Weekly Digest – 29 September 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

We’re thinking of everyone affected by lockdowns around the country and encourage you to reach out if you have any questions about your business during this time. Read on for assistance that may be available to you.

Australia Post Pauses Melbourne Parcels

Australia Post announced that parcel pickups, collections, and business lodgements would be paused in Melbourne for five days from Friday because of COVID-19 backlogs. Australia Post had already paused collections from retailers in NSW, the ACT and Victoria for three days earlier this month, to clear a record backlog of parcels.

Supply chains are facing challenges as the Maritime Union of Australia escalated industrial action across Sydney and Melbourne ports, and the Fair Work Commission allowed StarTrack drivers to strike for 24 hours amid a stand-off with owner Australia Post.

Sydney’s Lockdown to End Sooner for Vaccinated People

Authorities announced plans to gradually reopen locked-down Sydney, unveiling a two-tiered system that will give vaccinated citizens more freedoms for several weeks. Movement restrictions across New South Wales will be lifted gradually between 11 October and 1 December as vaccination rates push through 70%, 80%, and 90%.

Meanwhile, those who are not fully vaccinated will not be permitted to resume community sports, dining out, shopping, and other activities until the final date.

Rapid Antigen Test Kits Available from 1 November

From 1 November, you can start testing yourself for COVID-19 at home with a rapid antigen test kit. The rapid antigen tests are now finally set to secure approval and could be on sale soon at pharmacies and convenience stores in the country.

Disaster Payments to Be Scaled Back

The COVID-19 Disaster Payment which gives $750 a week to people who have lost at least 20 hours of work, and $450 a week to those who have lost between eight and 20 hours, will be wound back as each state and territory hits the 70% and 80% target vaccination rates for those aged 16 years old and above.

At 70% fully vaccinated, people will have to reapply each week for the payment, instead of it being automatically renewed. Meanwhile, at 80%, the payment will be phased out entirely within two weeks.

Support for Apprentices to be Expanded

The $3.9 billion Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program will extend support into the second and third year of an eligible Australian Apprenticeship through the $716 million Completing Apprenticeship Commencements program.

From October, eligible employers will receive a 10% wage subsidy in the second year of an eligible apprenticeship, and 5% in the third year. The government’s investment is expected to continue to support the 270,000 anticipated commencements under the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program from October 2020 to March 2022.

COVID-19 Government Support By State and Industry

Small businesses that are currently suffering from lockdowns can get financial assistance to help them get through the pandemic. You can find the latest government support schemes for each state or territory here.

The impacts of the COVID-19 restrictions vary from one industry to another. Here you’ll find the latest government financial assistance available for particular industries.

Cash Grants for Tourism and Hospitality Businesses in SA

Hundreds of local tourism and hospitality businesses in South Australia have already started receiving new $3,000 and $1,000 cash grants, as part of a joint Federal-State Government small business support package. You can find more information about support grants in South Australia here.

NSW Grants

The NSW Government will be offering financial support to businesses or not-for-profit organisations impacted by the recent COVID-19 restrictions and stay-at-home orders.

NSW: Micro-business grant

The micro-business grant is a $1500 fortnightly payment for businesses with a turnover between $30,000 and $75,000.

To check your eligibility and apply, visit the Service NSW website.

COVID-19 Business Grant

A one-off payment to help businesses, sole traders or not-for-profit organisations impacted by the current Greater Sydney COVID-19 restrictions.

Grants between $7,500 and $15,000 are available to eligible businesses depending on the decline in turnover experienced during the restrictions. For eligibility criteria and to apply, visit the Service NSW website.

ATO support for those affected by COVID-19 restrictions or disasters

The ATO has a range of support options to help those affected by disasters or those experiencing challenges due to continuing COVID-19 restrictions.

The ATO may be able to:

  • prioritise any refunds owed to you
  • set up a payment plan tailored to your individual situation
  • remit penalties or interest charged during the time you have been affected.

If you need help to manage your tax or superannuation obligations, please get in touch with us.

JobMaker Hiring Credit

Eligible employers can access the JobMaker Hiring Credit for each eligible additional employee they hire between 7 October 2020 and 6 October 2021. You may be able to claim the following payments:

  • up to $10,400 over a year for each additional eligible employee aged 16 to 29 years
  • up to $5,200 over a year for each additional eligible employee aged 30 to 35 years

Register before the due date of the first JobMaker period you’re claiming for.

Five Strategies to Gain Market Share

New businesses may find it extremely challenging to increase their market share. The success of your efforts depends on your decisions and other factors that vary from one industry to another. However, this Forbes article shares five strategies that will help you gain a bigger market share no matter what sector you’re in:

  • Define your brand. Create a recognizable brand identity to distinguish your company from others.
  • Study the competition. Dissect the market you’re about to enter and own up to determining what your direct competitors do better that you currently do.
  • Target your market. Dive deeper into defining your existing and ideal customers so you can market your business more effectively.
  • Be innovative, yet flexible. Find the right balance between sticking with what makes your services unique, while still being willing to adapt to necessary changes.
  • Connect with your customers. Directly engage with your customers to acquire feedback and assess their needs.

Need more focused business advice? Get in touch with our advisors today and let’s chat about your specific situation.

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