Updates and resources for your business

**** THIS PAGE IS BEING CONTINUALLY UPDATED ****

The situation is very fluid. Things are changing all the time and it is important that you keep up to date with verified information, rather than being caught up with ‘fake news’. Most of these links take you to relevant government pages or to industry sources we consider to be credible.

Government advice about COVID-19

Federal

Fact sheet

Berries Australia has prepared this fact sheet covering off some important areas. More details are included in the notes below.

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Horticulture confirmed as an “essential service”

The Federal government has declared all forms of agriculture to be essential services, including horticulture. This classification is expected to last for the duration of the current Coronavirus situation.

This means:

  • access to workers, agricultural supply lines, transportation and logistics will not be affected by many of the measures aimed at curbing the virus’ spread
  • state-imposed border shutdowns will not affect agricultural supply chains
  • the trucks carrying food and produce will get through to the shops
  • fertiliser and other agriculture products will continue being delivered to farms.

Staying safe on the farm

Coronavirus is expected to be in Australia for at least the next 10 months. It has been estimated that between 20-50% of the workforce will be affected at any given time, particularly heading into winter.

All businesses have a duty of care to ensure as far as it reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers – and to ensure that all safety procedures have been followed to ensure the integrity of the product they send off the farm.

PMA A-NZ  has released a set of comprehensive guidelines to assist producers of fresh produce to plan for and mitigate the risks posed by COVID-19 to their employees, their business and the supply of fresh produce to consumers.

This includes:

  • Protecting the health and safety of a business’s employees, their families, and the broader community.
  • Ensuring the ongoing supply of fresh produce to Australian and New Zealand consumers, thereby supporting good nutrition and food security in this challenging time.
  • Facilitating, as far as possible, business continuity, thereby ensuring businesses survive and there is ongoing job security for your workforce.
PMA A-NZ COVID-19 Guidelines

They also have some good checklists on their website:

COVID-19 & Fresh Produce – Protecting your workforce

Citrus Australia has prepared a comprehensive guide to safety in the orchard and packing shed. Whilst some of it is not relevant to protected cropping environments, there is much useful information.

Guide to COVID-19 in the Orchard Packing Shed

Each worker also has a responsibility to ensure both their own and other workers’ health and safety at the workplace.

SafeWork Australia has released a series of resources to help you manage workers in your business to reduce the risk from COVID-19.

These resources include the following:

The site includes a very useful page – Staying informed about COVID-19 – with direct links to all the major government websites where regular updates are being made.

SafeWork Australia

Resources for non-English speaking workers

Due to the high number of workers from non-English speaking backgrounds in our sector, Berries Australia has prepared a poster to print out and put in your packing shed, staff facilities like lunchroom and any worker accommodation.

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Working from home: ensuring the health and safety of your staff

WHS laws still apply to businesses whose workers are required to work from home.  Employers must still ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of their workers. The worker also has a responsibility to take reasonable care for his or her own health and safety, including complying with reasonable instructions given by the employer or any policy and procedures provided.

Working from home

The Federal government has translated a health alert into many languages

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A simple fact sheet in Khmer 

យើងបានរៀបចំតារាងព័ត៌មានងាយៗជាភាសាខ្មែរដែលអាចទាញយកបាននៅទីនេះ។

KHMER FACT SHEET

A simple fact sheet in Vietnamese 

Chúng tôi đã chuẩn bị một Tờ thông tin đơn giản bằng tiếng Việt có thể tải về

VIET FACT SHEET

WA has produced or referenced information in these languages:
Simplified or Traditional Chinese, Farsi, Italian, Korean, Burmese, Dari, Indonesian, Swahili, Tamil, Vietnamese, Thai, Khmer, Punjabi

WA resources

NSW has resources available in these languages:
Arabic, Bangla, Burmese, Dari,  Farsi,  Greek,  Indonesian,  Italian,  Japanese,  Khmer,  Korean, Mandarin, Mongolian, Nepali, Portuguese, Spanish, Swahili, Thai, Tibetan, Vietnamese

NSW resources

Government helplines an employer should contact if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19

New South Wales  – Healthdirect – 1800 022 222

Queensland – 13 Health – 13 43 25 84

Victoria – Coronavirus Hotline – 1800 675 398

South Australia – SA COVID-19 Information Line – 1800 253 787

Tasmania – Tasmanian Public Health Hotline – 1800 671 738

Western Australia – Use the National Coronavirus Information Helpline – 1800 020 080

Australian Capital Territory – Healthdirect – 1800 022 222

Northern Territory – Use the National Coronavirus Information Helpline – 1800 020 080

How different states in Australia are implementing new restrictions

Social distancing and lockdown rules

The Federal Government’s announcement that gatherings had been limited to two people sounded straightforward enough, but it has caused some confusion.

With debates over what is essential vs non-essential, and what constitutes family, the actions you have to take may vary depending on where you live.

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Border restrictions 

Berries Australia has put together this information on state border restrictions

State border restrictions

Your responsibilities as an employer

COVID-19 Employer Guide

If you’re an employer, you need to know your obligations and plan how you might respond if coronavirus impacts your workplace more directly than just running out of toilet paper. This page provides a basic overview of FAQs and advice for employers

What to do with staff

This detailed guide by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry covers how to manage your workplace during the COVID-19 outbreak. It covers the obligations an employer has to ensure a safe working environment, even when employees work from home and the legal requirements when scaling down operations.

COVID-19 Employers Guide

Common FAQs

Can you temporarily close and stand down employees without pay?

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Federal government JobKeeper payment

Info for employers and employees

Your responsibilities as a company director

As part of its initial package of economic reforms, the Federal government announced a six-month temporary relief for directors from personal liability for trading while insolvent.

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Support for your business

Family Business Australia webinars

FBA has partnered with Australia’s leading industry professionals to present a series of interactive webinars. These webinars are jam-packed with useful information and resources that can be of benefit to family businesses during this time of crisis.

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Federal Government

The Federal government is supporting Australian businesses to manage cash flow challenges and retain employees. Assistance includes cash flow support to businesses and temporary measures to provide relief for financially distressed businesses:

  • Boosting cash flow for employers
  • Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
  • Increasing the instant asset write-off
  • Backing business investment
  • Supporting apprentices and trainees

Victoria

Support Measure Eligibility How to Access Timelines
Business Support Fund
$500 million fund to assist small to medium businesses most impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak
Small to medium businesses Follow this link to register your interest in the Economic Survival and Jobs Package No information supplied
Payroll tax refund and deferral
* Refund or waiving of payroll tax for the 2019-20 financial year
* Defer paying payroll tax for the first quarter of the 2020-21 financial year
Small and medium-sized businesses with total payroll of less than $3 million State Revenue Office will directly contact eligible businesses In line with normal lodgement of returns
Land tax deferral

Option of deferring 2020 land tax payment until after 31 December 2020

Land owners due to pay 2020 land tax that have at least one non-residential property and total taxable landholdings below $1 million State Revenue Office will contact all taxpayers who are eligible for this deferral From now until 31 December 2020

Queensland

Support Measure Eligibility How to Access Timelines
Payroll tax relief package
This includes:
* refunds of payroll tax for 2 months
* a payroll tax holiday for 3 months
* deferral of paying payroll tax for the 2020 calendar year
A business that is directly or indirectly affected by coronavirus if their current turnover, profit, customers, bookings, retail sales, supply contracts or other factors are negatively affected compared with normal operating conditions.
Apply Online
You must apply for refund or holiday before 31 May 2020
Queensland COVID-19 jobs support loans
You may be eligible for a loan to retain employees and maintain your operations up to $250,000
Queensland businesses impacted by COVID-19 to help retain employees and maintain their operations Visit the QRIDA website to register your interest in this loan facility Register your interest now – Loans are not yet available
Small and medium business power bill relief
Small and medium businesses may be eligible for a $500 rebate off energy bills
Businesses who consume less than 100,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) will receive the rebate. This will be automatically applied on your business electricity bills Next billing cycle
Household bill relief
$200 rebate for all 2.1 million Queensland households to offset the cost of water and electricity bills
All Queensland households with a household electricity account This will be automatically applied on household electricity bills Next billing cycle

Western Australia

Support Measure Eligibility How to Access Timelines
One-off grants of $17,500 to small and medium businesses Small and medium businesses whose annual Australian Taxable Wages are between $1 million and $4 million No applications are required Grants will automatically be paid from July
Fast-track payroll tax relief for small businesses The payroll tax threshold will be increased to $1 million from 1 July 2020 Automatically applied From 1 July 2020
Deferred payment 2019-20 payroll tax Available to employers who pay $7.5 million or less in Australian Taxable Wages and have been directly or indirectly impacted by COVID-19, compared to normal operating conditions Further information on how to apply for a payroll tax deferral is available on the Department of Finance website Eligible businesses will be able to defer payment of their 2019-20 payroll tax until 21 July 2020

New South Wales

Support Measure Eligibility How to Access Timelines
Payroll tax measures
* Waiver of payroll tax for businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million for three months (the rest of 2019-20)
* Raising the threshold limit to $1 million in 2020-21
Businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million for Waiver

Businesses with payrolls of less than $1 million will be exempt from payroll tax from 2020-21 tax year

No information supplied The reduction in the liability will be received when the annual reconciliation for the year is lodged, which is due on 28 July 2020.
Reductions in general fees & costs For small businesses including bars, cafes, restaurants and tradies No information supplied No information supplied

South Australia

Support Measure Eligibility How to Access Timelines
Cashflow assistance
* providing up to $25,000 back
* minimum payment of $2,000 for eligible businesses
Small to medium businesses No information supplied No information supplied

Tasmania

Support Measure Eligibility How to Access Timelines
Payroll Tax Waivers
Businesses with payrolls of up to $5 million will be able to apply, based on the impact of virus, to have their payroll tax waived for April to June 2020
Businesses with payrolls of up to $5 million (outside of hospitality, tourism & seafood industry businesses) Application Process No information supplied
Emergency Relief Payments for those in isolation
One-off payments of $250 for individuals or up to $1,000 for families
Those who are required by Public Health to self-isolate as a result of the coronavirus Visit Tasmanian Government website No information supplied