COVID-19 Financial Support for Food Businesses

**Updated 26 October 2020**

The Queensland Government and Australian Government have announced a series of loans and grants for businesses that may be impacted by COVID-19. For more information, please contact the relevant government department listed below.

Queensland Government support for business

**The Queensland Government has developed an online tool to help businesses identify what financial support is available to them.**

Agribusiness Digital Solutions Grant Program

The Agribusiness Digital Solutions Grant Program supports industry organisations to develop, trial and promote digital solutions in agriculture and food supply chains. The aim of this program is to assist the agribusiness sector to recover from the impacts of COVID-19 by enhancing digital skills, creating regional jobs and driving efficiencies for businesses.

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) is providing up to $1.2 million to industry organisations in Round 1 of the program. Up to $200,000 (excluding GST) is available to successful projects that target industry-wide outcomes. A minimum co-contribution of 50% is required for successful projects, of which 20% is a cash contribution.

For more details and how to apply, visit the DAF website.

Small Business COVID-19 Adaptation Grant

The objective of this program is to support small businesses subject to closure or highly impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) shutdown restrictions, to adapt and sustain their operations, and build resilience.

The program aims to see small and micro businesses:

  • prepare for the safe resumption of trading in the post COVID-19 recovery
  • access digital technologies to rebuild business operations and transition to a new way of doing business
  • respond to online opportunities, where possible, to sustain employment and maintain potential for longer-term growth
  • upskill and reskill business owners and staff to benefit from new technologies or business models
  • embrace business diversification to adapt and sustain operations
  • create or retain employment.

The available grant amount is $2000 up to a maximum of $10,000 per eligible small or micro business.

Applications for SE QLD have now closed, however applications for regional QLD remain open. For more information and to apply for this grant, please visit the Business Queensland website.

Rural Economic Development Grants

The Rural Economic Development (RED) Grants Scheme has been funded to an amount of $10 million over three funding rounds. Round 3 of funding is now open.

These RED grants will fund projects which provide unique opportunities to generate economic and employment opportunities related to primary production across rural and remote Queensland.

Grants are up to a maximum of $250,000 with a 50 percent cash contribution requirement from applicants.

Example projects eligible under the scheme could include the development of new products or markets, or improved business processes where such investment creates employment.

Expressions of interest have now closed. 

For more information visit the QRIDA website

Immediate Industry Recovery Package

A $27.25 million package has also been announced to provide immediate assistance to help Queensland manage the impacts of the COVID-19.

A suite of initiatives will be available to support business and industry, support for fisheries and support for exporters.

Payroll tax relief package

You may be eligible for one or more of a range of payroll tax relief measures as a result of the impacts of COVID-19. These include:

  • refunds of payroll tax for 2 months, giving an average of nearly $9,000 cash
  • a payroll tax holiday for 3 months, saving an average of $13,360
  • deferral of paying payroll tax for the 2020 calendar year.

Read more about deferring payroll tax returns due to coronavirus.

Australian Government support for business

A range of assistance is also available from the Australian government to support business investment, assist cash flow, keep employees including apprentices and trainees in jobs, and assist severely affected regions.

JobKeeper Payment

The Australian Government announced a $130 billion JobKeeper payment to help keep more Australians in jobs and support businesses affected by the significant economic impact caused by the Coronavirus.

From 28 September 2020, businesses and not-for-profits seeking to claim JobKeeper Payments will be required to reassess their eligibility for the JobKeeper extension with reference to their actual turnover. The JobKeeper extension will be available to qualifying businesses and not-for-profits until 28 March 2021.

Further information can be found on the Australian Government Treasury website. 

Cash flow assistance for businesses

This assistance from the Australian Government will support businesses to manage cash flow challenges resulting from the economic impacts of the Coronavirus and help businesses retain their employees. The measure outlined below is designed to support employing small and medium enterprises and to improve business confidence.

Boosting cash flow for employers

The Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure will provide cash flow support to businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million that employ staff. The Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure will be done through 2 sets of cash flow boosts to support employers to keep operating, pay rent, electricity and other bills and retain staff.

Through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the Government will provide tax-free cash flow boosts of between $20,000 and $100,000 to eligible businesses, delivered through credits in the activity statement system, when they lodge their activity statements up to the month or quarter of September 2020. Cash flow boosts will generally be equivalent to the amount you withheld from employee wages for each monthly or quarterly period from March to June 2020. An additional cash flow boost will apply when you lodge activity statements from June to September. These credits will be equal to the total boost credits from March to June 2020.

For more information and to apply, visit the Australian Government website.

Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme

Under the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme, the Australian Government will provide a guarantee of 50% to small and medium enterprise (SME) lenders for new secured or unsecured loans to be used for working capital. This will enhance these lenders’ willingness and ability to provide credit, which will result in SMEs being able to access additional funding to help support them.

SMEs with a turnover of up to $50 million will be eligible to receive these loans. Phase 1 of the Scheme ran from April 2020 – 30 September 2020. Phase 2 commenced on 1 October 2020.

Under Phase 2, eligible lenders will be able to offer loans with the following terms:

  • Loans can be used for a broad range of business purposes, including to support investment in a period of economic recovery.
  • The maximum loan size is $1 million per borrower.
  • Loans will be up to 5 years, with a a six month repayment holiday at the discretion of the lender.
  • A loan can be either unsecured or secured (excluding commercial or residential property)

More information about the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme is available here.

Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) Levy Relief

The Australian Government has announced that Commonwealth commercial fishers do not have to pay remaining Commonwealth fishing levies for 2020.

This means the levies to be collected by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) under the Fisheries Management Act 1991 or the Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984 will be waived from 1 April 2020, for the remainder of the year.

More information is available from AMFA.