Australian government’s $189 billion stimulus package
March 23, 2020
Support for individuals and households
- Income support for individuals
Over the next six months, the Government is temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments and establishing a new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight. This will be paid to both existing and new recipients of Jobseeker Payment, Youth Allowance Jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.
- Payments to support households
The Government is providing two separate $750 payments to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. The first payment will be made from 31 March 2020 and the second payment will be made from 13 July 2020.
- Temporary early release of superannuation
The Government is allowing individuals affected by the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. Individuals will not need to pay tax on amounts released, and the money they withdraw will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs.
- Temporarily reducing superannuation minimum drawdown rates
The Government is temporarily reducing superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products by 50 per cent for 2019-20 and 2020-21. This measure will benefit retirees with account-based pensions and similar products by reducing the need to sell investment assets to fund minimum drawdown requirements.
- Reducing social security deeming rates
As of 1 May 2020, the upper deeming rate will be 2.25 per cent, and the lower deeming rate will be 0.25 per cent.
Support for businesses
- Boosting cash flow for employers
The Government is providing up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium-sized businesses, and not-for-profits (NFPs) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000. Employers will receive a sum equal to 100 per cent of their salary and wages withheld (up from 50 per cent), with the maximum amount increased from $25,000 to $50,000. Also, the minimum payment increases from $2,000 to $10,000.
An additional payment also applies in the July — October 2020 period. Eligible entities will receive an additional amount equal to the total of all of the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers payments they have received. Eligible entities will receive at least $20,000 up to a total of $100,000 under both payments.
- Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
The Government is temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company and to initiate bankruptcy proceedings against an individual as well as temporarily increasing the time companies, and individuals have to respond to statutory demands they receive. The package also includes temporary relief for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent, and providing temporary flexibility in the Corporations Act 2001 to provide targeted assistance from provisions of the Act to deal with unforeseen events that arise as a result of the Coronavirus health crisis.
The ATO will tailor solutions for owners or directors of business that are currently struggling due to the Coronavirus, including temporary reduction of payments or deferrals, or withholding enforcement actions including Director Penalty Notices and wind-ups.
- Increasing the instant asset write-off
The Government is increasing the instant asset write-off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanding access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million.
- Backing business investment
The Government is introducing a time-limited 15-month investment incentive (through to 30 June 2021) to support business investment and economic growth over the short term, by accelerating depreciation deductions. 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’s cost.
- Supporting apprentices and trainees
Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for nine months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Where a small business is not able to retain an apprentice, the subsidy will be available to a new employer that employs that apprentice. Employers will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee ($7,000 per quarter).
- Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme
The Government will provide a guarantee of 50 per cent to SME lenders to support new short-term unsecured loans to SMEs. The Scheme will guarantee up to $40 billion of new lending. This will provide businesses with funding to meet cash flow needs by further enhancing lenders’ willingness and ability to ensure credit.