Information for businesses – COVID-19

Updated 1 June 2020

COVID-19 hub – Queensland Government website including health advice, essential information, travel restrictions, care army and business resources.

UPDATED: Roadmap to easing restrictions (1/6/2020), FAQ Stage 1, FAQ Stage 2 business and facility activity, Outback Queensland

COVIDSafe App (27/4/2020)

Quick links for business

Financial assistance

Industry Support

Managing Staff

Quick links for employees

UPDATED: Businesses re-opening 1st June (Stage 2)

Takeaway dining options

Food delivery options

Temporarily closed businesses

Join our Support Local, Buy Local Facebook page

Community Recovery Hotline – 1800 173 349

Community Recovery COVID-19 Fact Sheet (7/5/2020)

Quick links for health

Quick links for travel and events

Flights

Healing Solutions for Tourism Challenge – a global call to mitigate Covid-19 impacts on tourism through health, economic and destination management solutions.

General

Important Business Survey (all industries)

Capricorn Enterprise requests all businesses to complete the short survey below (will take no more than 5 minutes).  It is critical that we collate this data and your information will be held in the strictest confidence.

Capricorn Enterprise needs quantitative and qualitative data to effectively represent your needs and  lobby all levels of government to support you with the most appropriate measures.
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DZXNBLD

Join the Facebook **SUPPORT LOCAL, BUY LOCAL** group
In the face of COVID-19 and a challenging time in our economy, this group has been established as a platform to bring local businesses and residents together to share challenges, offer solutions and market opportunities to our community. We urge all business and individuals in the community to join this group so we can help each other. https://www.facebook.com/groups/2410372505941207/

Posted Monday 1st June 2020

From midday today Monday 1st June 2020, Stage Two of the Roadmap) to easing restrictions will allow:

  • Unlimited travel and overnight stays for Queenslanders across all of Queensland (no km limit).
  • Recreational travel, camping and accommodation including caravan parks.
  • Tourism experiences for 20 people – more if following the approved Industry COVID Safe Plan (Tourism and Events decision tree attached).
  • Dining in or seated drinks in restaurants, cafes, pubs, registered or licensed clubs, RSL Clubs, hotels and casinos (no gaming) for up to 20 patrons per room or defined area.

Posted Friday 15th May 2020

The Central Highlands region is included in Outback Queensland as part of the Roadmap to ease restrictions.

• Dine-in pubs and cafes will be allowed up to 20 patrons at a time from tomorrow,16 May. Read more.

• The Visitor Information Centre in Emerald has re-opened today. It will operate weekdays 10:00am – 4:00pm and weekends 10:00am – 2:00pm. Read more.

• Fossicking areas at the Sapphire Gemfields are open from tomorrow, 16 May. Read more.

• Recreational facilities at Fairbairn Dam and Bedford Weir are open from tomorrow, 16 May. Read more. • Outback locals will be allowed recreational travel, including overnight accommodation, of a 500km radius within Outback areas. Read more.

Show holidays in the Central Highlands will remain despite there being no agricultural shows.

Central Highlands Regional Council’s public playgrounds, skate parks, outdoor gyms, libraries, transaction centres and outdoor sports facilities will re-open in line with eased restrictions.

More>

Posted Wednesay 13th May 2020

New JobKeeper eligibility requirements for 16 and 17 year olds — Employers need to provide the new JobKeeper Employee nomination notice to 16 and 17 year old employees as they will need to be independent or not in full-time study to continue to be eligible for JobKeeper for fortnights starting after 11 May.

Ombudsman releases new mental health resource for sole traders — The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman released a 13 minute webinar with sole trader and Beyond Blue ambassador Garry Mills discussing his experiences, practical tips and further resources to support other business owners.

Protecting public officials and workers (spitting, coughing and spitting) direction (No. 2) — This Queensland direction has been amended to include allied health professionals, corrective services and youth justice officers.

Delivering a win for local cafes and restaurants — Deliveroo removes commission fees for pick up orders and lower commission fees for Queensland restaurants that provide their own deliveries. The Small Business Taskforce continues to work with stakeholders to support hospitality businesses to start and grow their takeaway and delivery operations during COVID-19 restrictions.

Posted Tuesday 12th May 2020

The Non-Essential Business direction has been updated to require hostels, bed and breakfasts, backpackers, boarding houses, short term rentals and short term accommodation and caravan and camping parks to have a health management plan in place.

While not specified in the direction, it only applies to those properties with shared facilities such as shared bathrooms, kitchens and living/communal areas.  The health management plans are in response to the increase in seasonal workers staying at these properties.

From 12:01 am on Tuesday 5 May 2020, facilities must have a health management plan, unless the facility operates solely for permanent residents of the facility. A facility that is required to have a health management plan must operate in compliance with the health management plan.

Updated direction here: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/system-governance/legislation/cho-public-health-directions-under-expanded-public-health-act-powers/non-essential-business-closure-direction

Guideline for the development of Health Management Plan: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0033/959910/guideline-risk-mitigation-for-accommodation-transport.pdf

Health Management Plan template (Word), (PDF)

(The guidelines and template are available on the right hand side of the health direction page).

Posted Friday 8th May 2020

Following a National Cabinet meeting this morning, Friday 8th May 2020, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there was a three-step plan to achieve a coronavirus-safe economy and society with states and territories to implement the changes as they see fit. The plan will be reviewed every three weeks.

Step one enables greater connection with friends and family, including:

  • Gatherings up to 10 people and five guests in your own home;
  • Children back in classrooms and in playgrounds in their communities;
  • Recreational activities such as golf, lap swimming and boot camps;
  • Retail, small cafes and restaurants reopening;
  • Interstate recreational travel starting again; and
  • An easing of restrictions for funerals with up to 30 attendees, outdoors and 10 at weddings.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk MP has revealed Queensland will move into step one of re-opening on Saturday, May 16 with dining in at restaurants, pubs and clubs with a maximum of ten people will also be allowed. People will also be allowed to travel up to 150 km for day trips.

From 11.59pm, Friday May 15, the following will be allowed:

  • Gatherings of a maximum of 10 people together in a public space
  • Dining in at restaurants, pubs, clubs, RSLs and cafes for a maximum of 10 patrons at one time as part of a gradual re-opening (no bars or gaming)
  • Recreational travel of a radius of up to 150km from your home for day trips
  • Some beauty therapies and nail salons for up to 10 people at one time
  • Reopening of libraries. playground equipment, skate parks and  outdoor gyms (a maximum of 10 at one time)
  • Wedding guests increased to 10 people and funeral attendance  increased to 20 (30 outdoors)
  • Open homes and auctions with a maximum of 10 people at one time;
  • Re-opening public pools and lagoons (eg South Bank, Cairns, Airlie Beach) with a maximum of 10 people at a time or greater numbers with an approved plan

For Outback Queensland, where there have been no COVID cases, two special concessions have been made:

  • Dining in at pubs and cafes will be up to 20 for locals only, reflecting the important role these venues play in connecting small outback communities; and
  • Recreational travel of a radius of up to 500 kilometres reflecting the long distances in the Outback.

Stage Two, effective 11.59pm, Friday June 12 would provide for:

  • Gatherings at homes with a maximum of 20 visitors
  • Dining-in at restaurants, pubs, clubs, cafes and RSLs for up to 20 patrons at a time and an option for more with an approved COVID-safe plan
  • Holiday travel within your region

What is a COVID SAFE business?
Queensland businesses are currently required to take action to manage COVID-19 in the workplace and should have a plan in place to demonstrate this. As this is an existing measure linked to current legislation we recommend that this plan – or a summary of it- is what should be displayed as evidence that a business is COVID SAFE.
https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/coronavirus/workplace-risk-management-b/_recache

For the industries that have been deemed as higher risk by the CHO (dining, beauty and nail salons) must complete a mandatory checklist before opening. This checklist would form part of their COVID plan and they should display this checklist as evidence that they are COVID SAFE. Industries are also encouraged to create industry health plans to drive best practice in managing COVID for their industry.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk MP Facebook Roadmap to easing Queensland’s restrictions

Queensland Government media release

Boating and Fishing

Following the update to the  Home Confinement, Movement and Gathering Direction which came into effect from midnight Friday 1 May 2020, recreational activities such as boating and fishing can occur, providing they:

  • stay within 50 kilometres of their home
  • practice social distancing (people are encouraged to be mindful of high congestion areas such as boat ramps and refuelling points)
  • are only joined by people they live with, or one other person. 

Fishing and charter boats are now allowed to operate with 2 passengers.

Posted Thursday 7th May 2020

Easing of restrictions

The Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk has advised that from Sunday 10 May some restrictions will be eased to allow up to five people from one household to visit another household. Queensland government media release.

Jobkeeper payments exempt from Payroll Tax

JobKeeper Payments will be exempt from Payroll Tax. Queensland government media release

The Safe Work Australia website has also been updated to be a single source of information and includes guidance about physical distancing, personal protective equipment, worksite cleaning, risk assessment and emergency plans for 23 specific industries.

Dams and recreation areas

From 2 May 2020, all Seqwater and Sunwater dams and recreation areas will re-open to the public for day use. Visit seqwater.com.au

Boaties can take their boat out for recreation, as well as exercising, fishing, travelling for work, getting groceries or providing assistance or care to immediate family members, provided they stay within 50kms of their home:

Boaties can take their boat out for recreation, as well as exercising, fishing, travelling for work, getting groceries or providing assistance or care to immediate family members, provided they stay within 50kms of their home:

  • Social distancing rules always apply – special attention must be paid at congestion areas like boat ramps and refuelling points 
  • Boaties should be on their boat alone, or with no more than one other person; or with family who ordinarily live in the same household.
  • Social distancing rules always apply – special attention must be paid at congestion areas like boat ramps and refuelling points 
  • Boaties should be on their boat alone, or with no more than one other person; or with family who ordinarily live in the same household.

Posted Wednesday 29th April 2020

Parks and forests updates: COVID-19

Some National Parks and State Forest sites will reopen from 11.59pm on Friday 1 May. This will allow Queenslanders whose homes are within 50km to have a picnic with their household, or for single households to have a picnic with one other person, or go for a walk. Read on for the list of sites which will be reopening Saturday 2nd May 2020 – https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/covid-19/

Queenslanders should check Park Alerts later this week before they travel for up-to-date information about closures.

Queensland’s annual harvest season can go ahead safely and effectively during COVID-19

Queensland Government Media Release:

Any seasonal worker coming to Queensland would need a border pass and details of:

  • where they had been for the previous two weeks
  • written confirmation of a job in Queensland
  • and where they planned to reside.

If they have come from a declared COVID-19 hotspot, they must also self-quarantine for 14 days at their own or employer’s expense before starting their employment.

The Government will also:

  • promote the importance of complying with health obligations
  • insist on mandatory health management plans
  • strengthen compliance
  • and ensure local solutions for local circumstances are developed.

Small museums / Not for profits: grant programs

Posted Tuesday 28th April 2020

Young’s buses bolstered by Qld COVID-19 support

Capricorn Coast buses will continue to operate essential services with the State Government announcing additional support as part of a $54.5 million essential transport coronavirus package.

Seqwater and Sunwater dams to reopen

The State Government today announced that all Seqwater and Sunwater dams and recreation areas will re-open to the public for day use from Saturday, May 2, following a relaxation in guidelines from the Chief Health Officer. Media Release

Funding lifeline for Australia’s zoos and aquariums

Federal Government Media Release: Australia’s zoos and aquariums will receive a much-needed funding lifeline, with the Federal Government today unveiling a $94.6 million support package to help them get through the COVID-19 crisis.

This funding will assist exhibiting zoos and aquariums with the fixed operational costs associated with the caring of their animals, while also helping to ensure Australian zoos and aquariums can remain viable and ready to welcome visitors when restrictions are eased. 

Eligible exhibiting zoos and aquariums will have access to a grant that contributes towards up to six months of its animal welfare operating costs. This includes animal feed, enclosure, health and other specialised care expenses, and utilities directly related to the housing and caring for animals.

In addition to this support to help with operational costs, zoos and aquariums who meet the criteria will be able to apply for the JobKeeper program to assist with staffing costs.

For more information please see the Fact Sheet.

Waiver of vehicle registration cancellation and re-registration requirements

Individuals and businesses are cancelling their vehicle registration due to the financial impacts of COVID-19. Registration cancellations are expected to be particularly prominent within the passenger transport, vehicle hire, and heavy vehicle sectors. It is anticipated that many of these vehicles will be re-registered following the COVID-19 period. As a result, TMR has made changes to assist individuals and businesses with this process.

Specifically:

  • The registration cancellation fee will be waived.
  • If requested by the customer, the vehicle’s number plate will be customised for free enabling the customer to retain the plate and re-attach it to the vehicle upon re-registration.
  • The requirement to surrender the number plate as part of the cancellation process will be waived.
  • The new number plate fee will be waived on re-registration.
  • The vehicle can be re-registered without a safety certificate or Certificate of Inspection (COI) if:
    • the vehicle’s previous COI was (as at the time of re-registration) within the last 12 months, or within the last 24 months for farm vehicles; and
    • the vehicle is being registered to the same registered operator as immediately prior to the cancellation; and
    • the vehicle has had no change in vehicle particulars (for example, VIN, engine number, make, model, colour).

These amendments will be in effect from 25 April 2020 and will be in place until six months after the COVID-19 period ends.

The Queensland Government is also freezing heavy vehicle registration fees for 2020-21.

Posted Monday 27th April 2020

Queensland Government Media Release: From 11.59pm Friday, May 1, Queenslanders will be able to leave their homes for recreation and the distance they can travel has been extended.

For example, Queenslanders will be able to enjoy some relief from stay-at-home rules and:

  • Go for a drive;
  • Ride a motorbike, jetski or boat for pleasure;
  • Have a picnic; 
  • Visit a national park; and
  • Shop for non-essential items

But there are three conditions that apply linked to the above:

  • Social distancing and hygiene must be maintained
  • You have to stay within 50km of home and
  • Outings are limited to members of the same household or an individual and one friend

Q & A factsheet

Posted Thursday 23rd April 2020

TAFE Queensland and CQ Uni offer free online courses — Free online skill sets and micro-credentialing courses are being offer by TAFE Queensland and CQ University. Courses are in areas including in food service, community care, health support, customer engagement, digital literacy and cyber security. Find out more through the Jobs Finder Queensland online portal.

$150 million relief and assistance package from NBN Co — includes $50 million for internet service providers to provide discounted access for small and medium businesses.

Posted Wednesday 22nd April 2020

Following the flattening of the curve, low rates of COVID-19 related hospitalisation and new data on stocks of PPE, category 2 and equivalent elective surgeries and procedures can recommence across the public and private hospital sectors from 27 April 2020. Procedures include:

  • IVF
  • Screening programs (cancer and other diseases)
  • Post cancer reconstruction procedures (such as breast reconstruction)
  • Procedures for children under 18 years of age.
  • Joint replacements (incl knees, hips, shoulders)
  • Cataracts and eye procedures
  • Endoscopy and colonoscopy procedures

The National Cabinet has also reconfirmed the principles announced on 18 March 2020 regarding visits to aged care facilities. In line with these principles, visits should be limited to a short duration, a maximum of two visitors at one time per day, and conducted in line with social distancing practices. This is designed to limit the spread of COVID-19 in residential aged care facilities.

Posted Monday 20th April 2020

Updated fact sheets with additional information about requirements for visa holders to meet public health requirements (agriculture measures) as well as information about visa holders ability to access superannuation are now available.

This information has been published on the COVID-19 website https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/frequently-asked-questions

Posted Friday 17th April 2020

Queensland Health has established a separate process to respond directly to questions and clarifications, which can be found online at:  https://www.health.qld.gov.au/system-governance/legislation/cho-public-health-directions-under-expanded-public-health-act-powers

On the right hand side of the landing page is information on how to ask a specific question about how the directives apply in particular circumstances.  While exact timeframes are not published, we understand the response time to questions and clarifications is reasonable.

Posted Tuesday 14th April 2020

The Fair Work Commission has made changes (9 April 2020) to 99 Modern Awards to provide an estimated 4.4 million employees with access to unpaid pandemic leave and provide them with the ability to take annual leave at half pay. The variation operates from 8 April until 30 June 2020. Read more https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/documents/resources/covid-19-information/email-2020-04-09-modern-award-updates-flexibility-covid-19.pdf

Modern awards list – https://www.fwc.gov.au/awards-and-agreements/awards/modern-awards/modern-awards-list

Posted Thursday 9th April 2020

Exporters are advised to keep abreast of the situation.

To help, Austrade has developed a COVID-19 information and insights page which is updated daily. 

Information about the recently announced International Air Freight Mechanism and extra funding for EMDG can be found here.

Posted Tuesday 7th April 2020

ACCC releases guidelines on cancellations and refunds for small business

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (‘ACCC’) has issued guidance to assist small businesses to understand their rights and obligations when issuing refunds in response to the coronavirus under the Australian Consumer Law.

The guide outlines small business rights and obligations relating to issues such as cancelled functions and events, pricing of goods and services, and charging subscription and membership fees when the business is not operating.

Small business can contact the ACCC via their online form.

Department of Innovation and Tourism Industry Update

  • New Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Assistance Finder tool
  • Info on the Backing Business Investment incentive
  • Registered charities access to JobKeeper COVID-19 wage subsidy
  • #MakingItForQLD campaign – a call for Queensland manufacturers to re-purpose themselves to support Queensland during the COVID-19 crisis

Click here for more details. 

Posted Friday 3rd April 2020

Advice from Tourism Queensland

We all have a role to play in uniting against COVID-19, and if you are encouraging people to holiday at your business or in Queensland for purposes not permitted by the public health direction, you must cease immediately. Unfortunately, this does mean cancelling any future bookings while the home confinement direction is in place. This public health direction is outlined here and is currently in place until 19 May 2020 and may be extended further. 

In relation to hostels, bed and breakfasts, backpackers and boarding houses, these:

  • May continue to operate for permanent and temporary residents traveling for a permitted purpose under the home confinement direction, and workers of the facility, with social distancing observed.
  • If you are a backpacker and a temporary resident at a hostel, you are subject to home confinement and should only leave the premises for the permitted purposes.
  • Limited to 2 people in common areas such as lounge rooms and shared facilities, with no more than one person per 4 square metres.
  • Limited to 2 people in outdoor areas, that is part of the facility, or near the facility, with social distancing observed.

If the person does not comply with the public health directions, penalties will apply: $13,345 for individuals and $66,672.50 for corporations. It is possible the enforcement officer can issue on the spot tickets of $1,334.50 or $6,672.50 for corporations.

INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO BACKPACKERS, WORKING HOLIDAY MAKERS AND THOSE ON A VISA:

Where can I stay?

In relation to hostels, bed and breakfasts, backpackers and boarding houses, these:

  • May continue to operate for permanent and temporary residents traveling for a permitted purpose under the home confinement direction, and workers of the facility, with social distancing observed.
  • If you are a backpacker and a temporary resident at a hostel, you are subject to home confinement and should only leave the premises for the permitted purposes.
  • Limited to 2 people in common areas such as lounge rooms and shared facilities, with no more than one person per 4 square metres.
  • Limited to 2 people in outdoor areas, that is part of the facility, or near the facility, with social distancing observed.

If you do not comply with the public health directions, penalties will apply: $13,345 for individuals and $66,672.50 for corporations. It is possible the enforcement officer can issue on the spot tickets of $1,334.50 or $6,672.50 for corporations.

How to apply for visa extension

If you’re in Australia on a visa, you must apply for a new visa before your current visa expires. You may be​​​ eligible to be granted a bridging visa that will keep you lawful until a decision is made on your visa application. See what you need to do to stay longer.

Some services relating to the visa application process​ may be impacted by COVID-19.

Looking for harvest work

If you are already in Queensland, you should secure employment before you move into a new area. If you’re looking for harvest work, it’s really important that you don’t just show up to a farm. A better way is to register your availability at Harvest Trail – https://jobsearch.gov.au/harvest. You can also phone the National Harvest Labour Information Service on 1800 062 332.

If you are not currently in Queensland, and plan to work here, you will need to secure employment before you cross the border. Before you can enter Queensland, you need to apply for an entry pass at https://www.qld.gov.au/border-pass. If you do not have an entry pass, you will not be allowed to cross the border into Queensland.

Job Hub to highlight job opportunities

The federal government has launched a Jobs Hub (www.dese.gov.au/covid-19/jobs-hub) to highlight businesses and organisations with multiple jobs on offer.

Employers who are hiring and want support to connect with potential candidates can also contact the Department of Education, Skills and Employment at workforce@dese.gov.au to be connected directly with businesses reducing their workforces; and the employment services network to source suitable candidates.

If you are looking for work, the Jobs Hub allows prospective employees to search by employers with multiple job opportunities, by location and Australian Government jobs. When searching by location, our region is included in Fitzroy. Applicants will then need to further refine their search by towns and industry type.

Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws

Employees and employers are encouraged to work together to find the most beneficial and workable solutions that suit their individual workplaces and circumstances. Click here for advice on arranging flexible work, using paid leave, using unpaid leave, standing down employees and more.

Businesses and people affected by the coronavirus outbreak may also be eligible for government financial support. See Government information about coronavirus for links for further information.

Posted Thursday 2nd April 2020

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has asked childcare centres to remain open for everyone to use. Centres have been asked to prioritise the children of essential workers and vulnerable children. Parents who need to send their children to child care will receive FREE care. https://www.dese.gov.au/news/coronavirus-covid-19

Posted Tuesday 31st March 2020

The third Federal Government stimulus package in response to COVID-19 provides significant incentives to employers and additional support for Australians to buffer the economic impacts.

The $1500 JobKeeper payment subsidy to businesses will keep more Australians in jobs with eligible businesses receiving $1500 per fortnight per eligible employee that is retained. For further information click here – https://www.business.gov.au/risk-management/emergency-management/coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business/jobkeeper-payment

In addition, over the next six months the Federal Government is temporarily expanding access to income support payments and establishing a Coronavirus Supplement of $550 per fortnight.

JobSeeker Payment is subject to a partner income test, and today the Government is temporarily relaxing the partner income test to ensure that an eligible person can receive the JobSeeker Payment, and associated Coronavirus Supplement, providing their partner earns less than $3,068 per fortnight, around $79,762 per annum. The personal income test for individuals on JobSeeker Payment will still apply.

More assistance will also be given to millions of Australians with a $1.1 billion package with boosts mental health services, domestic violence support, Medicare assistance for people at home and emergency food relief.

  • $669M – Medicare-subsidised telehealth services
  • $150M – domestic, family and sexual violence support
  • $74M – mental health and well being support www.headtohealth.gov.au
  • $200M – support for charities and community organisations which provide emergency and food relief.

Posted Monday 30th March 2020

There are a number of new and updated CHO directives including:

Queensland Rail Travel Services

As of Monday 30 March 2020, the following Queensland Rail Travel services will operate:

  • Spirit of Queensland – 3 return services per week (Brisbane to Cairns)
  • Rockhampton Tilt Train – 4 return services per week (Brisbane to Rockhampton)
  • Bundaberg Tilt Train – 2 return services per week (Brisbane to Bundaberg)

Posted Friday 27th March 2020

New Announcement: The latest Commonwealth Government measures were announced this afternoon by the Prime Minister. It includes some new provisions for all international arrivals, including Australians returning,  who will have to be quarantined in (hotel) accommodation rather than home. State and Territory governments are working with regional tourism organisations to source accommodation.
Information for hotels and hotel staff

Industry update: The Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning/COVID-19 has sent an important industry message, view online here – https://bit.ly/3dxtkck, outlining support for industry.

Posted Thursday 26th March 2020

Our TOP 5 tips for Facebook marketing during COVID-19

It has become very apparent that there will be no escaping the impacts of Coronavirus in our community, making Facebook now, more than ever, an essential marketing tool for all businesses to interact with their customers. With consumers staying at home and trying to ride out this storm, our small businesses are being forced to be innovative about the way they operate and communicate. Here are 5 tips on how to handle your Facebook communications during this difficult time – https://capricornenterprise.com.au/2020/03/our-top-5-tips-for-facebook-marketing-during-covid-19/

Tourism Australia newsletter

There are a number of great online resources, courses and webinars available for tourism operators at the moment. Some examples are below:

Live streaming and virtual programming: Although many venues are currently closed, many are live streaming or providing virtual tours. Some great examples include:

  • National Gallery of Victoria – On the new NGV Channel, find a growing haul of virtual content to explore. Right now, you can join a free, curator-led tour of Collecting Comme  and the NGV’s Indigenous art collection Marking Time. You can also digitally explore around KAWS: Companionship In The Age Of Loneliness and from Saturday 28 March ‘Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines‘ will also be open online.  
  • Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Queensland – Tune in for heart-warming live streams of cute and cuddly koalas alongside other Australian native animals such as dingoes with Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Queensland.
  • Zoos Victoria – Zoos Victoria has set up live streams at some Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo enclosures, meaning you can now visit their adorable animals anytime online.
  • Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Tasmania – is live streaming ‘Tim’ between 10am and 4.30pm AEDT daily. A former tattoo-parlour manager from Zurich, Tim Steiner has an elaborate tattoo on his back that was designed by a famous artist and sold to a German art collector. As part of the deal, Tim spends his days sitting in galleries so people can admire this work of art. Since 2011, Tim has sat at Mona for over 3,500 hours. 

Business support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

The Australian Government National Indigenous Australians Agency has provided a comprehensive document to support the community during the COVID-19 situation. It includes information for employers to assist them to retain or employ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as well as information to support people and their communities, including details on the Community Recovery Hotline 1800 173 349 for those who are self isolating. The document also provides links to mental health services and a variety of other useful information.

Rockhampton Regional Council relief package

Rockhampton Regional Council voted yesterday to immediately roll out a relief package worth up to $1.3 million to help support businesses and community groups in the Rockhampton Region.

The package includes: 

  • No additional interest on Outstanding Rates until further notice
  • Lease fee refunds for eligible sporting and community groups
  • Existing business licences extended until 30 June 2021
  • Rent relief for commercial tenants
  • Cash contribution of $20,000 each for two local animal welfare agencies – Capricorn Animal Aid and Central Queensland Animal Society
  • All Environmentally Relevant Authorities extended for a further 12 months
  • In-kind support for the business community from Advance Rockhampton

Posted Wednesday 25th March 2020

Queensland National Parks, state forests and recreation areas

In response to #COVID-19 (coronavirus) ALL camping areas in Queensland national parks, state forests and recreation areas are closed until further notice.

Campers who are currently on site will be notified today to prepare to leave within the next 24 to 48 hours.

Four-wheel drive trails, mountain bike trails, walking tracks and trails, bushwalks and national park coastal walks, remain open.

People who are visiting these areas and taking part in recreation activities in national parks and other areas, should continue to follow the Queensland Health advice about not travelling outside of their local area and for public gatherings and social distancing.

You are encouraged to check Park Alerts https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/park-alerts/ for the latest information.

Building and construction open for business

Master Builders Queensland have advised its members that building and construction remains an essential service and is open for business. Builders and tradies are exempt from the Queensland border shutdown measures when travelling for work. For this and other details, please read the Member Alert https://www.vision6.com.au/v/17545/1794486578/email.html?k=sKOG6SnTZ6YLIFcd8usxNOZpSLO3iorBplCJx3rnIcA

Posted Tuesday 24th March 2020

On Sunday 22 March, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a further $66b stimulus package to help stem the economic impacts of Novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Part of this package addressed the financial assistance available for eligible small and medium businesses (SMEs) as well as charities. 

Today, the Queensland Government also unveiled a $3b rescue package for businesses and households which includes an immediate refund to SME’s for the February and March payroll tax. We will continue to communicate further details as they become available.

In the interim, outlined below is a quick snapshot of the assistance available for SMEs with relevant hyperlinks to fact sheets and websites to help you keep up to date. 

Federal Government funding assistance:

Queensland Government funding assistance:

Southern Queensland –     phone (07) 4622 5500

North Queensland –          phone (07) 4652 5669
A map of Queensland showing the division of Small Business Financial Counselling Service providers can be found here: rfcs-qld-map.pdf

Further information on the Queensland Governments Immediate Industry Recovery Package is available at www.qld.gov.au/industryrecovery or by contacting 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

Posted Monday 23rd March 2020

Further assistance available to business

The Australian Government has announced a second stage of measures to keep businesses in business and to keep workers in jobs.

Factsheets include: Economic Response (overall view), Income Support for Individuals, Payments to Support Households, Early Access to Superannuation, Providing Support for Retirees, Cash Flow Assistance for Business and more.

These measures are focused on getting businesses and their workers through to the other side of this crisis and include:

  • A wage subsidy for small and medium businesses to save jobs; and
  • A guarantee on loans to small and medium businesses so they can keep in business.

Support to keep Australians in jobs: Businesses will be given a cash payment of up to $100,000 for the period March 2020 to September 2020. That payment will be worth 100% of the tax those small and medium businesses, with a turnover less than $50 million, are withholding from their employees salary and wages.

The payment will be tax free. It will now also be available to eligible charities or other not-for-profit entities.

Support for business – https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/businesses

Supporting small business with loans: The new Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme is designed to support small and medium business with a turnover less than $50 million.

This measure complements the $8 billion worth of measures the banks announced this week to defer repayments for 6 months for small and medium businesses battling the impacts of coronavirus.

The Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme will be able to be accessed by eligible banks and non-bank lenders.

Supporting the flow of credit – https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/business-investment

Supporting Individuals and Households: The Australian Government is providing financial assistance to Australians. This assistance includes income support payments, payments to support households and temporary early releases of superannuation. https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/households

Posted Friday 20th March 2020

Buy local, shop local, stay local

Michelle Landry MP, Member for Capricornia, with Mary Carroll, Capricorn Enterprise CEO, discuss the importance of spending money locally. A lot of businesses will be adversely affected by the virus now and in the coming months. They really need our help to keep the lights on and keep people in jobs. Please consider local, hardworking businesses in Capricornia for any of your purchases. They need our help. Watch the video here.

Business stimulus

Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Federal Coalition Government announced a comprehensive stimulus package which is designed to help Australians stay employed and keep small and medium businesses in operation. You can read the Prime Minister’s full statement here.

The Federal Government recognises the need to support businesses during this difficult and uncertain period. That’s why they’ve made the following assistance available:

  • Increasing the Instant Asset Write-Off
    • The instant asset write-off 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 second‑hand assets first used or installed ready for use in this timeframe. For more information, click here.
  • Backing Business Investment
    • A time limited 15 month investment 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. For more information, click here.
  • Boosting cash flow for employers
    • Provides $25,000 back to small and medium-sized businesses, with a minimum payment of $2,000 for eligible businesses. This payment will provide cash flow support to businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million that employ staff. The payment will be tax free. For more information, click here.
  • Supporting 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. For more information, click here.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and the State Labor Government also recently announced:

  • Jobs Support Loans
    • A new $500 million loan facility, interest free for the first 12 months, to support Queensland businesses impacted by COVID-19 retain employees and maintain their operations. The $500 million 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. The Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) is responsible for the administration of these concessional loans. For more information or to apply, click here.
  • Deferring payroll tax
    • If your business has been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19), you can defer lodging and paying payroll tax returns until 31 July 2020. For more information, click here.
  • Market diversification and resilience grants
    • The Queensland Government are providing assistance for businesses impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak through the Market Diversification and Resilience Grants (MDRG) program. The MDRG program will benefit Queensland agriculture, food and fishing exporters and their critical supply chain partners, as well as industry organisations working with exporters to build resilience by diversifying into new markets (international or interstate).
    • Equipment purchase grants of up to $7,500 (excluding GST) are available to support new equipment purchases up to a maximum cost of $10,000 (excluding GST). Project grants of up to $50,000 (excluding GST) are also available to support project activities.
    • For more information, click here.

Coronavirus Border Closures

  • Australia is closing its borders to all non-citizens and non-residents.  
  • The entry ban starts from 9pm AEST Friday 20 March 2020  with exemptions only for Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family, including spouses, legal guardians and dependants.  
  • Our number one priority is to slow the spread of coronavirus to save lives.  
  • Our government has taken this unprecedented step because around 80 per cent of coronavirus cases in Australia are people who caught the virus overseas before entering Australia, or people who have had direct contact with someone who has returned from overseas.   
  • Our previous travel and entry restrictions have already seen daily travel to Australia by non-citizens reduce by around a third compared to this time last year.

Level 4 – Do Not Travel

  • Our advice to all Australians – regardless of your destination, age or health – is do not travel overseas, at all.  
  • This is our highest travel advice setting – Level 4 of 4 and is the first time we have done so in history.  
  • The decision reflects the gravity of the international situation arising from the COVID-19 outbreak, the risks to health and the high likelihood of major travel disruptions.  
  • Australians who are overseas who wish to return to Australia, should do so as soon as possible by commercial means. Commercial options may quickly become limited.  
  • Anyone arriving in Australia from overseas, including Australians citizens and permanent residents, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days from the date of arrival.

Key contacts

  • If you’re unsure about what to do, call the Coronavirus Health Information Line (operating 24/7) on 1800 020 080.
  • For travel advice visit https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

Advice for drivers and passengers using public transport Factsheet: People who have travelled from a country or region that is at high or moderate risk for COVID-19 should monitor their health closely. If you develop symptoms including a fever and cough you should isolate yourself immediately and urgently seek medical attention. Go to www.health.gov.au/covid19-travellers for the list of at-risk countries.

Small Business Financial Counselling Service
The Rural Financial Counselling Service traditionally provides free financial advice to primary producers who are suffering financial hardship and have no alternative sources of impartial financial information. This service has been expanded to support any Small Business impacted by COVID19 and is funded by grants from government to local organisations that employ financial counsellors.
 
Any Small Business impacted by COVID19 can now contact the Small Business Financial Counselling Service in the following areas:

A map of Queensland showing the division of Small Business Financial Counselling Service providers can be found here: rfcs-qld-map.pdf

Posted Thursday 19th March 2020

QantasLink are reducing their weekly Brisbane to Rockhampton flights from 41 to 37 only. There will be a daily coastal flight (return) from Rockhampton to Mackay to Townsville. Media release

The Queensland Government has announced the Immediate Industry Recovery Package to assist business and industry to implement resilience and recovery strategies to mitigate impacts of COVID-19.

This package currently includes support for businesses such as:

  • payroll tax support
  • targeted support for hardest hit industries (tourism, hospitality, fisheries and exporters)
  • a $500 million loan facility to support businesses to retain employees and maintain operations.

This information, as well as potential further support measures, will be updated regularly by the Queensland Government so I encourage you to monitor it: https://www.qld.gov.au/about/industry-recovery/business-and-industry-support

The Australian Government has also announced an economic response including: business investment support, assistance with cash flow for employers, household stimulus payments and targeted assistance for the most severely affected regions. To access the Australian Government’s support visit: https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus

The Reserve Bank (RBA) announced a cash rat cut of 0.25% today, bringing the cash rate to 0.25%. RBA statement

Facebook announces $100 million program for small businesses impacted by coronavirus https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/17/facebook-announces-program-for-small-businesses-impacted-by-covid-19.html

LAUNCH OF NATIONAL CAMPAIGN

https://www.health.gov.au/news/launch-of-the-coronavirus-covid-19-campaign

INFORMATION AND SUPPORT FOR BUSINESS

https://www.business.gov.au/risk-management/emergency-management/coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business

CANCELLATION OF EVENT ADVICE https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/consumer-rights-guarantees/covid-19-coronavirus-information-for-consumers

If you are a sole trader without employees or if you have employees follow the link to find out what support is available to you – https://www.business.gov.au/risk-management/emergency-management/coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business/what-support-is-available-to-your-business

Posted Wednesday 18th March 2020

An update from Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry MP, https://capricornenterprise.com.au/2020/03/federal-member-for-capricornia-michelle-landry-mp-march-18th-update-on-coronavirus-measures/

The Factsheet on gathering in public has been updated – FACTSHEET

Business Australia has collated an Employer Guide to the Coronavirus – https://www.businessaustralia.com/how-we-help/be-a-better-employer/getting-legal-advice/employer-guide-to-coronavirus/latest-news

Posted Tuesday 17th March 2020

State Funding Support

Today the State Government announced a new $500 million loan facility, interest free for the first 12 months, to support businesses to keep Queenslanders in work, as well as extend the coronavirus payroll tax deferral to ALL businesses across the state. 

This follows the Federal government’s announcement of a $17.6 Billion stimulus package last week (scroll down this email thread), with a second stimulus package to come.

Information on the state concessional loans will be available at www.qrida.qld.gov.au from the end of this week.

Information on state payroll tax deferral can be found at www.osr.qld.gov.au

Cancelled Local/Regional Events (to date):

In following the national guidelines widely circulated, the following events have been cancelled in the period to June 2020:

  • Festival of the Wind – Emu Park
  • Keppel Sands Krabtastic
  • Livingstone Shire Council – All public programmes and events cancelled from March to May
  • Beef to Beach
  • Beef Australia – Beef 21 Club events
  • Colour Me Capricorn
  • 7 Rocky River Run
  • All RRC public programs in the libraries, Bauhinia and Schotia Place, Heritage Village Markets, Pilbeam Theatre (Mumma Mia)
  • Rockhampton Art Gallery public programs
  • Rockhampton Agricultural Show
  • Woman’s Wellness Expo
  • Rockhampton Best in Business Awards
  • Rockhampton ANZAC day
  • Golden Mount Festival
  • Archer Park School Holidays Program
  • Capricorn Enterprise Business Breakfast and Business Lunch with Gene Tunny, postponed, date to be determined
  • Laing O’Rourke ASMTI Industry briefings cancelled but EOI sought by email
  • Great Western Hotel bull cancelling bull riding on Wednesday and Friday nights until further notice but still open for business Wednesday to Sunday, including takeaway and delivery.
  • Mount Morgan Rail Museum and Visitor Information Centre (from Monday 23rd March 2020)

Buy Local, Support Local

In this most challenging time, it is important for us to support each other as best we can whilst exercising social distancing and self-care.  Buy local and please do not abandon our local businesses

  • Continue Dining at your local café/restaurant (exercise social distancing by sitting at every second table) OR buy takeaway meals and coffee (using your keep cup of course)
  • Book your own rainforest log cabin, island cabin, city or coastal unit OR Buy now and Stay Later (to help stimulate cash flow).

Our destination is sprinkled with loads of open aired, tranquil spaces for you and your family to enjoy – from Carnarvon Gorge to the Capricorn Coast, from the Central Highlands to the Keppel Islands – our businesses are hurting and their employees need our support.

Posted Monday 16th March 2020

Following the announcement from the Federal Government Assistance for businesses and with the escalation of Covid-19 precautionary measures over the weekend, we know businesses are suffering with significant cancellations of hotel rooms (corporate and leisure, domestic and international) and tours which also affects restaurants, cafes and retail outlets. No industry is immune to the Covid-19 issue, with many corporate companies banning travel in the immediate future (reflected in hotel cancellations locally), other large companies ordering their employees to remotely work from home (i.e. Telstra) and interruptions to the supply chain across all sectors.

We need you to please complete this very quick survey from Business Queensland to assist the government in understanding the FINANCIAL impacts to your business so far:

https://www.business.qld.gov.au/starting-business/advice-support/support/novel-coronavirus  – remember, this information can help your business/our area in any future recovery assistance.

“Cash is King” in business, so Capricorn Enterprise CEO Mary Carroll has been lobbying via State and Federal channels on a number of teleconferences today with my regional colleagues, that cash injections directly back to businesses via the ATO would be the most effective in the immediate future.

The CCIQ have collated this helpful guide for businesses, which is updated as the situation evolves:

https://www.cciq.com.au/business-voice/news/coronavirus/

Information for hotels and hotel staff:

https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/03/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-hotels-and-hotel-staff-coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-hotels-and-hotel-staff_0.pdf

COVID-19 Isolation guidance:

https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/03/coronavirus-covid-19-isolation-guidance_2.pdf.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is providing daily global situation reports:

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports

https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200315-sitrep-55-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=33daa5cb_6

The most current information in relation to COVID-19 is available via the Queensland Government website:

https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19

Master Builders Updated information:

Building Supply Chain:

https://www.mbqld.com.au/news-and-publications/news/coronavirus-and-the-building-industry

Workplace relations.

https://www.mbqld.com.au/news-and-publications/news/coronavirus-common-workplace-relations-faqs

Cancellations – we advise that you implement your own cancellation policies, with many of you offering a full refund, or a credit eligible for twelve months. You need to do what is right for your customers and your future relationship with those customers.

Capricorn Enterprise is here to support you– we are only a phone call or email away. If you have any specific enquiries across any industry, please email me, as chances are, we do have information at hand or can refer you to someone who does.

Posted Friday 13th March 2020

IMPORTANT FEDERAL GOVT. ASSISTANCE FOR BUSINESSES

The Federal Government has announced a $17.6 billion coronavirus stimulus package – ($1 billion for tourism) – Please click on the link to find out more.

The Prime Minister has unveiled plans for a $17.6 billion stimulus package to aid Australia’s economic recovery in the wake of the coronavirus, $1 billion of which has been set aside to support those regions and communities that have been disproportionately affected by the economic impacts of the Coronavirus, including those heavily reliant on industries such as tourism, agriculture and education. This will include: 

  • the waiver of fees and charges for tourism businesses that operate in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the waiver of entry fees for Commonwealth National Parks; 
  • additional assistance to help businesses identify alternative export markets or supply chains; and 
  • targeted measures to further promote domestic tourism.   

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is also providing administrative relief for some tax obligations for people affected by the Coronavirus outbreak, on a case-by-case basis. The ATO will set up a temporary shop front in Cairns within the next few weeks with dedicated staff specialising in assisting small business. In addition, it will consider ways to enhance its presence in other significantly affected regions, making it easier for people to apply for relief. The ATO is considering further temporary shop fronts and face-to-face options

$2.4 billion of the total package has been earmarked to deal with the health impacts of the coronavirus outbreak including creating a new Medicare item for telehealth services so people can be treated at home. There will also be 100 fever clinics set up around Australia to test those who think they may be sick. 

Below is an extract from the $17.6 billion coronavirus stimulus Package:

Cash flow assistance for businesses

  • $6.7 billion to Boost Cash Flow for Employers by up to $25,000 with a minimum payment of $2,000 for eligible small and medium-sized businesses. The payment will provide cash flow support to businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million that employ staff, between 1 January 2020 and 30 June 2020. The payment will be tax free. This measure will benefit around 690,000 businesses employing around 7.8 million people. Businesses will receive payments of 50 per cent of their Business Activity Statements or Instalment Activity Statement from 28 April with refunds to then be paid within 14 days.
  • $1.3 billion to support small businesses to support the jobs of around 120,000 apprentices and trainees. Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for up to 9 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.

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