COVID-19 Financial Support for Food Businesses

**Updated 7 July 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.**

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.

Round 2 of applications opened 1 July 2020. 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 open 18 June, 2020 and close 10 July, 2020.

For more information visit the QRIDA website

Queensland COVID-19 Jobs Support Loans

The Queensland Government announced a new $1 billion loan facility, interest free for the first 12 months, to support Queensland businesses impacted by COVID-19 retain employees and maintain their operations.

The $500 million concessional loan facility will comprise low interest loans of up to $250,000 for carry on finance with an initial 12-month interest free period for businesses to retain staff.

The Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) is responsible for the administration of these concessional loans.

Update: Applications are now closed and are being processed. For more information, visit QRIDA.

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 has 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.

Under the JobKeeper program, businesses 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 businesses keep staff and assist them in restarting when the crisis is over. Around 6 million workers will benefit from the JobKeeper program.

The subsidy will start on 30 March 2020, with the first payments to be received by employers in the first week of May. Businesses can register their interest in participating in the Payment from 30 March 2020 on the ATO website.

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 two measures outlined below are 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 up to $25,000 back to small and medium-sized businesses, with a minimum payment of $10,000 for eligible businesses. The payment will provide cash flow support to businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million that employ staff. The payment will be tax free. This measure will benefit around 690,000 businesses throughout Australia employing around 7.8 million people. The payment will be available from 28 April 2020.

Supporting apprentices and trainees

The Australian Government is supporting small business to retain their apprentices and trainees. Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for up to 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Where a small business is not able to retain an apprentice, the subsidy will be available to a new employer that employs that apprentice. This measure will support up to 70,000 small businesses in Australia, employing around 117,000 apprentices.

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 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 through the upcoming months.

SMEs with a turnover of up to $50 million will be eligible to receive these loans.

The Government will provide eligible lenders with a guarantee for loans with the following terms:

  • Maximum total size of loans of $250,000 per borrower.
  • The loans will be up to three years, with an initial six month repayment holiday.
  • The loans will be in the form of unsecured finance, meaning that borrowers will not have to provide an asset as security for the loan.

Loans will be subject to lenders’ credit assessment processes with the expectation that lenders will look through the cycle to sensibly take into account the uncertainty of the current economic conditions.

As part of the loan products available, the Australian Government will encourage lenders to provide facilities to SMEs that only have to be drawn if needed by the SME. This will mean that the SME will only incur interest on the amount they draw down. If they do not draw down any funds from the facility, no interest will be charged, but they will retain the flexibility to draw down in the future should they need to.

The Scheme will commence by early April 2020 and be available for new loans made by participating lenders until 30 September 2020.

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.