Last updated 25 May 2020
Disclaimer: RDA Far West have taken every care to try and ensure the information provided on this page is accurate and relevant. A significant number of announcements have been made and RDA Far West accept no responsibility for this information and strongly suggest you speak with your financial experts and consider the individual circumstances of your business.
This page covers the following topics, click on the heading below to be directed to that specific section on the page:
Australian Competition & Consumer Commission
Broken Hill Community Credit Union
Budget Direct Sponsorship
Electricity and Gas Network Relief Package
Facebook Small Business Grants Program
Financial Institutions Relief
Lifeline Broken Hill Country to Coast
Lifeline Social Media Advocate
Telecommunications Relief Package
Temporary Changes to the Clerks Award
Woolworths Business Service Changes
Work Health & Safety
Various organisations have introduced measures that aim to provide support and maintain safety, these measures include:
The ACCC has granted interim authorisations to assist small to medium sized Australian businesses experiencing unprecedented financial hardship. The ACCC is currently granting an interim authorisation for insurance companies and brokers to work together to implement relief measures for certain small businesses:
Interim authorisations allow the parties to engage in the proposed conduct while the ACCC considers the substantive application and responds to feedback raised following interim authorisation. You can find out more about recent authorisations on the ACCC website, on the Media releases page. You can also keep up-to-date by following the ACCC on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
The Prime Minister and Treasurer have reaffirmed the Government’s expectation that the banks help assist businesses to secure finance to participate in the $130 billion JobKeeper program. Key actions and principles which the banks have agreed to implementing as a priority are:
The Broken Hill Community Credit Union (BHCCU) have a range of support services available for people experiencing financial difficulty, including their COVID-19 Loan Relief Package.
The team at the BHCCU encourage customers to get in contact if they are experiencing any financial hardship, they are also happy to:
Budget Direct are offering sponsorship of $1,000, $2,500, or $5,000 to groups that are striving to make a difference in their local community. They are open to sponsoring registered organisations or associations that:
Click here for more information.
Business Connect is a tailored NSW Government business advisory program that provides trusted advice for small business. Businesses can select their region or council area to search around 100 business advisors who can provide advice and support on a range of issues including managing cashflow, dealing with business disruption, developing a marketing strategy in a challenging environment and supply chain issues.
Over 60 free online workshops and webinars are available through Business Connect to support NSW small business to manage cashflow, change your business model, sell goods and services online and market your business in a challenging environment.
To book a webinar, visit business-connect-register.industry.nsw.gov.au.
Small businesses, small retailers and large retailers may be eligible for full electricity and gas tariff relief under a financial support package organised by Energy Networks Australia. Eligibility criteria applies, including usage figures and time limits. The Electricity and Gas Network Relief Package complements other initiatives across the gas and electricity sector and will take effect from 1 April 2020.
Read the COVID -19 Electricity and Gas Network Relief Package for more information.
Facebook has announced a USD $100 million small business support scheme. The program includes cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible businesses in 30 countries, including Australia. Applications are not yet open in Australia, but you can register with Facebook to receive updates. Click here to learn more.
FairWork works with employees, employers and the community to educate and encourage compliance with Australia’s workplace laws, helping you understand your rights and responsibilities at work during the coronavirus outbreak. If you have questions or require more information head to FairWork’s Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws page.
The Australian Banking Association has announced that banks will defer small business loan repayments for up to 6 months on business loans of up to $10 million. This support is available to landlords that opt in by contacting their banking institution directly. Landlords who organise loan repayment deferrals must agree not to terminate leases or evict current tenants for missed rental payments as a result of COVID-19. Click here for more information regarding the banking relief announcement.
For assistance from your bank for other financial obligations, visit the Australian Banking Associations’s COVID-19 support page.
We are currently living through one of the most unprecedented and uncertain times in history. As employers, we are facing daily challenges that less than 2 months ago we would have never imagined. As employers, we come to terms with the many new restrictions and limitations but also start to explore new ways of thinking and doing.
What we understand about the virus is that it’s invisible until we start to see the signs, it impacts people in different ways from mild symptoms to death. If we don’t implement the right safety measures, we know it can have devastating consequences as lives will be lost. But, we also know that we’ll get through this, and treatments and vaccines will protect us from future outbreaks.
Mental health and wellbeing is just like a virus – it can be invisible at times, it affects people in different ways, from mild symptoms to death by suicide and, if ignored, will have devastating consequences.
These parallels between physical and mental health are highlighted to bring to your attention there are two fronts to this pandemic. If we fail to acknowledge and respond to both, we will be facing a mental health pandemic like no other, that will have continued and lasting negative impacts on businesses across the world.
As employers, we need to address both physical and mental health challenges by putting our staff’s health and wellbeing at the forefront. This will ensure you are better equipped to deal with these challenging and unprecedented times. Now, more than ever, we should be asking for less and giving more. We now have a responsibility to each employee to better understand their personal lives and what supports they need in place to ensure we are part of their solution, not the problem.
These are uncharted grounds and what we do know is that a workplace where staff feel appreciated, cared for and supported through their physical and mental health… will be the people’s choice for future employment.
If you or someone you know needs support, or is finding it hard to cope, please reach out to us via phone on 13 11 14, on-line chat on www.lifeline.org.au or via text on 0477 131 114. You are not alone.
TAFE NSW are offering a number of free courses that may support the professional development plans for your business, build staff capacity and maintain engagement. Learn more about Free TAFE NSW courses on their COVID-19 Support page.
To add flexibility during this tough time, the FairWork Commission has introduced a temporary alteration of the Clerks Award to give business owners more options for managing their business.
The changes to the Clerks Award apply to all employees covered by the Award, this means all employees engaged wholly or principally in clerical work, including administrative duties of a clerical nature. There are exceptions to these changes:
For more information contact relevant employer associations or the FairWork Ombudsman.
As a temporary solution to the present circumstances, Woolworths Business has partnered with PFD Food Services to provide business customers with food, groceries and other items, delivered to your door.
For more information, sign into your account on the Woolworths Business log in page and click on the PFD banner.
What are the WHS requirements when there are alternative work arrangements, like working from home?
In Australia, the model WHS laws still apply if workers work somewhere other than their usual workplace, for example, from home.
What an employer can do to minimise risks at a worker’s home will be different to what they can do at the usual workplace. However, if you can, you should:
You should also think about how your existing policies and procedures apply when working from home, including:
Learn more about WHS requirements for staff working from home at Safe Work Australia.
Safe Work Information for Workplaces
Safe Work Australia has developed a website with guidelines and information across 23 industries so that businesses can return to work in a COVID safe environment.