COVID-19 Business Support
In response to the issues facing our local business community as a result of COVID-19 (coronavirus), Council has established a Business Support Service to connect business with information on government support, advice and professional services.
Help for business
If you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, or think this is likely, please contact your bank or creditors immediately. Most will to proactively work with you towards a solution.
- Find out how the Australian Government is providing financial assistance for business
- Find out about the JobKeeper Payment to allow businesses to retain their employees
- Learn about $10,000 grants for fast relief for small business — available on the Service NSW website by 17 April.
- Read about help available for small business from Service NSW
- Find out how Australian Banks will defer loan repayments for small business for 6 months
- Find out about Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme offers cash flow relief to small businesses
- Learn how the Australian Energy Regulator is supporting business and consumers
Help for displaced staff
The Australian Government has now announced more payments and streamlined claims for permanent employees affected by COVID-19. Likewise, if you are a sole trader, self employed, a casual or contract worker whose income has reduced, you are likely to be able to access job seeker payments, with asset testing waived for 6 months.
- Find out how the Australian Government is supporting workers and sole traders
Small Business Commissioner
- Access advice on managing COVID-19 — including employer obligations, managing leave, keeping staff and customers safe, lost trade and cash flow issues, Australian and NSW Government financial support, rent struggles, consumer rights, business advice and disputes.
Department of Health
- Access resources for the public and industry about Coronavirus — including home isolation and care, information for travellers, parents, aged care residents, employers, transport and hotel industries.
Safe Work NSW
- Access a guide for managing your obligations in relation to COVID-19 under the WHS Act 2011.
Fair Work Ombudsman
- COVID-19 and Australian workplace laws – find out about workplace entitlements and obligations.
Australian Tax Office
The ATO is administering the following new government measures:
- giving individuals early access to their superannuation
- reducing superannuation minimum drawdown rates
- providing cash flow assistance for employers
- increasing the instant asset write-off, making more businesses eligible
- backing business investment by accelerating depreciation deductions.
- Working from home tips and FAQs — digital connectivity is fast becoming the main way people work, stay in touch and entertain themselves, creating increased internet usage.
The Business Centre
The Business Centre in Newcastle is running a free Business Disruption webcast series providing practical support and information for businesses.
- People Risk — watch online
- Financial Risk — watch online
- Operational Risk — watch online
- Market Risk — watch online
- Reputational Risk — watch online
The Business Centre also provides 4 hours of free advice with a dedicated business expert who will work with you on specific challenges.
Destination Port Stephens
Destination Port Stephens is committed to supporting the tourism sector during this difficult time. DPS will host a 30 to 45 minute forum via Zoom each week to provide support to industry and allow operators to collaborate through the obstacles we're facing.
- Free business mentoring — talk through your situation and develop strategies to minimise the impact and take advantage of opportunities. Phone Cheryl Royle on 0407 991 277
- Having trouble understanding how to best use the financial assistance on offer? Hunter Hunter has a great Q&A on Boosting Cash Flow for Employer Payments.
Hints, tips and ideas
- How can you continue to service customers who might be in isolation or practising social distancing? Can you implement home deliveries rather than over-the-counter transactions? See what others are doing.
- Can you deliver your services online? Learn how to host an online event or webinar that live event attendees will love.
- Can your staff work from home or stagger their start and finish times to limit the number of people on site at any one time?
- If staff can’t work from home, can they take advantage of an online learning or professional development opportunity while away from the office?
- Can you step up provision of goods or services that remain in demand, while easing back on those that customer and clients may not consider essential at this time?
- Try and keep it local as much as possible. If you are shopping online, consider buying from local businesses before you use the big online platforms. Similarly, if your household or business will benefit from the economic stimulus package announced last week, please think about spending or investing that money within the region where you can.
- Practical advice on how to survive a recession and turn things around as quickly as possible.
Training and education
- FREE small business workshops and webinars including tax essentials, good record-keeping, employer essentials.
- Check out the myriad of podcasts on offer. Try The Company You Keep.
- Learn something new online for free — try FutureLearn and EDX and University of Newcastle
- AusIndustry contact Tim Cotter (Regional Manager) email@example.com
- The Business Centre, Newcastle Region contact Melissa Archer (Business Advisor) firstname.lastname@example.org
- AusTrade contact Sharon Foster (Senior Export/Tradestart Advisor Central Coast & Hunter) email@example.com
- Running a Home Business This information has been developed as part of the NSW Government's Easy to Do Business initiative and is provided to help you start and run a flourishing business. It will also assist with transitioning when your business outgrows your home.
- Industry Capability Network contact Dusko Bajic (Business Development Hunter) DBajic@icnnsw.org.au
- Regional Development Australia (RDA) – Hunter
- Hunter Research Foundation
- Newcastle Innovation - Industry Development Centre
- HunterNet Co-operative Limited
- Federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
- Federal Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
- Federal Fair Work Commission
- Hunter Local Land Services
- Intellectual Property Australia
- NSW Environment Protection Agency
- NSW Department of Industry
- NSW Small Business Commissioner
- Safe Work NSW
- Hunter River High (Heatherbrae) 4987 2306
- Irrawang High School (Raymond Terrace) 4987 4687
- Justin Tonks firstname.lastname@example.org
- Medowie Christian School (Medowie) 4981 7177
- Ruth Neville email@example.com
- St Phillips' Christian College (Salamander Bay) 4919 5400
- Rachel Hall firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tomaree High School (Salamander Bay) 4981 1444
- Kyle McElwain email@example.com
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