Government support programs
  • Last updated:
  • 06 Jul 2020

A range of support programs are available for small businesses affected by novel coronavirus, below we have compiled some useful lists to start with.

Emergency business hotlines

  • Federal Government Business Hotline - 13 28 46
  • Queensland Business Hotline - 1300 654 687 
  • Australian Taxation Office Emergency Hotline - 1800 806 218
  • Centrelink Hotline - 13 74 68

Stay informed

Download the official government “Coronavirus Australia” app in the Apple App Store or Google Play, there is a section for a businesses and employees and a way to report self isolation and so much more. Also, join the WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android.

The Coronavirus business support line can help if your business has been affected by coronavirus. The support line is available between 8am-8pm, seven days a week. The number to call is 13 28 46.

The JobKeeper package is a subsidy of up to $1500 per fortnight. Businesses and sole traders can register interest in this program with the Australian Tax Office. The JobKeeper Payment factsheet states the first payment will be received by employers from the ATO in the first week of May. Read the FAQs or visit the Treasury website.

Registered charities are now able to access the JobKeeper COVID-19 wage subsidy if they experience a 15 per cent decline in turnover (reduced from the 30 per cent decline threshold currently in place for all businesses with a turnover of $1 billion or less).

ASIC has provided relief to industry so businesses can provide affordable and timely financial advice during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of its COVID-19 economic response, the Government introduced measures to allow individuals facing particular financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic to access their superannuation early – up to $10,000 in 2019-2020 and a further $10,000 in 2020-2021. The decision to access superannuation early is significant and Australians should seek information and assistance from superannuation funds, financial advisers and registered tax agents before making any decisions. ASIC has provided tax accountants to provide such advice as well as for a shorter Record of Advice to be provided by super funds and has capped costs at $300.

Landlords will be required to reduce rents proportionate to the reduction in trade experienced by their tenants if the tenants are small to medium-sized retail, office and industrial businesses in distress. Rental relief would be proportional to a tenant’s decline in turnover and provided in two parts: (at least) 50% as a waiver and 50% as a deferral for payment over the remaining term of the lease. Mandatory Code of Conduct for Commercial Tenancies 

The Australian Government has released a COVID-19 Job Hub to help employees adversely affected by COVID-19 and reducing workforces, to more easily access jobs in health and care sectors, transport and logistics, some areas of retail, mining and mining services, manufacturing, agriculture and government sectors, among others that are experiencing increases in demand. Find out more.

Australian Business Continuity online resource centre provides access to free business services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit engages with business regularly and provides updates to government on crucial issues.

$49.8 million support package for Export Market Development Grants, allowing exporters and tourism businesses to get additional reimbursements for costs incurred in marketing their products and services.

Third economic stimulus package:

  • JobSeeker payments to people with partners who earn up to $80,000.
  • JobKeeper payments of up to $1500 per employee for businesses to keep staff on, and sole traders also eligible.

Second economic stimulus package:

  • Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses

  • Coronavirus affected regions and sectors

  • Boosting cash flow for employers to keep staff - Businesses and not-for-profits, with a turnover less than $50 million will receive a tax-free cash payment of up to $100,000 to help them retain staff and continue operating. Under the enhanced scheme, employers will receive a payment equal to 100 per cent of their salary and wages withheld (up from 50 per cent), with the maximum payment being increased from $25,000 to $50,000. In addition, the minimum payment is being increased from $2,000 to $10,000. During July-October 2020 eligible entities will receive an additional payment equal to the total of all of the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers payments they have received. This means that eligible entities will receive at least $20,000 up to a total of $100,000 under both payments.

  • Apprentices and trainees - if you employ an apprentice or trainee you may be eligible for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of their wage paid from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. You can register for the subsidy from early April 2020. 

  • Temporary relief bankruptcy - the government will make a number of changes to the personal insolvency system regulated by the Bankruptcy Act 1966. The threshold for the minimum amount of debt required for a creditor to initiate bankruptcy proceedings against a debtor will temporarily increase from its current level of $5000 to $20,000. This will apply for six months. Failure to respond to a bankruptcy notice is the most common act of bankruptcy. The time a debtor has to respond to a bankruptcy notice will be temporarily increased from 21 days to six months. The extension will give a debtor more time to consider repayment arrangements before they could be forced into bankruptcy. This will apply for six months.

  • Increasing the instant asset write-off - the threshold has been increased from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanded access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million). This applies from 12 March 2020 until 30 June 2020, for new or secondhand assets first used or installed ready for use in this timeframe.

  • Tax relief - If you are experiencing difficulties with tax obligations because of COVID-19, you can phone the Australian Taxation Office Emergency Support Infoline on 1800 806 218 for help tailored to your circumstances or email COVID-19Taxissues@ato.gov.au

  • Backing business investment - a time limited 15-month incentive to support business investment and economic growth over the short term, by accelerating depreciation deductions. This applies to eligible assets acquired from 12 March 2020 and first used or installed by 30 June 2021. Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million will be able to deduct 50 per cent of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset cost.

The Australian Government has now received 58 million protective face masks that will help protect frontline health workers at risk of COVID-19

The Continuing your business guide is an interactive guide from the Australian Government, designed to assist keep your business operating. View the guide here

Coronavirus marketing kit for peak bodies and industry associations

Visit the Australian Government business website for more information and support.

Start here first

  • Business QLD
  • QLD Roadmap to Restrictions
  • Call for advice - local teams are ready to talk you through the support and services on offer – call 1300 654 687 to find out more.
  • Business assistance finder - Use the Queensland Government Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Assistance Finder to learn what support you may be eligible for. Current Queensland Government financial support information can be found on the Business Queensland website business.qld.gov.au or by calling the Small Business Hotline on 1300 654 687.
  • Complete the online survey to help the government understand the impact of COVID-19 on your business and assess what support you need. 
  • Read the Queensland Government support package overview.
  • Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning has compiled a useful factsheet of assistance available to you from far and wide.

Additional support

  •  Take advantage of free business training - Through the Queensland Small Business Skills Hub small business owners, startups and their staff now have a great opportunity to access over 500 highly relevant online courses, ranging from a few minutes to an hour, for FREE until December 2020. To access the free courses, eligible small business owners with an ABN registered in Queensland and a team of 20 or less staff can register at www.qldskills.com.au
  • Approved COVID Safe Industry Plans - Any business or organisation that is in one of these industries is welcome to download and follow their approved COVID Safe Industry Plan and complete the Statement of Compliance to demonstrate you are undertaking best practice as a COVID Safe Business. From noon 3 July 2020, if the COVID Safe Business Framework applies to your industry or business you are required to operate in accordance with it.
  • More free online training for small businesses and employees which includes, Digital Skills and Adapting to Change.
  • $2.5 billion for a series of measures including payroll tax relief; a worker displacement program; electricity bill rebates for eligible small and medium sized businesses; liquor licensing fee waiver; and assistance to support large businesses scale up when economic activity improves.
  • $200 credit on water and electricity for all 2.1 million households to offset the cost of water and electricity.
  • $400 million in land tax relief and payment deferrals for commercial and residential property owners. To apply, visit qld.gov.au/landtax
  • Queensland job seekers can register their details, skills and location via the Jobs Finder Queensland portal and access free online training. An online portal jobsfinder.qld.gov.au is available to connect Queenslanders who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 with new job opportunities.
  • Several changes have been made to help Queenslanders with costs and requirements relating to personal and business vehicle registration if they are not currently using the vehicle. There is also a freeze on heavy vehicle registration fees until 30 June 2021. Visit www.qld.gov.au/transport/registration for information.
  • Temporary use licence applications now open - Temporary use licences allow the holder to change or vary existing development approval conditions or other operating constraints. An example of this may be to vary the hours of construction to ensure that social distancing compliance among workers does not slow progress. The temporary use licence will not remove the need to obtain any other approvals that might be required by local, state and/or Commonwealth jurisdictions. Applicants can download the new form here. The application form must be returned to the Department’s TUL email address.
  • Payroll tax relief package - if your business has been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19), you may be able to apply for a relief package to defer lodging and paying payroll tax returns until 31 July 2020.  
  • Small business financial counselling services - The Rural Financial Counselling Service has been expanded to support any small business impacted by COVID-19 and is funded by grants from government to local organisations that employ financial counsellors. Any small business impacted by COVID-19 can now contact the Small Business Financial Counselling Service Southern Queensland on (07) 4622 5500. A map of Queensland showing the division of Small Business Financial Counselling Service providers can be found here: rfcs-qld-map.pdf
  • Job support loans - Register your interest to access the new $500 million loan facility. This is interest free for the first 12 months to support Queensland businesses impacted by COVID-19 retain employees and maintain their operations. This concessional loan facility will comprise low interest loans of up to $250,000 for carry on finance with an initial 12-month interest free period for businesses to retain staff. Send your full name, phone number and email address to register your interest or call 1800 623 946. This is now closed and applications are being processed.
  • Mentoring sessions - mentors are available to provide tailored support including financial mentoring and business planning. Register at the website or contact 1300 654 687 or m4g@desbt.qld.gov.au
  • Financial workshops - workshops will be delivered to support a place-based approach for small businesses. Register your interest at the registrations page or call 1300 654 687 or info@desbt.qld.gov.au
  • Rent relief -  for small businesses who rent premises from the Queensland Government. A new online rental hub covid19.qld.gov.au/the-hub has information and resources to help tenants, property owners and agents.
  • Posters and other resources for your business.
  • Queensland legal practitioners able to use video conferencing technology to conduct a range of transactions that usually require face-to-face meetings. The making of documents such as wills, general powers of attorney, enduring powers of attorney, advance health directives, statutory declarations, deeds and many other types of documents are also available under the modified arrangements.
    Visit Business Queensland for further small business support.
  • Small business adaption grant program - apply for grants aimed at small and micro businesses. Up to $10,000 in funding available per eligible business
  • COVID Safe Business guidance and practices
  • COVID Safe Training links from the Queensland Government.
  • COVID safe planning for the events industry - call 13 42 68 43 for events assistance, then find out more about COVID site specific planning and current exemptions and variations

Economic Resurgence Plan

The region, now more than ever, must continue to respond to external demand, introduce new wealth and new careers so it can recover rapidly from this economic crisis and continue to achieve a quantum shift in investment, employment, infrastructure provision and community prosperity. The focus of all economic intervention and support outlined in the Sunshine Coast Council Economic Resurgence Plan is to stimulate economic activity in the Sunshine Coast over the next 12-18 months to return the regional economy to the level of economic growth experienced in 2019/2020. View the plan[2254KB]

Business Support Package #2

  • Professional Advice Support Program - offering access to professional business advice from local accounting, legal and human resources firms, to assist local businesses make critical decisions about their operations and their future. This service provides a free initial consultation to businesses that employ up to 19 staff and have a turnover of less than $5 million;
  • Information resources - helping businesses transition to operating in this new environment by linking them with local online service providers, video conferencing and IT specialists and providing useful resources;
  • Business signage - business signage will be available to support businesses that have to alter their service arrangements such as providing takeaway/delivery signs outside cafes and restaurants and advice to customers on how to access online services;
  • Community and commercial lease relief – community and commercial lessees of council properties will be eligible for a rent waiver from March 1 to June 30. Council will contact eligible groups;
  • Capital works – up to $3 million in capital works projects will be brought forward to support local jobs and to keep money circulating in the local economy. These works will be on council facilities that have been temporarily closed. Details of projects will be released in the coming weeks.

April 6 - Council turns off all on-street parking meters in Birtinya and Caloundra until at least June 30.

Rates update

March 30 - Council will be communicating with everyone who has outstanding rates that, if they are experiencing financial difficulty, council will work with them to make a suitable arrangement that takes into account their circumstances. Council will also not be charging interest on outstanding rate payments and will not be pursuing outstanding rates at this time. To support some of our most vulnerable community members and those experiencing homelessness, council is working with the State Government and local community groups, including accommodation providers, to help provide support.

Business Support Package #1

March 23
  • Permits - For event operators with approved permits and current applications through Sunshine Coast Council, permit fees will be credited for up to 12 months, please liaise with your community land permit contact. More information on local government support.
  • Bringing forward works to support industry - On March 24 we announced that as part of its efforts to keep money circulating in the local economy and work flowing for the construction and related industries, council will be accelerating programmed maintenance and other works in a number of its facilities while they are closed as a result of complying with public health directions. Council would look to bring forward scheduled works at council facilities such as Venue 114, The Events Centre, Caloundra and Sunshine Coast Stadium. Council is also currently reviewing its Capital Works Program to identify opportunities to bring forward approved and budgeted projects, as a further measure to support the local economy and businesses.
  • Review to fees and charges - council will contact affected businesses to discuss the following additional support measures and the reviewed fees and charges:
    • Dedicated staff to assess temporary use permits
    • Additional staff focused on building and plumbing approvals to ensure continuity of work/approvals
    • Representations made to the State Government on kitchens/liquor licensing and Federal Government on stimulus to support sole suppliers
    • Relaxation of curfews in relation to deliveries of essential items to supermarkets/pharmacies
    • Footpath/outdoor dining and trading permit fees (reimbursement or waiver from March 1 to July 31)
    • Food licensing fees (reimbursement or waiver from March 1 to August 31)
    • Community event and major event permit fees (reimbursement/refunds from March 1 to June 30 or ability to postpone for 12 months and bond refunded until new date set)
    • Commercial low-use/high-use permits (reimbursement or waiver from March 1 to June 31)
    • Filming application fees (reimbursement or waiver from March 1 to June 30)
    • Venue hire (bookings) - refunds and waiver of normal cancellation fees at all Council venues from March 16 to June 30
    • Staged payment of Infrastructure Charges for Development Approvals - The first payment can be deferred between 6-9 months and subsequent payments made every six months over 2-3 years.  No interest will be applied to staged payment agreements entered into from now until the 1 July 2020. Any development where the property will remain under the applicant’s ownership for the life of the staged payments will qualify. Hence, this will exclude reconfiguring a lot approvals and developments that are subject to strata/community title subdivision. Payment of any existing Infrastructure Charge that is overdue can be deferred until 1 July 2020. For further information please email us.
    • Parking warnings instead of infringements in general unless the infringement relates to health and safety issues or parking in disabled parking spaces.
    • Paid parking waiver for Caloundra from March 31 to June 30.

Our immediate support

March 18 - Expediting payments - Sunshine Coast Council will be injecting up to $15 million per month earlier into the local economy by expediting payments to local contractors in a bid to improve cash flow and stem the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses that have undertaken work for council are urged to submit their invoices for receipting, processing and payment as soon as possible and preferably within seven days. Our finance team will do everything it can to expedite the processing of payments and will target paying the invoices within seven days, provided all of the information has been provided, and the goods have been received or the services delivered within contractual arrangements.

Ongoing business support

  • Wellbeing support - Business owners and employees can log in to the free B-Well and Prosper portal available via the council's website to provide mental wellbeing support during this difficult time. For further support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14. It is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
  • Funding finder - Businesses can also log on to Sunshine Coast Funding Finder to see what grants are available to support you.
  • Free online courses - Many businesses are having to change the way they do business, with more outlets going online, using video for meetings and offering delivery. If you or your employees want to update your online skills you can access a free online course - Level Up.
  • Remote-working support - We have released a new Level-Up blog post to support you in working remotely - Survive and Thrive: Working Remotely Guide for Employers. There are also two new blog posts, How to sell Online and Get your sales Soaring.

Contact us

Anyone needing to contact council should ideally call 5475 7272 or consider using one of the many convenient online options including MyCouncil, Web Chat, the Call Back service, or email us at mail@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au Council’s Economic Development Branch is here to support businesses during this challenging period, please contact our business support officers.

Signage for Street Performers

Signage has been developed which will assist buskers and street performers to advise the public that they accept cashless payment. Download a copy of the sign [24KB].