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31 March 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advisory
Free online mental health program.
Latest in government support.

In this edition

As ever, please do contact us if there is anything we can help you with – Andrea on admin@bussa.asn.au or Lauran on lhuefner@bussa.asn.au.

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$1 online mental health program

Many of us are understandably anxious, stressed and fearful about the impacts of coronavirus and what it brings. The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) has reduced its online mental health support program from $320 to 'pay what you feel'. If you’re suffering, please get onto the Be Well Plan at www.bewellplan.com.

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JobKeeper Payment

The JobKeeper Payment is a temporary scheme open to businesses impacted by the Coronavirus.

If eligible, your business can access a subsidy to continue paying employees. It is intended to help you keep people in their jobs and re-start your business when the crisis is over. For employees, this means they can keep their job and earn an income – even if their hours have been cut.

The Government will provide $1,500 per fortnight per employee for up to 6 months.

Eligible businesses are those whose turnover had reduced by:

  • more than 30 per cent if they have a turnover of less than $1 billion
  • more than 50 per cent if they have a turnover of more than $1 billion
  • and the business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy

How to register

You must elect to participate in the scheme. You need to:

  • apply to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
  • provide supporting information demonstrating a downturn in your business
  • report the number of eligible employees you employ on a monthly basis

They payment is for each eligible employee that was on your books on 1 March 2020 and who is still engaged by you – including full-time, part-time, long-term casuals and stood down employees.

To find out more about how the payment works, please see the factsheet JobKeeper Payment – information for employers.

If your employees ask you for information about the payment, you can direct them to the factsheet JobKeeper Payment – information for employees.

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Early access to superannuation

If you or a family member are eligible, you can apply online through myGov to access up to $10,000 of your superannuation before 1 July 2020.

You will also be able to access up to a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020 until 24 September 2020.

Eligibility

To apply for early release you must satisfy any one or more of the following requirements:

  • you are unemployed; or
  • you are eligible to receive a job seeker payment, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment (which includes the single and partnered payments), special benefit or farm household allowance; or
  • on or after 1 January 2020 you were made redundant or your working hours were reduced by 20 per cent or more.

People accessing their superannuation will not need to pay tax on amounts released and the money they withdraw will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

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Australian Tax Office (ATO) administrative relief

The ATO will provide administrative relief for certain tax obligations for taxpayers affected by the Coronavirus outbreak, on a case-by-case basis. This includes:

  • the ability to defer payment of certain taxes up to six months
  • allowing businesses to vary pay as you go instalment amounts to zero for the March 2020 quarter
  • business that vary to zero can claim a refund for any instalments made for the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters

All taxpayers affected by the Coronavirus outbreak can contact the ATO for assistance.

Taxpayers can contact the ATO on 1800 806 218 or visit the ATO website for further information at www.ato.gov.au.

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Other information and support

Employer

Financial

  • Banks across Australia are providing different support services for businesses suffering financial hardship. Click here for more information and contact details.

Workplace hygiene and best practice behaviour

Links to useful public health or COVID-19 information

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Where to get support

It is extremely important to seek out help if you feel you need it.

  • Be Well Plan at www.bewellplan.com
  • Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
  • Lifeline text 0477 13 11 14 (6pm – midnight, 7 nights a week)
  • Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, or beyondblue.org.au
  • Regional Access Program (country areas, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) on 1300 032 186, or saregionalaccess.org.au
  • Lived Experience Telephone Support Service (LETSS) (a peer mental health support line, 5pm – 11:30 pm) on 1800 013 755, or letss.org.au
For people under 25 years of age
  • Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or kidshelpline.com.au
  • Youth Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636
  • eheadspace on 1800 650 890

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