accommodation for two weeks before they are able to return to their home.


Key past announcements


25 March - Health service changes in response to COVID-19

Canberra Health Services are reducing non-urgent and non-essential outpatient and community activity to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and decrease demand on our health system. This will ensure our services are well resourced and staffed to respond to the pandemic.


From Thursday 26 March, Canberra Health Services are reducing some non-essential and non-urgent services in the following areas:

  • elective surgeries
  • community based services
  • medical outpatients, procedures and treatments.

Read more here. 

Disaster recovery assistance has been activated for the bushfire effected people in ACT.

Disaster recovery assistance has been activated in response to the bushfires affecting the ACT for a range of practical recovery measures, including concessional interest rate loans for farmers and small businesses and to help with residential clean-up.

Any business that have suffered significant financial loss as a direct result of this summer’s bushfire season should contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81 or for further information and to discuss support options available.

The assistance is being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-Territory Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA). Information on disaster assistance can be found on the Australian Government’s disaster assist website


ACT public transport update

25 March 2020 A range of changes to public transport are being implemented in response to the temporary shutdown of non-essential services in the ACT and changes to schools.

Further information is here

Aged care

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

ACT 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.

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.



Ban on Australians travelling overseas

The Commonwealth Government has implemented a ‘do not travel’ ban on Australians travelling overseas under the Biosecurity Act 2015.


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.


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.

NECA has updated its Stand Down advice.  Please see the latest document here.

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.  

Support for apprentices: NECA is calling for the federal government to take a holistic approach to supporting apprentices in these challenging times. Link to media release

Health advice

Please monitor the following sources for the latest health advice:

If you notice a change in the way that you or others around you are thinking and feeling, or you feel that you are not coping, then it is important to talk to a health professional.

You can access a range of telephone and online based supports through:

  • Beyond Blue, 1300 22 46 36
  • Lifeline Australia, 13 11 14
  • Mens Line Australia, 1300 78 99 78
  • Kids Helpline, 1800 551 800

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

☎:1300 361 099
✉: 122 Hume Highway, Chullora NSW 2190


Made possible by our Business Partners: