Coronavirus Government Stimulus And Support Measures 12, 22 and 30 March 2020

JobKeeper Payments

On 30 March 2020 the Prime Minister and Treasurer announced a “JobKeeper” wage subsidy program budgeted to cost $130 billion and to be in place for a period of 6 months (from 30 March 2020).

Key points of the program include:

  • the JobKeeper payment is paid to eligible employers to support all employees on the books as at 1 March 2020
  • the payment is a flat amount of $1,500 per fortnight to be paid to all employees of eligible businesses, including full time, part-time and long-term casuals (at least 1 year) and including employees who may have been stood down or retrenched since 1 March 2020. Terminated workers will need to go back on the books in order to get the payment.
  • payments under the scheme will start to flow from the Tax Office from 1 May 2020, and be backdated for entitlements from 30 March 2020
  • eligible employers will register with the Tax Office on the self-assessed condition of having suffered a minimum 30% reduction of turnover relative to a comparable period a year ago of at least 1 month (or a 50% reduction in the case of businesses with turnover over $1 billion)
  • all businesses and not for profits including charities are included in the program
  • self-employed individuals may also be eligible
  • the program will be administered by the ATO through a registration page on their website
  • the scheme will be available to support New Zealanders on temporary 444 visas, other temporary visa holders not included at this stage
  • the payment does not include superannuation; it will be up to employers to determine whether super is paid any additional wage component
  • there can be no “double-dipping” with JobSeeker, recipients can either get one or the other.
  • Employees with more than one employer may only be recorded for a JobKeeper payment through one employer
  • the measures will require legislation for which parliament will be recalled on a date to be determined after consultation with the Opposition

JobKeeper employer registration page

Coronavirus JobKeeper Fact Sheets and info

Treasury Fact
JobKeeper Payment — Information for employeesRestaurant & catering JobKeeper FAQs
Jobkeeper Payment — Information For EmployersPiper Alderman JobKeeper BasicsMEAA Fact Sheet

Expansion of Job Seeker partner income test

The income test on partner’s income of JobSeeker recipients is to be temporarily relaxed, allowing the JobSeeker and Coronavirus Supplement to continue where partner income is up to $3,068 per fortnight. The income test on individuals remains unchanged.

Coronavirus Measures Announced 22 March 2020

Jump to first announcement on 12 March 2020See also States’ payroll tax relief measures
Jump to third announcement on 30 March 2020

On 22 March 2020 the Treasurer announced a second round of measures primarily designed to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus.

The measures are temporary. Key measures from the package include:

  • Coronavirus Supplement of $550 per fortnight to be temporarily (for 6 months from 27 April 2020) paid to government income support recipients including Jobseekers (previously called Newstart), Youth Allowance, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.
  • An amendment to the enabling legislation (passed by parliament on 23 March 2020) extends the Coronavirus Supplement to full-time students on Youth Allowance, Austudy and Abstudy.
  • The Coronavirus Supplement income test is set at $1,075, which means that most of those already receiving reduced payments based on other income, will nevertheless still get the full Supplement.
  • For Jobseekers income support recipients, the assets test and waiting periods are waived.
  • from 13 July 2020 the issue of a second stimulus payment of $750 to be paid to social security and veteran income support recipients and eligible concession card holders, except for those eligible to receive the Coronavirus supplement. The first payment will be made from 31 March 2020 to people who have been receiving one of the eligible payments any time between 12 March 2020 and 13 April 2020.

Early Access to superannuation

Application can be made for early access to up to $10,000 of superannuation in 2019-20 (apply before 1 July 2020) and a further $10,000 in 2020-21 (apply before 24 September 2020).

The withdrawn amounts will be tax free and not affect entitlement to Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments. This is available for those who are eligible for the coronavirus supplement as well as sole traders who have seen their hours of work, or income, fall 20% or more as a result of the coronavirus.

Applications for superannuation release can be made online (via myGov) with a simple declaration to the Tax Office. The ATO has advised that after they receive a registration of interest, they will be in contact once applications open on 20 April 2020.
See further: Access to superannuation.

  • Minimum account based pension drawdown requirements to be halved for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 years.  See fact sheet 6

account based pension draw down percentages 2020 and 2021

  • Pension deeming rate to be reduced by a further 0.25% to minimum 0.25% and maximum 2.25% from 1 May 2020 (in addition to the reduction of 0.5% announced on 12 March 2020) See fact sheet 6

Cash for employers

SMEs and Not For Profit employers  with eligible turnover under $50 million are to get tax free payments automatically delivered by the Tax Office based on BAS information of wage and salary tax withheld to be delivered starting from 28 April 2020.

A measure first announced on 12 March 2020 offered 50% of tax withholdings for a minimum $2,000 up to a maximum of $25,000.

This second announcement (22 March 2020) increases that previous offer to 100% of the tax withheld for a minimum of benefit of $10,000 up to a maximum of $50,000 (from 28 April 2020).

From 28 July 2020 an additional cash payment matching the total of the previous payments will be issued, bringing the total payments to a minimum of $20,000, and a maximum of $100,000

  • Loans for SMEs (turnover under $50 million) bank loan guarantee scheme to enable small businesses to get access to unsecured interest free working capital loan funding of up to $250,000 for up to 3 years with no repayments for 6 months
  • Relaxation of insolvency laws, including an increase in the creditor petition threshold from $2,000 to $20,000 and an increase in the allowed response period from 21 days to 6 months

More information:

See media reports and resources: Bloomberg -|- -|- Govt media release -|- Treasury

First Announced Coronavirus Stimulus Measures 12 March 2020

Jump to second announcement on 22 March 2020See also States’ payroll tax relief measures
Jump to third announcement on 30 March 2020

On 12 March 2020 the Prime Minister and Treasurer announced a series of assistance measures in response to the currently deteriorating economic conditions.

The measures include:

  • from 12 March 2020 until 30 June 2020 an increase in the instant asset write off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 and to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of up to $500 million (previously $50 million).
  • from 12 March 2020 until 30 June 2021 accelerated depreciation for businesses with a turnover up to $500 million to allow an additional 50% of the asset cost as a deduction in the year of purchase. Existing depreciation rules will apply to the balance of the asset’s cost. This measure is an alternative to the instant asset concessions, not in addition.
  •  From $2,000 up to $25,000 tax free for eligible small and medium-sized businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million that employ staff between 1 January 2020 and 30 June 2020. Businesses will receive payments of 50% of their Business Activity Statements or Instalment Activity Statement from 28 April with refunds to then be paid within 14 days.
  • A wage subsidy for eligible employers of 50% per cent of an apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for up to 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. The subsidy will be transferable to a new employer that employs that apprentice.
  • a one-off tax free $750 payment to pensioners, social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. Around half of those that will benefit are pensioners. The payment will be tax free and will not count as income for Social Security, Farm Household Allowance and Veteran payments. Payments will be made from 31 March 2020 on a progressive basis, with over 90% expected to be completed by mid-April.

Those to receive the payment will recipients of the following benefits:

Age Pension
Disability Support Pension
Carer Payment
Carer Allowance
Parenting Payment
Wife Pension
Widow B Pension
ABSTUDY (Living Allowance)
Bereavement Allowance
Newstart Allowance
Youth Allowance
Partner Allowance
Sickness Allowance
Special Benefit
Widow Allowance
Farm Household Allowance
Family Tax Benefit A
Family Tax Benefit B
Double Orphan Pension
Veterans Service Pension
Veteran’s Income Support Supplement
Veterans’ Compensation payments
War Widow(er) Pension
and the following card-holders:
Pensioner Concession Card
Commonwealth Seniors Card
DVA Gold Card.

  • a 0.5 % reduction in both the upper and lower social security deeming rates
  • $1 billion allocated for other assistance to “severely-affected regions” including the waiver of fees, supply chain and export market assistance to businesses, and to domestic tourism.
  • deferral of tax payments for up to 4 months (similar to bushfire relief) on a case-by-case basis

More information:

See media reports and resources: -|- Guardian Aus -|- Govt media release -|- Treasury overview -|- Moore Stephens

State-by-state Payroll Tax Relief

See COVID-19 payroll tax relief details here.

Coronavirus Economic Response National Legislation

A legislation package of Bills was passed by the national parliament on 23 March 2020 to give effect to the above measures.

See The Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus Bill 2020 (and accompanying bills and explanatory memoranda).



This page was last modified 2020-04-01