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Keep up to date with the Office of the Small Business Commissioner News and other information relating to small business.
COVID-19 IMPACTS ON SMALL BUSINESS
Every business is being affected by Covid-19/Coronavirus with impacts on customers, staff and supply chains.
Based on the latest information, there will be ongoing issues for many months.
The Small Business Commissioner is working with the Government which is considering and implementing measures to support the South Australian community.Businesses facing particular issues or disputes in terms of their banks, their rental premises, suppliers or other business parties are encouraged to contact our office on 08 8303 2026 or 1800 072 722.
Our office specialises in alternative dispute resolution and we will endeavour to work with the parties to find a resolution. If you have a dispute please lodge online here.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is ready to assist small businesses with taxation concerns, visit their website Dealing with disasters.
In relation to staffing and industrial relations matters please refer to your business or industry association which include Business SA, Australian Industry Group, Master Builders Association, Housing Industry Association, Australian Hotels Association, Restaurant and Caterers Association, Motor Trade Association Primary Producers SA who should be able to assist.
Alternatively the Fair Work Ombudsman has a help line to deal with pay and industrial relations matters on 13 13 94 or their website www.fairwork.gov.au.
For further information on financial assistance, eligibility and timing for the Commonwealth Government’s support for businesses visit the business.sa.gov.au website.
For workplace wellbeing, please visit our information page here.
LATEST UPDATES PROVIDED BY DEPARTMENT FOR INNOVATION AND SKILLS - WEDNESDAY 1 APRIL 2020
State Government Support
As a business owner, you may be eligible for support from both state and federal governments. State Government measures in place to support local businesses through COVID-19 include:
Land tax relief
From July, significant land tax reforms will kick in, delivering $189 million in savings to investors and landlords over the next three years.
Waiving fees and charges
Waiver of liquor licence fees for 2020-21 for hotels, restaurants, cafes and clubs forced to close as a result of new social distancing restrictions.
$300 million Business and Jobs Support Fund
A fund to support individual businesses and industry sectors directly affected by coronavirus.
$250 million Community and Jobs Fund
For community organisations, such as sporting, arts and recreational bodies and non-profit organisations.
Cost of Living Concessions
Including a once off boost of $500 for those who are unemployed or lose their jobs as a result of the coronavirus restrictions.
Information for fitness professionals
If you are running a fitness business, Fitness Australia has a COVID-19 and the Workplace full reference guide that can help you stay up-to-date with current restrictions and advice for your industry. For South Australian-specific requirements, see SA Health.
You can also learn more about the government's free COVID-19 Infection Control Training.
Support for our creative industries
We know that the creative industries are one of the sectors hit hardest by the COVID-19 crisis, and that progressive shutdowns have already had a significant impact on individuals and organisations.
The Premier joined a creative industries video conference held earlier this week to hear directly from members of the sector about the challenges being experienced, and what is needed to further support you over the coming months.
The state and federal governments are working closely together on how best to support individuals, businesses and organisations during this time.
The South Australian Film Corporation has launched the second round of South Australia’s Games Innovation Fund, designed to boost the progress of outstanding, original and creative digital games for production in South Australia. For more information visit the SAFC website.
Starting in April, APRA AMCOS, ARIA and Screen Producers Australia will launch an AUSSIE MADE campaign to help support the local music and screen industries and urge Australians to engage in more local content.
ABA extends loan deferrals
The Australian Banking Association will extend their 6 month loan payment deferral measure to include businesses with total business loan facilities of up to $10 million.
98% of all businesses with a loan from an Australian bank are included in this cohort. Click here to read on.
SA Mental Health Support Line
The state government has established a dedicated support line to help people struggling to cope with the stress and anxiety of COVID-19.
Staffed by Lifeline counsellors from 8am to 8pm, call 1800 632 753 or visit sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVID2019.
Negotiating commercial rent with your landlord
SmartCompany have published an article on dealing with your commercial landlord if your business has to close as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Advice includes: putting requests in writing, what deal you should be asking for, and steps you can take if your landlord refuses to negotiate.
Australia Council Arts Response Package
The Australia Council has announced a Resilience Fund of around $5 million (redirected funds) for artists and arts organisations to support their livelihoods and operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Visit the Australia Council website from Friday 3 April, when applications open.
Navigating Your Business Through The Covid-19 Pandemic - Watch now
The Small Business Commissioner partnered up with Business SA to help SMEs navigate the current COVID-19 pandemic, take practical actions and build strategies to become more resilient against current and future threats to their businesses and marketplace. Our first webinar, Navigating Your Business Through The COVID-19 Pandemic provides a focus on:
- What should business be currently doing?
- What stimulus and support is available from governments and other support networks?
- Responses to the most frequently asked questions being asked by Business SA’s members.
We are delighted to be joined by industry experts:
- John Chapman, Small Business Commissioner
- Andrew Heard, Director, Heard Phillips Lieberenz
- John Beverley, Associate Director, Inventure Partners
- Lauren Krollig, Senior Consultant, Business SA
SA Business Bushfire Recovery Grants
Further information on the grants can be found here
The 2019/2020 bushfire season has had a devastating effect on people and businesses in South Australia. A Small Business Bushfire Recovery Package is available to help small businesses in bushfire affected communities get back up on their feet. The package includes support for small businesses to recover and rebuild, address cash flow pressures, and access financial counselling and tax support.
The Government is establishing a hotline to provide information on the assistance that is available and access to specialist small business financial counselling services. Contact information for the hotline will be published at www.business.gov.au.
Businesses in bushfire-impacted postcodes are eligible for tax support and assistance through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Further information is available by calling the ATO Emergency Support Infoline on 1800 806 218 or at www.ato.gov.au.
If you employ people, this can be a challenging time for you and the people who work for you. Everybody’s circumstances are different, but personalised help is available. Call the National Business Hotline on 1300 142 820 for advice and support specific to your business. If part of your workforce includes an apprentice or trainee, you can contact 8429 3242 for advice about continuing to meet learning and training requirements and obligations as their employer. If you have a sponsored skilled migrant and can no longer offer employment, please contact Immigration SA on 8303 2420.
For more information about eligibility criteria, read the Grant Guidelines.
To fast-track the assessment of an application and claims, applicants are encouraged to apply online at www.business.sa.gov.au/bushfires
You can also lodge completed application forms including required documentation with the Department for Innovation and Skills by the following methods:
Post: GPO Box 320, Adelaide SA 5001
If you have difficulty understanding or completing the application form, please contact the Department for Innovation and Skills on (08) 8429 3242.
Click here for more details.
Bushfire Recovery Hotline 1800 302 787
PIRSA Bushfire Hotline
1800 255 556
SA business support
To find information about recovering from current fires click here.
Retail and Commercial Leasing Act Amendment Bill 2019
A series of amendments to the Retail and Commercial Leases Act 1995 completed their passage through the South Australian Parliament on Thursday 12th December 2019.
It is important to note that the amendments will not come into effect until formal proclamation planned for early 2020.
The amendments aim to build on the existing protective measures for lessees under the Act and include:
- Allowing leases to move in and out of the Act;
- Clarifying the application of GST;
- Establishing a formal process through the Valuer-General to review the rent threshold which currently stands at $400,000;
- Providing an option of a landlord to register a new lease which is above the current $400,000 threshold so that the lease will not be captured by the Act should the threshold increase;
- Requiring increased requirements for disclosure of information by landlords to tenants; Increasing penalties for breaches of the Act (broadly in line with CPI between 1995 and 2015) and introducing two new penalties;
- Increasing the value of a bond from up to four weeks rent to up to three months’ rent; Amending the definition of a public company, and also providing protection to charity groups which may use a public company structure but are registered with the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission;
- Excluding overseas companies from coverage of the Act if they are registered on an international stock exchange:
A number of technical amendments are also included in the Bill.
These proposed amendments align with the Government’s agenda for small business as they will assist in making South Australia a more attractive place to invest and grow business.
A copy of the Retail and Commercial Leases (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2019 as passed by Parliament can be found here.
Support for Farmers, Growers and Small Business Owners affected by Bushfires
Our office is ready to assist with any enquiries related to business impacts and the bushfires on 1800 072 722. For the latest government financial assistance information please go to business.sa.gov.au
We are saddened that many South Australians have been impacted by the recent bushfires and our condolences go out to those who have lost family members or have been injured. We also thank our CFS and other volunteers who have worked tirelessly to protect all of us.
A number of small business owners, farmers and growers, particularly in the Adelaide Hills and on Kangaroo Island have lost their businesses and it will take many years to recover. Many farmers have lost their livestock and feed as well as machinery. People affected by the fire and who need assistance should call the Rural Recovery Hotline on 1800 302 787 in the first instance.
We work closely with Rural Business Support (RBS), who delivers the Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) that will be able to help eligible growers to develop and implement plans to recover including:
- Understanding the business financial position
- Helping to develop and implement plans to return to ‘normal’ operations
- Preparing cash flow forecasts to meet financial obligations
- Assistance with preparing for discussions with banks, lenders and insurance companies
- Assistance with securing income support, regional investment corporation loans and government grants
- Referrals to other credible providers of assistance
Any grower, farmer or small business owner affected by the bushfires who are feeling concerned about their financial situation can call 1800 836 211 to discuss their position with a rural financial counsellor and receive support with moving forward.
RBS has also appointed rural financial counsellor Paul Erkelenz to lead the response to the Adelaide Hills fire and Russell Trainor for the Kangaroo Island fires. Paul and Russell will be available to attend any community engagement events focussed on primary industries or small rural business recovery.
- Paul Erkelenz (0437 321 107) – email@example.com
- Russell Trainor (0418 850 251) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Primary Industries and Regions SA has a 24 hour hotline to assist with agricultural impacts or urgent animal issues that cannot be dealt with through normal veterinary or community services resulting from the bushfires and other emergencies. The Agriculture and Animal Services Hotline is 1800 255 556.
It is important to know that there are a range of health support services to help those affected by the bushfires through this stressful and uncertain time and further details can be found here.