Lockdown Lifted, Changes to Disaster Payments and Support for Apprentices

Spending Increases as Lockdowns are Lifted

As COVID-19 restrictions ease across the country, spending tracked 20% higher than the corresponding week of 2019, according to the weekly credit and debit card spending data from the Commonwealth Bank.

National spending is on track to hit the growth levels seen earlier in 2021, which averaged at 22% above pre-pandemic figures in late April and early May 2019.

Job ads increase 6.2% in October

Job advertisements increased sharply in October as Sydney and Melbourne started to lift lockdowns. The latest figures from Australia and New Zealand Banking Group showed total job ads climbed 6.2% in October from September when they fell 2.8%.

The official jobless rate has declined by more than expected this year to hit 4.6% in September.

COVID-19 Disaster Payment Changes in Victoria

Now that 80% of the population in Victoria have been fully vaccinated, changes to the COVID-19 Disaster Payment will come into effect.

Aside from the decrease in payment rate over a two-week period before it stops, people would need to apply each week to ensure they remain eligible.

In the first week after a state or territory reaches the 80% milestone, people can apply for:

  • $450 if they’ve lost 8 hours or a full day’s work or more
  • $100 if they’re getting a Centrelink or Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) income support payment and have lost work.

In the second and final week after reaching 80% the payment:

  • rate decreases to $320 for those who have lost 8 hours or a full day’s work or more
  • stops for people getting a Centrelink or DVA income support payment.

Federal Budget Set for a Post-Lockdown Bounce

Australia’s federal budget is set for a post-lockdown increase before settling into deficits of $60 billion a year because of higher spending in social services and defence.

According to Deloitte Access Economics’ budget monitor, cumulative deficits are projected to be $45 billion lower than expected over the next four years. However, in 2024-25 the deficit will be at least $36 billion on announced policies and it’s tipped to reach $60 billion including $25bn of new spending not yet announced.

The report also says ongoing shortfall in future budgets could only be wiped out by raising GST to 17% or increasing marginal income tax by 5.5%.

Exports to China Increasing Despite Trade Dispute

Australia’s exports to China have increased by 24% from the previous year to hit over $180 billion as of the latest August data, according to research firm Oxford Economics.

Relations between the two countries have been affected since last year after Australia supported a call for a global inquiry into China’s handling of its initial COVID-19 outbreak. Tensions have then filtered into Chinese sanctions on Australian goods.

Despite this, exports to China have held up remarkably well. Australia is one of the few developed countries that enjoys a trade surplus with China, its largest trading partner.

JobMaker Hiring Credit Payments for 3rd Period

JobMaker Hiring Credit payments can be claimed by 31 October 2021 for additional eligible employees hired between 7 April 2021 and 6 July 2021. Eligible businesses can claim for up to a year for each additional eligible employee hired between 7 October 2020 and 6 October 2021. Get in touch with us for assistance in your claim.

Single Touch Payroll (STP) Quarterly Reporting Due Dates

From 1 July 2021, small employers must report any closely held payees through STP. Reports can be done every pay day or quarterly. Also, STP quarterly reporting concessions for micro employers are only available to those who meet certain eligibility requirements, including the need for exceptional circumstances to exist.

We can help you apply for this concession on your behalf. Those who haven’t started reporting through STP and don’t have a deferral or exemption must start reporting now.

Upcoming Key Dates for November 2021

Here are the upcoming key dates for the month of November:

22 Nov 2021

  • October monthly BAS due

29 Nov 2021

  • September quarter SG charge statement due

Change in Super Rules from 1 November for Your New Employees

There’s a change that involves an extra step to comply with ‘choice of fund’ rules when a new employee starts working for you. Currently, if new hires don’t choose their own Superfund, the employer can pay Super contributions for them to your default fund.

Starting 1 November, employers will need to request their ‘stapled super fund’ details from the ATO. A stapled super fund is an existing account which is linked to an employee, and this change in rules aim to minimise the number of additional Super accounts opened each time an individual starts a new job.

You can use online services for businesses to request your new hires’ stapled super fund details. If you need help with your tax and super, get in touch with us!

Changes for Directors starting in November: Identification Number Needed

All directors of a company will need a director identification number (director ID) from November.

The director identification number is a unique identifier that allows shareholders, creditors, employees, and consumers to know certain details about the directors of a company. All directors are required by law to verify their identity with the Australian Business Registry Services before receiving a director ID.

All directors need to apply for their own ID so while we can’t apply for this on your behalf, we can help you if you have any questions.

You can also follow the steps for application here.

Support for Apprentices to be Expanded

The $3.9 billion Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program will extend support into the second and third year of an eligible Australian Apprenticeship through the $716 million Completing Apprenticeship Commencements program.

From October, eligible employers will receive a 10% wage subsidy in the second year of an eligible apprenticeship, and 5% in the third year. The government’s investment is expected to continue to support the 270,000 anticipated commencements under the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program from October 2020 to March 2022.

COVID-19 Government Support By State and Industry

Small businesses that are currently suffering from lockdowns can get financial assistance to help them get through the pandemic. You can find the latest government support schemes for each state or territory here.

The impacts of the COVID-19 restrictions vary from one industry to another. Here, you’ll find the latest government financial assistance available for particular industries.

Get in touch

Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.

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