One NECA

NSW COVID-19 - 26 March 2020

As a valued NSW 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

State

Fines for breaking social distancing rules

NSW Police will hand out on-the-spot $1000 fines to people who flout tighter lockdown rules, including holding house parties or having more than 10 mourners at a funeral. Details of what is not allowed can be seen here.

Worksites can and should remain open under the current rules.

QLD cross border operations

For the first time in more than a century, Queensland has restricted access at its border.  Exemptions include (the Government may introduce a permit system to manage exemptions.  Details are yet to be announced):

  • Freight
  • Those travelling to and from work

 

See in full here.

 

Federal

1. NATIONAL CABINET UPDATE

The National Cabinet met on 25 March 2020 to discuss enhanced health measures to support the nations efforts to fight coronavirus, the following was agreed:

Expansion of coronavirus testing criteria

It was agreed to expand the current coronavirus testing criteria to include testing people with fever or acute respiratory infection in:

  • all health workers
  • all aged/residential care workers
  • geographically localised areas where there is elevated risk of community transmission as defined by the local public health unit
  • where no community transmission is occurring, high risk settings where there are two or more plausibly-linked cases, for example:
    • aged and residential care
    • rural and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
    • detention centres/correctional facilities
    • boarding schools
    • military bases (including Navy ships) that have live-in accommodation

 

It was also agreed that testing will be expanded to include hospitalised patients with fever and acute respiratory symptoms of unknown cause, at the discretion of the treating clinician. This is the minimum testing criteria. States and Territories have the discretion to expand their own criteria for testing if they have capacity.

Nationally consistent public directions on self-isolation for individuals

National Cabinet agreed to implement nationally consistent public health directions on self-quarantine for individuals diagnosed with coronavirus.

ETU issues warning to employers - stay safe on COVID-19 or face closure
Members can read the full release here.

Further measures

National Cabinet will consider the need for any further measures at their next meeting on 27 March 2020.

 

2. NATIONAL COVID-19 COORDINATION COMMISSION

The Federal Government have announced the creation of the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (Commission). The Commission is tasked to coordinate advice to the Australian Government on actions to anticipate and mitigate the economic and social effects of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Neville Power has been appointed Chairman and brings both high level business expertise and a strong commitment to social issues.

The Commission Executive Board includes leaders across the private and not-for-profit sectors: Mr Greg Combet AM, Ms Jane Halton AO, Mr Paul Little AO, Ms Catherine Tanna and Mr David Thodey AO (Deputy Chair). They will be joined by the Secretaries of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Mr Philip Gaetjens and Home Affairs, Mr Mike Pezzullo.

 

3. ATO RELEASES ‘ONE-STOP-SHOP’ FOR ESSENTIAL TAX AND SUPERANNUATION INFORMATION ON COVID-19 STIMULUS MEASURES

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has updated its website with essential information about tax and superannuation changes that have now become law following the passage of the Government’s Economic Support Package through the Parliament.

Measures include:

  • giving individuals early access to their superannuation
  • providing cash flow assistance for employers
  • increasing the instant asset write-off, making more businesses eligible
  • backing business investment by accelerating depreciation deductions.

 

More information: www.ato.gov.au/coronavirus

 

Ban on Australians travelling overseas

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

 

Key past announcements

State

NSW passes changes to long service leave

The NSW Parliament yesterday passed changes to long service leave which will create greater flexibility for employers and employees to access leave during the COVID-19 crisis.  The key amendments are:

  • waiving the one-month notice period for taking leave (by mutual agreement between employee and employer)
  • greater flexibility for employees to take this leave in shorter blocks if they wish (rather than traditional monthly blocks).

 

NSW passes emergency laws introduced to parliament to boost community safety

The NSW Government will introduce an emergency Bill to Parliament today comprising a broad range of amendments to existing laws to help combat the spread of COVID-19, which can be seen here.

Ausgrid – no changes to ASP work

In a letter to ASP’s Ausgrid stated there will be ‘no changes to the way we are working with ASPs and other partners to plan and schedule outages’ at this stage.  Read in full here.

TAFE courses suspended from Monday

The NSW Government announced TAFE courses will be suspended for one month from Monday 30th March.

Worksites remain open

The NSW Government has deemed construction sites as places where essential gatherings can take place. This means construction sites are not and should not close and work should continue, unless there is specific guidance from health officials. The relevant Public Order can be seen here.

All electrical work is currently permissible in accordance with all health and safety regulations

NSW Government commits to continuing delivery of infrastructure program – see here here.

Stimulus package

On 17th March the NSW Government announced a $2.6bn stimulus, including the following measures to support business. Details can be seen here.   

Schools

Schools remain open in NSW, as per Federal Government guidelines.  However, the NSW Premier has asked parents to keep children at home where possible.

 

Federal

Places of social gathering and Social Distancing

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

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 www.necatkb.com

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:

 

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

 

Contacts
NECA
☎:1300 361 099
@:memberservices
✉: 122 Hume Highway, Chullora NSW 2190

 

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