COVID-19 Member Resources


We have collated a number of key links and information sources that may be of benefit for your business.  


In particular we note that the Federal and State Governments have made announcements that may help you during this time.

 

Relevant Government Articles:

Industry Impacts:

Business Tips:



Relevant Government Articles


$130 Billion Jobkeeper Payment to Keep Australians in a Job (30 March)

The Morrison Government will provide a historic wage subsidy to around 6 million workers who will receive a flat payment of $1,500 per fortnight through their employer, before tax.


The payment will be paid to employers, for up to six months, for each eligible employee that was on their books on 1 March 2020 and is retained or continues to be engaged by that employer.

Read the full Joint Press Release from the Prime Minister and the Federal Treasurer



JobKeeper Fact Sheets (31 March)


Government Update (30 March)

New Website providing regular updates from the government has been launched.

https://www.australia.gov.au/


Stay informed. Download the official government “Coronavirus Australia” app in the Apple App Store or Google Play, or join our WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android.

It is very important to note that we will be living with this virus for at least six months, and therefore our response must be sustainable in order to protect lives, keep Australia functioning, and save jobs.
  • Public gatherings, excluding household members, have been reduced to a maximum of two people. Check State and Territory websites for further enforcement information.
  • Everyone should stay home unless you are: shopping for essentials, receiving medical care, exercising or travelling to work or education. Read more.
  • People aged over 70, aged over 60 with pre-existing conditions, or Indigenous people aged over 50 should stay home wherever possible for their own protection.
  • Evictions will be put on hold for 6 months by the states and territories. Landlords and renters are encouraged to talk about short term agreements. More information to come this week.
  • The Government has announced a $130 billion JobKeeper Payment to keep more Australians in jobs and support businesses affected by the Coronavirus. Read more.
  • If you are in self-isolation because you are confirmed or suspected to have Coronavirus (COVID-19), or have been in close contact with a confirmed case, use this form to help us track the spread of the virus. Read more.
  • A safety net package of $1.1 billion has been announced by the Prime Minister to expand mental health and telehealth services, increase domestic violence services and provide more emergency food relief. Read more. 
  • All travellers returning home from overseas will be quarantined in a hotel or designated facility for 14 days. Read more.
  • Pubs, licensed clubs and hotels (excluding accommodation), gyms, skateparks, indoor sporting venues, cinemas, beauty salons, play centres and outside playgrounds, places of worship and other public places must be closed. There are restrictions on attendance at weddings, funerals and outdoor fitness classes.
  • Supermarkets and pharmacies remain open. Please check your State and Territory websites for full details.
If you believe that somebody is not complying with self-isolation rules or health orders, Crime Stoppers NSW is the best and most appropriate way to report any breaches. Crime Stoppers NSW can be contacted on 1800 333 000 or via their website by clicking here.


Read the government's Health Headline Measures Fact Sheet

  • Social Distancing Measures
  • Business Closures - Federal Statement
  • Restrictions to Indoor Gatherings - Federal Statement
  • Restrictions to Outdoor Gatherings - Federal Statement
  • Travel Restrictions 
  • Domestic Travel Restrictions
  • Self-Isolation Requirements
  • Declared Emergencies and Orders
  • Statements on Schools


Non-Urgent Elective Surgery

Non-urgent elective surgery will be temporarily suspended from midnight tonight. By cancelling certain elective surgeries, the National Cabinet is acting to preserve resources including protective equipment to help prepare public and private health services to prepare for their role in the COVID-19 outbreak.


Financial Stimulus

Both the Commonwealth and State Governments have stimulus packages in place in order to support jobs and businesses.

Information on Commonwealth business support, including boosting cash flow for employers, relief for financially distressed businesses, increases to the instant asset write-off, and support for apprentices and trainees can be found by clicking here, or by calling 13 28 46. 

Information on Commonwealth support for individuals and households, including income support, household support payments, early release of superannuation, reduction of superannuation minimum drawdown rates, and reduction in social security deeming rates can be found by clicking here.


Travel Update

The Commonwealth Government has implemented a ‘do not travel’ ban on Australians travelling overseas under the Biosecurity Act 2015. This will help avoid travellers returning to Australia with coronavirus and the risks of spreading coronavirus to other countries.


Access the full Economic Response to the Coronavirus by the Australian Government




Cash Flow Assistance for Businesses

This assistance will assist businesses to manage cashflow challenges and help businesses retain their employees. These two measures are designed to support employing small and medium sized businesses and to improve business confidence.


The Government is providing up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium sized businesses, and not-forprofits (including charities) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000. These payments will help businesses’ and not-for-profits’ cash flow so they can keep operating, pay their rent, electricity and other bills and retain staff. 


Read the Boosting Cash Flow Business Fact Sheet





NSW Construction Sites Exempted from Closures

NSW's critical infrastructure program moving ahead
In a letter to the industry, the Hon. Dominic Perrottet MP assures the construction and engineering sectors in NSW that the Government is resolved to continue delivery of its infrastructure program.

He has communicated to the industry that NSW construction sites will be exempted from the closure of places where people gather.

Click here to read his letter to industry

 





COVID-19: Advice for Employers from Safe Work Australia

Australia is continuing to closely monitor an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19).  On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic (an infectious disease outbreak that spreads on a global scale). 


Increasing cases of COVID-19 are now being confirmed in Australia. The situation is changing rapidly. You can access the latest information on COVID-19 from the Australian Government Department of Health.

Safe Work Australia's Coronavirus (COVID-19): Advice for Employers Content

  • Background on COVID-19
  • Managing the risks from COVID-19
  • The model Work Health and Safety Laws
  • What should a PCBU do to protect workers and others at a workplace?
  • Do I have to consult my workers about measures I put in place to minimise the risk of COVID-19?
  • What are my privacy obligations to workers?
  • What should an employer do if they cannot get supplies of real perceived necessities (e.g. hand sanitiser, masks)?
  • Do workers need to wear surgical masks?
  • My workers may come into close contact with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19.
  • Should the workers use personal protective equipment (PPE)?
  • When can a PCBU direct a worker to stay away from their usual place of work under the model WHS laws?
  • What else should a PCBU take into account when deciding whether a worker or other people need to stay away from their usual place of work?
  • What are the WHS risks an employer should consider if workers are working from home?




Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws from Fair Work Ombusdman

Find out about your workplace entitlements and obligations if you're affected by the outbreak of coronavirus (also referred to as COVID-19).


Industry Impacts


ACIF Construction News Brief 31 March 

  • 'Game changer': Businesses told to rehire after $130 billion wage subsidy
  • Social Distancing Is A Must on Building Sites
  • Employer or employee, here's what the Government's JobKeeper program means for you
  • New COVID-19 construction guidelines for Victoria
  • South Australia fast tracks $120M of construction projects
  • How we can re-build our economy after COVID-19 through social procurement and
    construction
  • AR and VR Will Transform Construction

Click to read the ACIF Construction News Brief 



Clerks Award flexibility during outbreak of Coronavirus (28 March)


On 28 March 2020, the Fair Work Commission (the Commission) made a determination varying the Clerks Award. The determination inserted a temporary new Schedule, which applies from an employee’s first full pay period on or after 28 March until 30 June 2020. Schedule I adds award flexibility during the outbreak of coronavirus for:
  • employees’ classifications and duties 
  • minimum engagement/pay for part-time and casual employees 
  • span of hours changes while working at home 
  • full-time and part-time employees' hours of work 
  • directions to take annual leave

For more information, see Clerks Award flexibility during outbreak of coronavirus.


Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws

If your workplace has been impacted by coronavirus, we have information about your workplace rights and obligations. This includes:

  • if an employer needs to stand down their employees or reduce their working hours 
  • if an employee or their family member is sick with coronavirus 
  • if an employee is stuck overseas or is required to be quarantined or to self-isolate

For more information, see Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws.






Landmark COVID-19 awards deal struck: ACCI Media Release

27 March 2020 
A landmark deal has been struck between the Australian Services Union and the Australian
Chamber of Commerce and Industry. An application has been lodged to provide relief to business and employees during the pandemic by:

  • Allowing employees and employers to agree to change ordinary hours of work whilst an employee is working at home. This should give employees expended options to help manage their job around things like schooling children from home during the day without an employer facing additional costs for work being conducted out of usual business hours.   
  • Allowing a business with one weeks’ notice to direct an employee to take annual leave if it decides to close-down its operations.
  • Allowing staff to work more flexibly across classifications, provided it is safe to do so and the employee has the necessary qualifications.
  • Allowing for employers to direct employees to take annual leave
  • Increased flexibility in taking leave such as double leave at half-pay, where employers and employees agree.
  • Allowing employers to engage casual and part-time employees for shorter shifts.
  • Giving employers flexibility to reduce hours for full and part-time staff, whilst allowing employees whose hours are reduced to take on another job or ask to engage in training or additional study.




Breaking News: Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI)

20th March 2020, 4:50 pm

  • The Federal Budget will be delayed until October 6
  • Mandatory: only 1 person per 4sqm inside - 25 people in a 100sqm room
  • Strong Advice against interstate travel 
  • Plans to lock down public areas next week
  • No travel to indigenous communities
  • $444 million for the aged sector on top of $100 million announced previously
  • Parliament will only sit for one day next week - Monday
  • California and its 40 million residents are in complete lockdown
  • Labor proposing stimulus amendments with extra for casuals
  • Former ACTU secretary and ex-Labor Minister Greg Combet appointed special adviser to the PM on impacts to Australian workplaces, and assistance to employees
  • NAPLAN has been axed this year




ACCI: COVID-19 Member Updates

22 March 2020 - Member Update

Our Chief Economist Ross Lambie and I raised ACCI member concerns and issues at this afternoon’s meeting with the Treasury Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit, chaired by Dr Gordon de Brouwer.  We meet with them, alongside other peak business groups and senior government officials, every second day and after major government announcements.  

We fully support the federal government’s priority on the health and security of all Australians and applaud the efforts that governments are taking to try to ensure the economy keeps working too – in other words “lives and livelihoods”. 

We are lobbying for a more clear and inclusive definition of industries that are “essential” for the economy and we need a more consistent approach by federal and state and territory governments. This is critical as it determines if, and how, particular industries, and businesses within them, can or can’t operate in different parts of the country. That has a direct impact on the supply chains that our community, businesses and jobs depend on. 

We need more information too about the impact and detail of border closures being announced by state and territory governments – again, inconsistencies create uncertainty for businesses that are already under pressure. 

We also want to ensure that government uses the range of tools at its disposal, including its purchasing power, to support Australian business and the jobs that depend on them.

These are trying times for all of us. Thank you to our members for keeping us up to date with your issues and supporting our efforts to support you.

James Pearson 


17 March 2020 - Member Update
ACCI will provide updates on COVID-19 at least twice a week, replacing our regular weekly Insights until further notice.

Since our last update, James has engaged with the Minister for Small Business and senior advisers to the Prime Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Industry and Minister for Industrial Relations. Meanwhile, our ACCI policy Directors continue to speak daily with advisers in Ministerial and Departmental offices in each portfolio -– Economic and industry, Skills, Tourism, Trade, WHS and Workplace Relations

We continue to lobby on the impact of COVID-19 on business operations and jobs, supply and demand constraints, travel and mass gathering restrictions, and the need for further stimulus to support businesses, industry sectors and the broader economy.

On 17 March, Chief Economist Ross Lambie and James Pearson will meet with Gordon de Brouwer, who was announced on Sunday as head of the Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit (CBLU) in Treasury. Dr de Brouwer has already stressed the importance of the CBLU receiving solid evidence from ACCI and its network  in order to inform further policy measures.  

We need you to send us industry data, issues, response options and queries so we can brief Government and advocate in real-time. Key contacts in ACCI secretariat are:

  • Stimulus package, trade, supply chain and tourism queries or information please direct to Bryan Clark.
  • Health (gathering restrictions, premise closures, self-isolation) or workplace management queries or information please direct to Jennifer Low. 
Economic Analysis
The Reserve Bank is actively providing liquidity to markets, through bond repurchase operations and stands ready to provide addition liquidity through outright purchases of Australian government bonds. The bank will announce further policy measures to support the economy on Thursday. 


ACCI welcomes initiatives by State and Territory governments, including the NSW Government’s $2.3 billion health and economic stimulus package announced today.  We’ll continue to work closely with State and Territory Chambers to ensure Federal support compliments the existing range of support and stimulus measures across the States and Territories.


Apprenticeship Support Package
As part of the Government’s stimulus package, $1.3 billion was allocated to support apprenticeship and trainee employment, reflecting a measure that ACCI lobbied for. ACCI met with the Department of Education, Skills and Employment on Friday and prepared a summary of details on the scheme. 



Banks Pause Small Business Loan Repayments (20 March 2020)

The Australian Banking Association announced Australian banks will defer loan repayments for small businesses affected by COVID-19 for six months.  

 
The assistance will apply to more than $100bn of existing small business loans. ACCI applauds the move after repeatedly lobbying for loan assistance for small businesses. 
 
Today’s announcement will make a big difference for the hundreds of thousands of businesses we represent and the people whose jobs depend on them. 
 
The ABA is urging business chambers and industry associations to help inform small businesses. This is the time for people in business to call their bank and ask for help. 
 
In the meantime, ACCI continues to lobby for a raft of other measures to support Australian small businesses, including putting cash in the hand of small business owners and employees facing uncertain futures. 


Bank, Phone Number & Website  

For more information:
Marie Hogg - 0431 299 518 



Coronavirus and the Australian Property Market


CoreLogic Property Pulse 18 March 2020

Amid the spread of coronavirus, the past few weeks have seen increased expectations of an Australian recession, a slowdown in business activity and trillions of dollars wiped off global share markets. 

It has many asking what the impact of the coronavirus would be on Australian residential property. 

This CoreLogic article explores the fundamentals of housing to better understand outcomes in the current climate. 

  • Housing has performed relatively well against negative economic shocks, but the unique conditions of a pandemicinduced economic slowdown must be considered; 
  • Housing is an illiquid asset and a consumption good, which shows far less volatility and decline than share markets;
  • In the coming weeks, property transactions may fall significantly, but the impact on values is unclear; and, 
  • Existing economic headwinds, including high household debt, make the property market particularly susceptible to a fall in demand. However, Australia does not have ‘one’ property market, and a decline in demand will be tempered by the composition of the local workforce, and the state of household finances. 

Read the Full Article



COVID-19: Guidance for eConveyancing and VOI

20 March 2020

Over recent days in light of the rapidly evolving situation around the outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus, the Office of the Registrar General is are aware that many of you cannot or are choosing not to conduct a face-to-face VOI. ARNECC has provided guidance on this and is available here.


The ARNECC statement suggests that a CAF may be electronically signed, depending on whether your jurisdiction allows for this.

Read the Full Article


Business Tips


National Helpline for Businesses impacted by COVID-19


13 28 46 - Contact Centre 

The Government’s business hotline will give more support to small and medium businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with specialist advisers and extended support hours. 


Operation hours: seven days per week, answering calls from 7am to 11pm AEST.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Live Updated Metrics in Australia & the World
Click on the links below for updated metrics on confirmed cases of COVID-19





Association of Consulting Surveyors COVID-19 Business Templates: Epidemic/Pandemic Policy and Working from Home Checklist


ACS has developed a few COVID-19 business templates that may be of benefit to your organisation. 


ACCI: COVID-19 Employer Guide

The focus of the COVID-19 Employer Guide is on managing and protecting your employees and your workplace and answering some of the workplace relations and work health and safety (WHS) questions that are coming up for employer.


Download the COVID-19 Employer Guide



15 Key Learnings on How to Manage and Lead during Coronavirus Crisis


Insights from around the CEO CircleOur Circle meetings over the past few days have been entirely about how to manage the unfolding Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.  


None of us has ever seen anything like this. It is genuinely daunting on so many fronts. As is understandable, the mood of the meetings has been downbeat, even grim at times.  


However, there is also a determination to rise to the challenge and provide leadership in these troubled times.


Here are 15 of the critical learnings gathered from our most recent Circle meetings. We hope these learnings offer some assistance and guidance to you. 



Avoid the C.R.A.S.H. - 5 Steps to Recession-Proof Your Business


Like you, we are receiving lots of information and advice about how to cope with the current crisis and this one I thought would be most helpful for you. 


Doom and Gloom or Boom Boom Boom?

If tomorrow’s headlines screamed of disaster and consumer sentiment fell through the floor, what would happen to your business?


Would you be worried or optimistic about the opportunities that were about to present themselves? Or worried about whether you would survive the C.R.A.S.H.?

This guide has been designed to help you prepare for worst case scenario even if it never happens.

Download the Avoid the C.R.A.S.H guide and learn the 5 steps to recession-proof your business. 
  • C - Cash buffer
  • R - Reducing costs
  • A - Assets and automation
  • S - Stand out
  • H - Get help

Not only will this guide help shield you when things go bad, it will give you a competitive edge when things are going well.


Special thanks to the team at DENT for this info!



Australian Cyber Security Centre Alert


What's Happened?

ASD’s Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) is aware of a COVID-19 themed scam being distributed via text message.
 
We understand the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)’s Scamwatch has received multiple reports of COVID-19 themed scam texts being sent to members of the public.
 
The text messages appear to come from ‘GOV’ as the sender and they include a link to find out when to ‘get tested in your geographical area’ for COVID-19.
 
The link in these text messages is not legitimate, and if clicked on, may install malicious software on your device, designed to steal your banking details.


How do I stay safe?
If you receive one of these messages, delete the message and do not click the link. 
 
Messages that pretend to be government and other trusted organisations are known as phishing scams. They often contain a link to a fake website, where you are encouraged to enter confidential details.
 
To protect yourself from phishing: 
  • Remember, Australian Government agencies will never send you text messages containing web-links.
  • Before you click a link, hover over that link to see the actual web address it will take you to (usually shown at the bottom of the browser window). If you do not recognise or trust the address, try searching for relevant key terms in a web browser. This way you can find the article, video or webpage without directly clicking on the suspicious link.
  • If you're not sure, talk through the suspicious message with a friend or family member, or check its legitimacy by contacting the relevant business or organisation (using contact details sourced from the official company website).If you’ve received one of these messages and you’ve clicked on the link, or you’re concerned your personal details have been compromised, contact your financial institution immediately.
If you’ve suffered financial loss from cybercrime, report it to ReportCyber.
 
To stay up to date on the latest online threats and how to respond, sign up to the Stay Smart Online Alert Service.



7 Tips for Successfully Managing Remote Teams

 
These tips from Inc.com's Technology Columnist @jasonaten will help you and your team be productive regardless of where they work.

Right now, remote working--or, working from home--has become more than a trend. It's now a necessity for companies all across the globe.

As a result, there are thousands of team leaders and managers who find themselves suddenly managing a completely remote team. Honestly, that can be scary, especially if it's the first time you've ever had to do so and didn't have a lot of time to prepare.

If that's you, this list of tips will help you set up yourself and your team for success:

  1. Have a Daily Check-In
  2. Communicate a Lot
  3. Take Advantage of Technology
  4. Manage Expectations
  5. Focus on Outcomes, Not Activity
  6. Resource Your Team
  7. Be Flexible

Read the Full Article




Thoughts for Leaders and Managers from Table Group


In this unprecedented and uncertain time, many leaders and managers are wondering what they can do to help the people in their charge. To a certain extent, this will depend on the situation.

Some leaders are still working with their people in person, either because they are in a location where businesses are still open, or because they work in one of those industries that are critical and must continue to function during this time.

For leaders like me in northern California, I cannot even be in the same room with my people as we are limited to staying in our homes with our families. In the course of the next few days, I would guess that most cities and states will shut down like we’ve done here, leaving people to interact only virtually with their team members.

Regardless of your situation, I offer these three simple recommendations...

  • First, be exceedingly human
  • Second, be persistent
  • Finally, be creative
Download the Full Article



5 (Practical) Cs for Leading in a Crisis/Downturn


Here are 5 actions to take as leader.  The first is THE most important – do the rest in whatever order makes sense.
  1. Communicate Daily - Send out a Daily Communication
  2. Customer/Community Support - Gather teams, brainstorm and act on how to support our customers and community
  3. Clean Up and Catch Up - Use this slowdown to clean up and catch up after running hard for so many years
  4. Cash, Cash, Cash - Review all monthly recurring expenses and eliminate redundancies
  5. Calm and considerate - Stay calm and breathe, take a few breaths and give thanks for being alive
Download the Full Article