Help is available from all three levels of government for businesses, employers and employees affected by coronavirus. This information is updated regularly.
Current COVID-19 business scams
Unfortunately, scammers are taking advantage of the spread of coronavirus to exploit and play on the fears of consumers and businesses across Australia. Scams include impersonating government authorities and legitimate traders, using fake emails or text messages to try and obtain personal data, and investment scams.
- Visit the Scamwatch website for more information on coronavirus scams and tips on how to protect your business online.
COVID Safe planning
As restrictions ease, all businesses will need to undertake planning to ensure they keep their business, staff and customers safe. All businesses' workplace health and safety plans should include internal strategies to manage COVID-19, and 'high risk' businesses like cafes, restaurants and beauty therapists must meet mandatory requirements and/ or develop a COVID safe plan.
- Learn more about the requirements for your business at the Queensland Government's COVID Safe Businesses web pages.
Australian Government support
The Australian Government's Coronavirus page is updated regularly with announcements and assistance package information. The Government's business contact centre is staffed from 7am until 11pm: 13 28 46
The Australian Treasury is leading the economic response to the coronavirus
Assistance available from the Federal Government for businesses includes:
- Jobkeeper payment to support employees and businesses through the outbreak: A payment of $1,500 per employee per fortnight is available to eligible businesses over the next six months with the Job Keeper package.
- Boosting cash flow for employers: Payments of up to $100,000 available to small to medium-sized businesses, charities and not-for-profits.
- Recovery support for businesses: Check this Australian Government page regularly to monitor new initiatives, support and information that might assist your business to recover.
- Backpackers and work visa holders: Information about changes to visa requirements and rules related to Covid-19 can be found at the Department of Home Affairs.
- Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses is available in the form of a temporary increase in the minimum threshold for creditors issuing a statutory demand on a company.
- Wage subsidies to support apprentices and trainees: from early April, people who employ an apprentice or trainee may be eligible to register for a wage subsidy for 50 per cent of the trainee's wages.
- Commercial leases: The Government has initiated a code of conduct to help landlords and tenants make 'good faith' arrangements for commercial leases, allowing for rent deferrals and reductions. Proportional rent reductions will be based on the tenant’s decline in turnover, therefore sharing burden between landlords and tenants.
- Casual workers and people experiencing financial hardship who are affected by Covid-19 may be eligible for a Centrelink payment or a one-off crisis payment.
- Sole traders and households affected by the coronavirus crisis may be able to access income support for individuals in the coming six months. Several forms of income support payments are available.
- Early access to superannuation might be possible in very limited circumstance.
Queensland Government support and information
The Queensland Government is updating information about assistance packages through its Business Queensland pages. You will find information here about the following:
- Leasing dispute resolution and information for small business: The Queensland Small Business Commissioner provides information and advocacy support to small businesses, and informal resolution and mediation of COVID-19.
- Assisting manufacturers who are having difficulties accessing vital supplies. Suppliers that are able to meet the needs of businesses seeking vital materials and supplies can register their capability and capacity on the Queensland Government’s dedicated ICN Gateway page. Manufacturers with supply chain difficulties are encouraged to complete the supply matching request form.
- Payroll tax relief: Are you an employer who pays $6.5 million or less in Australian taxable wages who needs payroll tax relief?
- Planning and mentoring: Do you need tailored support including financial mentoring and business planning?
- Pandemic risk management: A resource about pandemic risk management for businesses.
Council is has announced a series of measures to assist businesses and generate employment in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
- Pumping $2.5 million into the Cairns community by bringing forward maintenance works
- Fast-tracking of projects in the city:
- The building of a rock wall minimise erosion on the Esplanade
- Renewal of the plaza area between the Lagoon and the Esplanade
- Renewal of footpaths on Abbott, Grafton and McLeod streets
- Replacement of commercial water metres and water main
- Road rehabilitation and asphalt overlays
- Waiving of rental payments for lessees of Council owned and/or managed facilities negatively impacted by the coronavirus
- Waiving all outdoor dining fees to the end of 2020
Links for job seekers
- The Federal Government has created a Jobs Hub to help people find advertised vacancies.
- Queensland Government's Jobs Finder website has been set up to connect qualified recruitment agencies and Queensland people whose employment has been affected by Covid-19.
- Harvesting work may be available in Far North Queensland. Check here for availability.
Free online training
- The Queensland Government has created a Small Business Skills Hub, which is available for free to any COVID-19 impacted Queensland small business with fewer than 20 staff and a registered ABN.
- Free training and online upskilling courses are also available through TAFE and various Queensland Universities.
The Australian Government also presents free webinars to help business owners and managers minimize their risks and manage their business through the COVID-19 disruption.
- View upcoming webinars and register online at business.gov.au.
Other resources for businesses
- Dive centres in Cairns seeking advice on returning to operations should email: email@example.com or the relevant regional manager.
- The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland has compiled resources to support its members including access to free software and tools to move business online.
- Cairns Regional Council has a Takeaway and deliveries fact sheet ( PDF, 0.66 MB ) with handy tips to help Fixed Food Business licence holders minimise the risks should they choose to offer takeaway and/or delivery.
- Restaurant and Catering Australia also has information sheets and resources, including fact sheets about takeaway and pre-packaged meals.
- Safe Work Australia has information and resources about health and safety in the workplace and Covid-19, including working from home, supporting mental health, and information for small businesses about what to do if an employee contracts coronavirus.