Weekly Digest – 30 June 2021

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

Five states in lockdowns

After months of keeping the coronavirus under control, five out of eight Australian states and territories are battling the highly infectious Delta variant.

In order to prevent the spread, lockdowns in three large cities have been implemented, affecting more than 20 million Australians, or about 80% of the population.

From Tuesday, Queensland imposed a three-day lockdown in Brisbane and neighbouring regions as well as Townsville, while Perth and Peel started a four-day lockdown, joining Sydney and Darwin.

Sydney is in a two-week lockdown until July 9. Dawin, on the other hand, was extended by 72 hours to Friday.

New Zealand to Resume Travel Bubble With Some Australian States

New Zealand will resume its travel bubble to certain parts of Australia, as some states implement lockdowns in Australia to contain COVID-19 outbreaks.

The travel bubble will again be available from 11:59pm on 4 July for South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. However, a negative test result is required to be presented before departure.

The New Zealand government plans to review the travel bubble pause with Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory next week. All four jurisdictions are undergoing regional lockdowns due to a spread of new COVID-19 infections.

Relief Package for NSW Small Businesses

The NSW government announced a new grants package and changes to the Dine & Discover program to support thousands of small businesses and people across NSW impacted by the lockdowns.

The package includes grants of between $5000 and $10,000 for small businesses, payroll tax deferrals for all employers, an extension of the Dine & Discover program to 31 August, and the ability for people to use Dine & Discover vouchers for takeaway delivered directly to their home by the venue itself.

Small businesses could be granted $10,000 for a 70% decline, $7000 for a 50% decline, and $5000 for a 30% decline during the current COVID-19 restrictions.

Businesses will be able to apply for the grants through Service NSW from later in July.

Major Banks Offer Rescheduled Payments and Fee Relief to Sydney Businesses

Major banks have said they will consider deferring loan repayments and waiving fees for businesses that can prove hardship as a result of the two-week lockdown in Sydney. Westpac, National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank, and ANZ have also indicated they are open to assistance packages for individual customer circumstances.

Top Australian Destinations for Foreign Investment

When it comes to foreign investment, Victoria is the first choice, making up 44% of all approvals. Meanwhile, New South Wales and Queensland are tied in second, with 19% of the market each.

The Sunshine State, which used to be a distant second, is rapidly becoming a preferred destination of foreign buyers. Queensland has the advantage of lower prices, less congestion, and lifestyle.

Improving Aged Care in Rural and Remote Australia

The government is injecting $40 million over two years for multi-purpose residential aged care providers to carry out minor capital works.

The minor works grants will support multi-purpose services to provide better services to senior Australians with dementia to remain in their communities, offer a more home-like and comfortable environment, or upgrade their higher intensity care service for those with more complex care needs.

Applications for the minor capital works grant round must be received on or before 11 August 2021.

Superannuation Guarantee increases on 1 July 2021

The Superannuation Guarantee (SG) will increase to 10% from 1 July 2021. If you have employees, you need to be ready for this legislated increase.

What do you need to do?

  • Firstly, you should speak to your payroll software provider to make sure they are on top of this rate change. Your accountant or bookkeeper may also be able to help.
  • Review any individual agreements with an SCG rate of more than 9.5%, but less than 10%.
  • Notify your employees as they may need to review their Salary Sacrifice or after-tax contributions arrangements.
  • Update Remuneration Packages as it could mean a pay decrease for employees.
  • This is also a good opportunity to do some housekeeping to ensure your super obligations have been met (including super payments and calculations).

As an employer it’s important to ensure you pay super at the new minimum rate. There are financial penalties applied for not meeting your SG obligations. Ask us if you have any questions.

JobMaker Hiring Credit’s Second Claim Period

The second claim period of the JobMaker Hiring Credit is now open. So if you’ve taken on additional young employees between 7 January and 6 April 2021, you may 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 any time until the scheme ends.

Wage Subsidy Scheme for Apprentices and Trainees

The government has announced the expansion of the wage subsidy scheme for apprentices and trainees. Under the scheme, the government will pay half the wages of apprentices up to a maximum of $7,000 each quarter for 12 months. Ask us if you have any questions.

Income Statements can be found in myGov in July

Since Single Touch Payroll (STP) came into place in 2019, payment summaries (previously called Group Certificates) now known as Income Statements can be accessed through myGov. These are no longer directly provided by employers. This will be prepared and ready for employees by 14 July if your or 31 July, depending on if the employer has 20+ employees or 19 or less respectively.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Pushing Through With a New Product or Service

As a business leader, you’re probably full of ideas, especially when it comes to new products or services. However, this doesn’t mean that you should always move forward with them.

In this Forbes article, members of the Young Entrepreneur Council share some questions you can ask yourself before investing time, money, and resources into a product or service idea.

  • Does the customer need this feature?
  • Is the market large enough?
  • How does it help revenue or retention?
  • Will the product or service be able to scale?
  • Is creating the product within my budget?
  • Do I have to make the product myself?
  • Would I use it?
  • Would my enemy use it?

By spending time thinking about these questions, you’ll be able to decide if you should push through with your idea or not.

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