Weekly Digest – 26 May 2021

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

VIC: Melbourne’s Lockdown Fate Hangs in the Balance

Authorities are locked in emergency talks about placing Melbourne in a five-day lockdown. A fresh cluster of COVID-19 cases in Victoria has grown to 15 in three days, and the next 24 hours are particularly critical as some of the infected had visited crowded venues such as pubs, cafes, and supermarkets.

One of the infected was among the 23,400 people who attended an AFL match on Sunday. Officials have already ordered thousands of the attendees to test and self-isolate.

From 6 pm on 25 May, some COVID-19 restrictions have been implemented to the greater Melbourne area including:

  • People must wear a mask indoors or when unable to socially distance outdoors
  • Up to five visitors within a 24 hour period from any number of households
  • Public gatherings are limited to up to 30 people from any number of households

QLD: Three New Small Business Grants Announced

The Queensland Government announced the Business Basics, Business Boost, and Business Growth Fund worth $25 million over two years.

  • Business Basics grants of up to $5,000 each support new and emerging businesses to boost core capabilities and adopt best practices. Applications will open on 31 May 2021.
  • Business Boost grants of up to $15,000 will help small businesses to improve their efficiency and productivity through organisational development and upgrades. It can be used for website development, strategic marketing, training, advisory services, and planning for business continuity and succession. Application will open by late July 2021.
  • Business Growth Fund grants of up to $50,000 will allow businesses to purchase highly specialised equipment to accelerate growth. Applications have opened on 11 May 2021.

More information can be found here.

New Zealand Pauses Travel Bubble With Victoria

New Zealand has halted quarantine-free travel with Victoria as a new cluster emerged on Tuesday. This marks the fourth time the travel bubble has been disrupted since it started last month.

The suspension took effect at 8:00 pm on Tuesday and is expected to remain in place for at least 72 hours before being re-evaluated.

Potential Australia-UK Trade Deal Could Spur Post-Pandemic Economic Recovery

Australia and the UK started discussing free trade agreement in 2020, and it now seems that a meeting of minds is imminent. The two countries hope the deal can be fully agreed by June.

The agreement would reduce tariffs on goods, ideally to zero. Further, it should improve opportunities for business travel and support the mutual recognition of professional qualifications.

Ultimately, this deal could provide considerable gains for both businesses and consumers, spurring a post-pandemic economic recovery in both countries.

$14.5 Million Boost for Community and Mental Health Services in WA

The Western Australian government has delivered an additional $14.5 million in funding and extended contracts for 12 months to ensure the continuation of important community and mental health services.

This investment represents a 10% increase on the 2020-21 annual level for each provider.

JobMaker Hiring Credit’s Second Claim Period Now Open

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.

AgMove Support to Boost Harvest Workforce

A new AgMove support will be launched to accommodate short, but intense, harvesting seasons and provide the right incentives to get job seekers to give agricultural work a go.

Under AgMove, the government is introducing more flexible incentives which will see Australians eligible for up to $2,000 in relocation assistance (or $650 for temporary visa holders) when they complete just 40 hours of agricultural work over a two-week period.

If they continue with the agricultural work and complete 120 hours across a period of at least four weeks, they will hit the second eligibility point where they will be able to access reimbursement of up to $6,000 for Australian workers and up to $2,000 for temporary visa holders.

Providing Health Care Remotely During COVID-19

From 13 March to 30 June 2021, new temporary MBS (Medicare Benefits Schedule) telehealth items have been made available to help reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID-19. You can find the temporary Medicare items that will help health care practitioners deliver telehealth services via phone or video conferencing here.

Wage Subsidy Scheme for Apprentices to Be Expanded

The government will spend $1.2 billion to expand its wage subsidy scheme for apprentices, as JobKeeper ended last month.

Under the apprentice scheme, the government will pay half the wages of apprentices up to a maximum of $7,000 each quarter for 12 months. It will run until September 2022. Ask us if you have any questions.

Upcoming Key Dates

Upcoming key lodgment and payment dates for businesses:

26 May

  • Lodge and pay eligible quarter 3, 2020–21 activity statements if you or your client have elected to receive and lodge electronically.

28 May

  • Lodge and pay quarter 3, 2020–21 Superannuation guarantee charge statement – quarterly (NAT 9599) if the employer did not pay enough contributions on time. Employers who lodge a Superannuation guarantee charge statement – quarterly can choose to offset contributions they paid late to a fund against their super guarantee charge for the quarter. They still have to pay the remaining super guarantee charge.

Contact us if you have any questions.

Government-backed COVID-19 Loans Extended

The government is extending its small business COVID-19 loans scheme until June 2021. If you need help to access these loans or you want to find out if you are eligible, don’t hesitate to drop us a message.

Project Management Tips to Help You Achieve Your Goals

Planning your path towards your goals is one thing, but staying on course can be a different challenge. In this Forbes article, you’ll learn some tips to help you hit your targets. Here’s an overview of the key points:

Visualise the work needed to achieve your goal.

  • Write down the steps that are necessary to achieve your goals.
  • Write down all your other work tasks and engagements.
  • Keep a to-do list for responsibilities at home, and discuss family plans for the week.

Sort the work and optimise your schedule around known constraints.

  • Start with time-sensitive tasks that have fixed deadlines.
  • Block off your calendar for a couple of segments each day.
  • Split your tasks into two lists.

Stick to the plan.

  • Start your day by determining the tasks you’ll work on, write them down on sticky notes, and post them somewhere that’s easily visible to you.
  • Celebrate accomplished tasks, and take note of unplanned tasks.
  • Summarise your work for the day.

Need expert help on project management? Book a one-on-one consultation with us!

Get in touch

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

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