QLD COVID-19 - 27 March 2020
As a valued Queensland 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
- Student free days for Queensland state schools next week
- Queensland schools will go student-free next week, as the state’s education system continues to work to limit the spread of coronavirus.
- Schools will remain open until the end of term on April 3, to allow for the children of essential workers to remain at school and for teachers to prepare to move to remote learning from home.
More information here.
- COVID-19 response sees temporary reduction in Queensland long-haul travel
- Long haul train and coach services within Queensland will be temporarily reduced as part of wider efforts to contain COVID-19.
- Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said rural and regional communities would continue to have access to transport for essential travel under the changes.
- Long distance coach services will be reduced and will replace rail services in areas where corresponding rail services have been suspended.
- These changes will come into effect from Monday, March 30, except for Kuranda Scenic Railway services which will take effect from Friday, March 27.
- State Government joins forces with industry to support small business
- The Palaszczuk Government is increasing its efforts to help small business during the COVID-19 pandemic by partnering with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) to deliver widespread assistance throughout the state.
- Minister for Employment and Small Business Shannon Fentiman said additional services would be available over the next three months for small businesses that are in desperate need.
The State Government’s financial support will enable CCIQ to undertake proactive support to non-members to provide information on:
- ensuring staff entitlements
- managing staff working from home or remotely
- managing workplace hygiene (workplace health and safety)
- managing staff leave
- managing cyber security issues
- managing redundancy
- managing business closures
- quarantine measures
- general advice on National Employment Standards, Modern Awards and the Fair Work Act
- free employee guides and templates.
- Queensland Entry Pass
Those living in the area may be issued a permit to display on their cars to make border crossings more efficient.
- Applications can be submitted online here.
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: https://www.asbfeo.gov.au/my-business-health/categories/covid-19
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:
- Gas bottles
- Respirators/ face masks
- Fuel cans o Methylated spirits
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.
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
Queensland COVID-19 Jobs Support Loans
- Applications are now open for the Queensland Government’s $500 million COVID-19 Jobs Support Loan scheme. This scheme is for Queensland businesses and non-profit organisations financially affected by COVID-19 to retain employees and maintain their operations.
- Low interest loans of up to $250,000 are available to assist with carry-on expenses such as employee wages, rent and rates and other related expenditure. Eligible business types include sole traders, partnerships, private and public companies and Trusts.
Ban on Australians travelling overseas
The Commonwealth Government has implemented a ‘do not travel’ ban on Australians travelling overseas under the Biosecurity Act 2015.
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.
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
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.