Weekly Digest – 12 May 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

Australia to Reopen Doors to India

Australia will lift a ban on its citizens returning from COVID-ravaged India next week, as state officials reported that an outbreak in Sydney appeared to be contained. The Prime Minister stood by his decision to impose a biosecurity order last month barring all travel to and from India, a policy that drew heavy criticism.

Travellers will need to provide a negative Covid-19 test, and will be required to undertake the standard 14-day hotel quarantine imposed on incoming travellers.

Victoria on Alert After First COVID-19 Case in Two Months

Victoria reported a locally acquired COVID-19 case for the first time in more than two months on Tuesday. Authorities are now searching for the source of the infection. Meanwhile NSW reported no new locally acquired COVID-19 cases for a fifth straight day on Tuesday.

New Zealand COVID-19 Travel Bubble With NSW Resumed

New Zealand reinstated its COVID-19 travel bubble with New South Wales starting last Sunday, after temporarily pausing quarantine-free travel last week amid reports of two COVID-19 cases in Sydney. Quarantine-free travel to New Zealand from Australia was introduced in April, following the relative success of both countries containing COVID-19.

Federal Budget 2021: Highlights

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has released the 2021 Federal Budget and confirmed Australia’s economy is performing more strongly than was expected six months ago. This article has a summary of the “Winners and Losers” of the Budget and we’ve compiled a recap of the key points below.

  • $1.9 billion has been allocated for our vaccine strategy over the next 5 years, with money set aside for production of mRNA vaccine in Australia.
  • The Low and Middle Income Tax Offset has been extended for another year.
  • The instant asset write-off has been extended for eligible businesses.
  • Superannuation changes planned including repealing the work test for voluntary contributions and expanding the First Home Super Saver Scheme.
  • $17.7 billion in funding for aged care including home care packages and a Basic Daily Fee.
  • More than a billion dollars will go towards the Childcare Subsidy Scheme.
  • There is funding for women’s health programs including cervical and breast cancer screening, depression services for new mothers, endometriosis education and programs to reduce domestic and family violence.
  • The JobTrainer program and apprentice and trainee wage subsidy programs have been expanded.
  • Billions will be invested in Mental Health programs including early intervention and aftercare.
  • Farmers to benefit from the asset write-off, biosecurity measures and National Soil Strategy rebates.
  • Funding for startups, particularly medical startups, has been announced. This is designed to make Australia an attractive place to start and grow a business.
  • The budget includes tax relief for small brewers and distillers.

Get in touch with us if you have any questions.

Federal Budget 2021 Suggests International Borders Won’t Reopen Until Mid-Next Year

The international border is expected to remain closed until mid-2022 and a quarantine program will remain in place, limiting overseas arrivals. The assumptions laid out in the federal budget expect a “gradual return of temporary and permanent migrants”, but also points to the potential for international students to travel sooner.

Australia April Business Conditions Hit New High

Australian retail sales increased by 1.3% in March, led by sales at cafes and restaurants, hitting a new record high, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Separately, the National Australia Bank’s index of business conditions climbed by 8 points to a record +32 in April, showing strength across most sectors and regions. The measure of confidence also hit a record of +26, after jumping 9 points.

WA Small Business Lockdown Assistance Grants Program

The Western Australian Government has announced targeted grants to help small businesses affected by the recent lockdown in the Perth and Peel regions. The program will provide grants of $2000 to small businesses in industry sectors most severely impacted.

The intention is to help small businesses offset some of the direct costs of the lockdown and business closure, such as perishable goods.

You can learn more about the eligibility criteria here.

New AgMove Support to Boost Harvest Workforce

A new AgMove support will be launched to accommodate short, but intense, harvesting seasons and provide the right incentives to get job seekers to give agricultural work a go.

Under AgMove, the government is introducing more flexible incentives which will see Australians eligible for up to $2,000 in relocation assistance (or $650 for temporary visa holders) when they complete just 40 hours of agricultural work over a two-week period.

If they continue with the agricultural work and complete 120 hours across a period of at least four weeks, they will hit the second eligibility point where they will be able to access reimbursement of up to $6,000 for Australian workers and up to $2,000 for temporary visa holders.

Providing Health Care Remotely During COVID-19

From 13 March to 30 June 2021, new temporary MBS (Medicare Benefits Schedule) telehealth items have been made available to help reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID-19. You can find the temporary Medicare items that will help health care practitioners deliver telehealth services via phone or video conferencing here.

$2000 Upfront Cash if the Unemployed Move for Work

Starting in May, job seekers will get up to $2000 upfront if they move to a new location for ongoing work. Job seekers will get help relocating for jobs offering at least 20 hours a week, instead of the existing threshold of 30 hours.

Wage Subsidy Scheme for Apprentices to Be Expanded

The government will spend $1.2 billion to expand its wage subsidy scheme for apprentices, as JobKeeper ended last month.

Under the apprentice scheme, the government will pay half the wages of apprentices up to a maximum of $7,000 each quarter for 12 months. It will run until September 2022. Ask us if you have any questions.

Upcoming Key Dates

Upcoming key lodgment and payment dates for businesses:

15 May

  • Lodge 2020 tax returns for all entities that did not have to lodge earlier and are not eligible for the 5 June concession.

21 May

  • Lodge and pay April 2021 monthly business activity statement.
  • Final date to add new FBT clients to your client list to ensure they receive the lodgment and payment concessions for their fringe benefits tax returns.

26 May

  • Lodge and pay eligible quarter 3, 2020–21 activity statements if you or your client have elected to receive and lodge electronically.

28 May

  • Lodge and pay quarter 3, 2020–21 Superannuation guarantee charge statement – quarterly (NAT 9599) if the employer did not pay enough contributions on time. Employers who lodge a Superannuation guarantee charge statement – quarterly can choose to offset contributions they paid late to a fund against their super guarantee charge for the quarter. They still have to pay the remaining super guarantee charge.

Contact us if you have any questions.

Government-backed COVID-19 Loans Extended

The government is extending its small business COVID-19 loans scheme until June 2021. If you need help to access these loans or you want to find out if you are eligible, don’t hesitate to drop us a message.

Strategies for Lowering Your Startup Costs

Starting a business can be expensive, even if you’re just working with something small and lean. This Forbes article shares some strategies to ease the financial burden that you might face upon entering the world of entrepreneurship:

  • Consider buying used equipment, machinery, or vehicles
  • Lease instead of buying expensive equipment
  • Reduce overhead expenses such as by reducing the size of your workspace
  • Hire only who you need– at least at first
  • Secure a floating line of credit
  • Invest in insurance for financial protection in a number of areas
  • Form mutually beneficial partnerships with other entrepreneurs

The earliest stage of your business development is going to be the hardest financially. So if you need more toughest advice, get in touch with us for a one-on-one consultation.

Get in touch

Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.