As the brewing industry faces an unprecedented challenge in the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping up with the various Federal, State and Local initiatives that can help your business is getting harder.
Brews News has put together a resource page covering everything from HR to excise relief, investment support, online sales guides and health and wellbeing. To let us know about others, or if you would like any other information, please contact us at [email protected].
Commercial rent relief
The Federal Government launched a mandatory code of conduct, which sets out rent reductions in rent payable in the form of waivers and deferrals based on the tenant’s decline in turnover.
It says this arrangement will allow landlords and tenants to share the burden, and arrange tailored agreements to take into account particular circumstances. It stipulates that landlords must not terminate leases due to non-payment in the crisis period or for reasonable time afterwards.
The relief is aimed at small-medium sized business with annual turnover of up to $50 million, which are also eligible for the JobKeeper programme. The Rental Relief Policy includes a requirement for these businesses to continue to engage employees through this scheme, and where applicable provide rent relief to subtenants.
Rental waivers must constitute no less than 50% of the total reduction in rent payable, and payment of rental deferrals by the tenant must be amortised over the balance of the lease term and for a period of no less than 24 months.
The government also said that it expects Australian and foreign banks and other financial institutions to support landlords an tenants with “appropriate flexibility”.
If your business has been significantly impacted by the Coronavirus you will be able to access a wages subsidy to continue paying your employees. Under the JobKeeper program, you will be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum of six months. This assistance will help you keep staff and will help you restart when the crisis is over. Fact sheet.
Register your business for information about the JobKeeper payment.
National COVID-19 Coordination Commission
The government has officially launched the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission, with its first order of business working with industries to help supply essential products.
ACCC small business advice
The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission has released a Q&A with advice for small businesses, focusing on what to do if you need to cancel an event, and what are your right and obligations when it comes to supply disruption.
Tax-free cash flow boost for employers
As part of its attempts to help small and medium businesses maintain cash flow levels, the Federal Government has said it will provide up to $100,000 to eligible small businesses.
It is offering a minimum payment of $20,000, to help ensure businesses can keep operating, pay their rent, electricity and other bills as well as retain staff.
Businesses with aggregated annual turnover of under $50 million than employ people are eligible.
Government relief for distressed businesses
The Federal Government as implemented a raft of measures to help businesses which would otherwise be profitable but are facing temporary financial distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The measures include temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company, and the time companies are given to respond to a demand they receive.
It also includes temporary relief for directors from personal liability for trading while insolvent, and allows a more flexible interpretation of the Corporations Act 2001 to provide targeted relief to businesses faced with unforeseen events that could arise as a result of the pandemic.
The ATO will tailor solutions for owners and directors currently struggling due to the effects of the virus, such as temporary reduction of payments or deferrals, withholding enforcement actions including penalty notices and wind ups.
Federal Government investment incentives
The Federal Government is introducing a time-limited 15-month investment incentive, where 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.
The Government says it will support business investment and economic growth in the short term, by accelerating depreciation deductions.
It says the measure will support over 3.5 million businesses employing more than 9.7 million employees.
Trainee funding support
Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of up to 50 per cent for apprentices and trainees, which may be useful for junior brewers and packaging or production operatives.
As part of the Federal Government’s stimulus package, employers can get the subsidy for their trainee’s wages for 9 months from 1st January 2020 to 30th September 2020.
Support will also be provided to the National Apprentice Employment Network to co-ordinate the re-employment of displaced apprentices and trainees throughout their network of host employers across Australia.
This measure will support up to 70,000 small businesses, employing around 117,000 apprentices, the Federal Government has said.
ATO assistance – excise deferment
The ATO will tailor solutions for owners or directors of business that are currently struggling due to the Coronavirus, including deferring payments, varying amounts and refunding past instalments, withholding enforcement actions including director penalty notices and wind-ups.
This also includes the deferment of excise payment due dates up to 12th September 2020.
The ATO has acknowledged that many states and territories are relaxing their liquor licensing regulations and is following suit. From 23rd March until 20th June, it will not take compliance action on:
1. Where closed alcohol service venues are in possession of duty-paid kegged beer which they repackage and sell in sealed containers (such as growlers).
2. Where alcohol service venues use duty-paid alcoholic beverages to make ‘cocktails’ for takeaway sale in sealed containers.
For more information or to get help, call the ATO on 1800 806 218 or visit the ATO website for more information.
Retailer Rent Negotiations
The ACCC has given the Australian Retailers Association interim authorisation on behalf of itself and its current and future members to collectively negotiate with landlords regarding the support to be provided to retail tenants who are adversely impacted by COVID-19.
Victoria’s $500m Business Support Fund
The $500 million Business Support Fund announced by the Victoria Government as part of its $1.7 billion economic stimulus package will support hospitality, tourism, accommodation, arts and entertainment, and retail industries.
These have been identified as the hardest hit by the current crisis, which may not be eligible for payroll tax refunds due to their size.
The government will work with the Victorian Chamber, Australian Hotels Association and Ai Group to administer the fund.
Victorian Chamber of Commerce
The Victorian Chamber of Commerce has launched a help page for all businesses in the state. It includes a downloadable guide to managing your business during the COVID-19 pandemic, including employer responsibilities to staff and help with scaling down operations.
The Victorian Government is relaxing its rules around deliveries and permitting 24-hour dispatch and delivery during the current State of Emergency and for three months after.
The exemption applies to the dispatch and delivery of goods including food, drink, groceries, medicine and cleaning and personal protection products.
Victorian businesses can access information on dealing with COVID-19 by calling the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15.
New South Wales
$10,000 fast relief grants
Struggling small businesses will be able to receive grants of up to $10,000 under a new assistance scheme announced today by Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
To be eligible, businesses will need to:
– have between 1-19 employees and a turnover of more than $75,000
– a payroll below the NSW Government 2019-20 payroll tax threshold of $900,000
– have an Australian Business Number as at 1 March 2020, be based in NSW and employ staff as at 1 March 2020
– be highly impacted by the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 issued on 30 March 2020
– use the funding for unavoidable business costs such as utilities, overheads, legal costs and financial advice
– provide appropriate documentation upon application.
Forms will be available here from 17th April.
The NSW SafeWork page has been set up to help employers understand their obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 in relation to management of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Liquor licence waivers
The NSW Government is waiving a range of liquor licence fees for 12 months, from 2020-21, including for small bars, microbreweries and small distillieries.
All liquor licences will be eligible, except for packaged liquor licence applications where four or more outlets are owned by the same licensee or business.
The Queensland Government has launched an initiative providing electricity relief for homes and small businesses.
The $100 million Power Bill Relief package for small and medium business enterprises, will allow a $500 rebate off energy bills.
Liquor licensing for takeaways/growlers
The Queensland Government allows those with producer/wholesaler licences such as breweries and distilleries to sell take-home liquor produced on their licensed premises. However it does not permit the refilling of growlers, squealers etc belonging to the customer. Officially, only new growlers from the brewery can be sold, in the same way as packaged alcohol.
Jobs Support Loan Scheme
The state government has secured $500 million in additional funding for its 12-month interest-free loans for COVID-19 affected businesses, double the initial commitment. Loans of up to $250,000 are available. The government said that 86 per cent of loans recipients so far had fallen below the $1.3 million wage bill threshold.
Queensland Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation
The liquor regulators in Queensland have put together a series of links to help businesses looking to reopen in the coming months including:
Common industry Q&As for Stage 1
How you can currently trade (by licence type)
Mandatory COVID Safe checklist
To pre-register for COVID Safe training
Latest CHO Health Direction (Friday 15 May) and accompanying Q&A document
WA’s Small Business Development Corporation has created a COVID-19 assistance centre with information on available stimulus packages and eligibility requirements, advice on preparing businesses to manage impacts.
To access the service, contact 133 140 (8.30am to 4.30pm weekdays) or email [email protected]
As part of its $502 million package for small and medium businesses, the Western Australian State Government has said that electricity bills for 95,000 small businesses will be reduced, with a one-off $2,500 credit available for Synergy and Horizon customers. However this will only be available for tose who use less than 50MWh per year.
A reported $236.8 million will go towards this measure. Existing customers will receive their credit as of Tuesday 31st March, and will be allocated from 1st May to reduce current and future electricity bills, the state government said.
No small businesses facing financial difficulty due to COVID-19 will face power or water disconnections due to late payments, it confirmed, and no interest will be charged on deferred bill payments.
The state government has also earmarked $100.4 million to enable it to waive a wide range of licence fees for small and medium‑sized businesses in COVID-19 impacted industries for the next 12 months.
Liquor licence renewal fees for 2020 will be waived and refunds provided for businesses that have already paid, benefitting around 5,500 businesses with a liquor licence.
Businesses impacted by COVID-19 can also apply for an interest-free payment arrangement and for late payment penalties to be waived for payroll tax, transfer duty, landholder duty, vehicle licence duty or land tax.
$300 million Business and Jobs Support Fund
The SA government has launched its Business and Jobs Support fund as part of its relief package, with the aim of supporting individual businesses and industry sectors directly affected by coronavirus which face potential collapse as a result.
For more information on how to apply to the funds, email: [email protected]
Australian Capital Territory
Six-month payroll tax waiver
Cafes, pubs, hotels, clubs and restaurants as well as creative arts and entertainment industries will receive a six-month waiver of payroll tax from March to August 2020.
Businesses will need to complete an online application form which can be found here.
On-licence liquor licencing fee waiver
As part of its economic stimulus package, licensed venues will recieve a 12-month waiver of their food business registration and on-licence liquor licensing fees from 1st April 2020. Outdoor dining fees for 2020-21 will also be waived.
Businesses do not need to contact Access Canberra or the Health Protection Service for this waiver to occur, as this support will be applied automatically.
This waiver does not apply to off-licence venues.
Business Liason Helpline
The ACT government has set up a business liaison phone line to help businesses access the support available to them through the ACT Economic Survival Package and provide practical advice for businesses operating in the challenging environment COVID-19 has created.
The number businesses can call is: 6205 0900
Business Improvement Grants
As part of the Territory Government’s Jobs Rescue and Recovery plan in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
All Territory businesses will be able to access a $10,000 grant, as part of the $20 million fund. Applications will be open from 13th April 2020.
Small Business Survival Grants
The Northern Territory’s Small Business Survival Fund is a $50 million initiative to help small Territory businesses survive the physical distancing requirements in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Small Business Emergency Support Grant
The Tasmanian government has launched grants of $2,500 for small businesses which have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
To assist affected small businesses in the identified severely impacted industries, grants of $2 500 are available through the Department of State Growth as one off emergency support payments.
Small Business Hardship Grant
Grants of $15 000 are being made available for businesses in severely affected industries. Businesses seeking this large grant should first apply for the Small Business Emergency Support Grant, however successful application for the smaller grant does not guarantee approval for the Hardship Grant. Further details of the grant will be released shortly.
Business support loan scheme
Loans from $20 000 up to $250 000 are now available to assist eligible businesses to ensure their continuity, viability and sustainability during the crisis.
To apply, the government says:
One-off grants of up to $750 are available through the Business Continuity Grant.
Business vehicle registration relief
Business vehicle registration savings and deferrals are now available.
When sending alcohol in the post, don’t forget your RSA. Deliveries of alcohol products should be handed over directly to a person over the age of 18 years of age, who is not intoxicated.
Sendle is a small business parcel delivery service, which may be an option for smaller breweries with packaged product to send locally, if other delivery options aren’t available. It has free pick up options and flat rates depending on your account.
Australia Post has its own business parcel delivery service. Getting a MyPost Business account allows you to send multiple items, book parcel pickups and get discounts when you send a certain number of eligible parcels.
Shopify is an e-commerce platform that allows small businesses to sell their products online without having to develop their own online shop, which can be a lengthy and expensive process.
For a monthly fee you get access to an admin panel where you can enter store data, add products, and process orders.
Online sales guidelines
Retail Drinks Australia, a national industry body that represents the interests of Australia’s packaged retail liquor stores, has a code of conduct for those getting into online retail and delivery, with best practice and updates on how to deliver with social distancing and hygiene in mind.
How to set up an online store in one week
London-based brewer Crate Brewery provides a 7-step plan on how breweries can set up an online story in under a week, including info on connecting finances and shipping.
Major bottleshops across the country are trying to help small producers in this challenging time.
If you’re a producer in NSW of Victoria, the Coles Liquor team is calling on local producers to get in touch to see if they can work together. Email [email protected] to get in touch.
Endeavour Drinks Group – Woolworths
Endeavour Drinks, owners of major retailers BWS and Dan Murphy’s, announced earlier this week that they wanted to helpthe industry.
“Our success as a business relies on the outstanding products that businesses around the country supply us with, and it’s imperative that we do as much as we can to support these businesses during this time of crisis,” a representative said.
“As a result, we ask any of our suppliers to reach out to their regular Endeavour contact in order to further understand the support that we can provide, and we encourage new suppliers to reach out to the relevant contacts, please see the Endeavour Group Contact Page,” they said.
Many breweries are getting involved in the manufacture of hand sanitiser, either modifying processes in-house or working with distilleries. However it may not be up to standard, which are high especially for hospitals.
The Australian Government Therapeutic Goods Administration has reduced restrictions so businesses can make hand sanitiser without approval if one of the two World Health Organization recipes are used.
Keeping Local Alive
The Crafty Pint has launched its Keeping Local Alive initiative, which aims to get consumers to support their local businesses, encouraging people to get behind their local breweries, bars, pubs, restaurants and bottleshops.
It aims to get consumers thinking about supporting their local breweries and bottle shops by utilising online delivery options, buying merchandise or vouchers or holding on to tickets if an event has been postponed.
Keep Our Venues Alive
Keep Our Venues Alive is a group of hospitality professionals spearheaded by the Night Time Industries Association, aiming to lobby the government to develop a relief package for the industry which has taken a heavy hit from the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is asking for a suspension of business rates, extension of tax relief to the hospitality, culture and recreational sector for the next three months, support for landlords, and financial provisions for staff.
Sign the petition calling for the Federal Government to support the hospitality industry.
Restaurant & Catering Association
The Restaurant & Catering Association’s free coronavirus hub includes fact sheets on takeaway and liquor delivery, online delivery guides as well as letter templates for rent abatements, as well as info on loan deferrments and guides on standing down staff.
HEALTH AND WELLBEING
Lifeline is a national charity committed to empowering Australians, providing people experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
Call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14 or chat online.
Beyond Blue provides information and support to help Australians achieve their best possible mental health, through anxiety, depression and suicide.
If you need some help, call Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or chat online.