As COVID-19 increasingly impacts Australia,  Resource Industry Network (RIN) continues to gather some important information in an effort to assist business and industry throughout this time. The information below is divided into subheadings to help you try and find the appropriate information you are looking for. 

We would like to remind everyone in the METS sector that we are here to help. We welcome any business with concerns or seeking assistance, to contact us by phone (07 4952 4184) or email and we will help you any way we can or point you in the right direction. We understand that these are unprecedented times with many unknowns. So please stay connected with people and organisations that can assist your business and your workforce. 

RIN has been relaying individual business issues in regard to COVID-19, along with broader sector challenges, directly to state and federal government, as well as key stakeholders. We encourage any business to reach out to us with the concerns you are encountering so government is fully aware of the impacts.

RIN would like to acknowledge the Local Buying Foundation's B.I.G Futures Fund grants which has allowed the organisation to develop and implement a Digital Engagement Project so we can continue to support our members and industry more broadly throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.


 

  DOWNLOAD THE COVIDSafe APP

The COVIDSafe app speeds up contacting people exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19). This helps support and protect the community.

The new COVIDSafe app is completely voluntary. Downloading the app is something you can do to protect you, your family and friends and save the lives of other Australians. The more Australians connect to the COVIDSafe app, the quicker we can find the virus.

For detailed questions and answers about this app, see our COVIDSafe app FAQs.

MORE INFORMATION HERE


  THE LATEST CORONAVIRUS MEASURES from the Australian Prime Minister's office   

  STATE AND TERRITORY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION   


QUEENSLAND BORDER RESTRICTIONS - RESOURCES SECTOR EXEMPTIONS

Entry into the state of Queensland has been restricted as of 12:01am, 26 March 2020, to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus through the state. There are exemptions for those who provide critical services to Queensland including services for Queensland’s resources sector. Exemptions apply for fly in fly out (FIFO)/drive in drive out (DIDO) workers in commercial construction, fishing, mining, energy or agribusiness industries to work in Queensland without having to undertake self-quarantine.

APPLY for a Queensland entry pass here

MORE on Queensland Border Restrictions here


GOVERNMENT RESOURCES AND INFORMATION

QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT

The Queensland Government has announced the Immediate Industry Recovery Package to assist business and industry to implement resilience and recovery strategies to mitigate impacts of COVID-19.

Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grant Program
The objective of this program is to support small businesses subject to closure or highly impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) shutdown restrictions announced by the Queensland Government, to adapt and sustain their operations, and build resilience. The available grant amount is up to a maximum of $10,000 per eligible small or micro business.

Payroll tax relief package: includes a range of payroll tax relief measures including refunds of payroll tax and payroll tax holiday and deferrals. A portal has been established on the Business Queensland website for businesses to apply for payroll tax relief

Small and medium business power bill relief: Small and medium businesses may be eligible for $500 rebate off their energy bill.

Rent relief: for small businesses who rent premises from the state government.

Queensland COVID-19 Jobs Support Loans: Expressions of interest are now open for low interest loans of up to $250,000 for carry on finance with an initial 12-month interest free period.  Register your interest here with your full name, phone number and preferred email address or Freecall 1800 623 946

Business Mentoring Assistance - Mentoring for Growth: The Mentoring for Growth program has mentors ready to connect with impacted small businesses and may be able to provide tailored support including financial mentoring and business planning.

Financial Resilience Workshops: Delivered by TAFE Queensland, workshops will provide you with practical tools and skills to build business resilience. You will also have an opportunity to connect and network with other small businesses facing similar issues.

Market Diversification and Resilience Grants: To help develop alternative markets food and fishing exporters and critical supply chain partners.

Waivers of some registration and licencing fees for Inbound Tour Operators, commercial activity agreements and permits, &  variations to liquor licenses

The Worker Transition Scheme:  For workers who may find themselves without work

Business Impact Evaluation - If you have not already, businesses are invited to complete an online Business Impact Evaluation so the State Government can fully capture the actual impact to small business at this point of time.

Also contact your Regional Local Government Authority for latest grants and support. 

Financial Counselling Service

  • Any Small Business impacted by COVID19 can now contact the Small Business Financial Counselling Service  in the following areas:
  • Southern Queensland – phone (07) 4622 5500
  • North Queensland – phone  (07) 4652 5669

Small Business re Business Loan relief – Australian Banking Association - https://www.ausbanking.org.au/campaigns/financial-hardship/

Please note that all of the latest updates are available on the Business Queensland website and it is suggested that you regularly visit this site to stay in touch with the most up to date information.

 

AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT

The Australian Government has also announced an economic response including: business investment support, assistance with cash flow for employers, household stimulus payments and targeted assistance for the most severely affected regions. Access it here:
ACCESS AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT SUPPORT HERE

FACT SHEETS on further assistance available to businesses - from Australian Government

BOOSTING cash flow for employers - The Government is now providing up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium sized businesses, and not-for-profits (including charities) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000.

TEMPORARY FLEXIBILITY in the Corporations Act 2001 - There is a temporary increase to the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company and the time companies have to respond to statutory demands they receive. 

CORONAVIRUS SME Guarantee Scheme - The Government, Reserve Bank of Australia and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority have taken coordinated action to support the flow of credit in the Australian economy, in particular for small and medium enterprises (SMEs)

SUPPORTING the flow of credit - The Government, Reserve Bank of Australia and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority have taken coordinated action to support the flow of credit in the Australian economy, in particular for small and medium enterprises (SMEs)

INCOME SUPPORT for individuals - Information and services to help you if you’re affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) or looking for more details

SMALL BUSINESS Financial Counselling Service - The Rural Financial Counselling Service North Queensland (RFCSNQ) delivers the Australian and Queensland Government’s Rural Financial Counselling Service programme (RFCS) in the Northern Queensland region including, and north of the local government areas of Barcoo, Longreach, Barcaldine and Isaac.

CORONAVIRUS information and support for businesses - from the Australian Government

The Australian Government Department of Health has developed some publications that are available to assist businesses. The posters are downloadable and intended to be used by small businesses in shopfronts to communicate with their clients and customers. They have a space at the bottom to allow small businesses to customise them. Where you have capacity you might also consider printing and posting them to small businesses if needed.

https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-campaign-resources
https://health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-change-of-hours-poster-for-businesses
https://health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-temporary-changes-poster-for-businesses
https://health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-good-hygiene-practices-poster-for-businesses
https://health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-temporary-closure-poster-for-businesses

FREE ATO WEBINARS

COVID19 STIMULUS PACKAGE INFORMATION - Is your small business affected by COVID-19? Join this free 60-minute webinar to find out how the Government’s stimulus package can help your small business. Multiple sessions are on offer.

LEARN HOW TO MAKE THE MOVE FROM AUSKEY TO MYGOVID - The myGovID app is an easy and secure way to prove who you are when using government online services

JOBKEEPER PAYMENT PROGRAM

If your business has been significantly impacted by the Coronavirus you will be able to access a wages subsidy to continue paying your employees. Under the JobKeeper program, you 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 you keep staff and will help you restart when the crisis is over. To receive the JobKeeper Payment, employers must:

  • Register an intention to apply on the ATO website and assess that they have or will experience the required turnover decline.

  • Provide information to the ATO on eligible employees. This includes information on the number of eligible employees engaged as at 1 March 2020 and those currently employed by the business (including those stood down or rehired). For most businesses, the ATO will use Single Touch Payroll data to pre-populate the employee details for the business.

  • Ensure that each eligible employee receives at least $1,500 per fortnight (before tax). For employees that were already receiving this amount from the employer then their income will not change. For employees that have been receiving less than this amount, the employer will need to top up the payment to the employee up to $1,500, before tax. And for those employees earning more than this amount, the employer is able to provide them with a top-up.
  • Notify all eligible employees that they are receiving the JobKeeper Payment.
  • Continue to provide information to the ATO on a monthly basis, including the number of eligible employees employed by the business.

Employers will be eligible for the subsidy if:

  • their business has a turnover of less than $1 billion and their turnover will be reduced by more than 30 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month); or
  • their business has a turnover of $1 billion or more and their turnover will be reduced by more than 50 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month); and
  • the business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy.

The employer must have been in an employment relationship with eligible employees as at 1 March 2020, and confirm that each eligible employee is currently engaged in order to receive JobKeeper Payments.

Eligible employees are defined in the attached fact sheet.

EXTENSION TO JOBKEEPER SCHEME

The Australian Commissioner of Taxation has extended the time to enrol for the initial JobKeeper periods, from April  30, 2020 until May 31, 2020. For the first two fortnights (March 30 – April 12, April 13 – April 26), the tax office will accept the minimum $1500 payment for each fortnight has been paid by you even if it has been paid late, provided it is paid by May  8, 2020. If you do not pay your staff by this date, you will not be able to claim JobKeeper for the first two fortnights. View the KEY DATES.

ALTERNATIVE TEST FOR JOBKEEPER

Information is now available on the ATO website for businesses seeking to register for the JobKeeper package but don’t have an appropriate relevant comparison period. The Alternative Test will apply in certain circumstances including impact of drought or other natural disaster during the relevant comparison period. 
Legislative Instrument Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Alternative Decline in Turnover Test Rules 2020 

Businesses Without Employees: Businesses without employees, such as the self-employed, can register their interest in applying for JobKeeper Payment via ato.gov.au from 30 March 2020. Businesses without employees will need to provide an ABN for their business, nominate an individual to receive the payment and provide that individual’s Tax File Number and provide a declaration as to recent business activity. People who are self-employed will need to provide a monthly update to the ATO to declare their continued eligibility for the payments. Payment will be made monthly to the individual’s bank account. Not-for-profit entities (including charities) and self-employed individuals (businesses without employees) that meet the turnover tests that apply for businesses are eligible to apply for JobKeeper Payments.

Register with the ATO here for updates.

 

MACKAY REGIONAL COUNCIL

Mackay Regional Council has detailed stage one of business support measures to help assist those impacted by the escalating Coronavirus crisis. The business support response includes waiving a raft of fees for 2020-2021 and a focus on local spend and job creation measures immediately and during the recovery. The due date for the next lot of rates in September will also be extended by three months.
STAGE ONE OF CORONAVIRUS BUSINESS SUPPORT MEASURES

 


QUICK LINK - WHAT TO DO IF AN EMPLOYEE HAS COVID-19 - INFOGRAPHIC

 

For more information on workplace health and safety in relation to Covid-19, please visit the SAFE WORK AUSTRALIA website.


HELPLINE AVAILABLE TO BUSINESSES - 13 28 46

The Australian Government’s Business Hotline - 13 28 46 – has been expanded to provide specialist advisers and extended hours to support small and medium businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. You can also send an email. The Hotline operates seven days per week, and provide an additional two hours a day of support outside standard operating hours for the first month, answering calls from 7.00am to 11.00pm AEST.  


HR RESOURCES

WORKING from home checklist  - downloadable file

MANAGING Staff  (sourced from https://www.cciq.com.au/)


COMMERCIAL TENANCIES

National Cabinet made further progress on the issue of commercial tenancies. They have agreed that a mandatory code of conduct guided by certain principles will be developed and subsequently legislated by State and Territory Governments to apply for tenancies where the tenant is eligible for the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper assistance and is a small- or medium-sized enterprise (less than $50 million turnover).

UPDATES TO COMMERCIAL TENANCIES


IT & DIGITAL RESOURCES & SUPPORT

COVID-19 CYBER SCAMS - Please be aware that there has been an increase in Covid-19 themed cyber activity to either install software or steal your personal information and banking details. The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has published advice on how small businesses can better protect themselves from cyber attacks and disruptions during COVID-19. A guide has been developed to help small and micro businesses adapt to working during the COVID-19 pandemic. This document will help businesses with simple and actionable advice in order to both identify common and emerging cyber threats and develop resilient business practices to protect themselves. Broader COVID-19-related cyber security advice is available HERE.

CYBER SECURITY ADVICE FOR BUSINESS - The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) encourages businesses to incorporate cyber security into their contingency planning. As more staff may work from home, and the use of remote access technology increases, adversaries may attempt to take advantage. ASD's Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) encourages Australians to remain vigilant and ensure sound cyber security practices. ACSC has published an alert for COVID-19 themed scams that are being distributed via test to members of the public. Details on this scam can be found on the Stay Smart Online website. To learn more about proactive strategies you can take to secure your business, visit the ACSC website.

PRACTICING CYBER HYGIENE during the COVID-19 Pandemic - sourced from RIN major partner CQUniversity

GUIDELINES for working from home - supplied by IT specialists and RIN member EHW Tech


LEGAL RESOURCES

Articles from RIN member and law specialists McKays Solicitors Mackay:

EMPLOYERS and the Coronavirus - Prepare Now 
Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses and individuals during COVID-19


SELF-ISOLATION & ACCOMMODATION SOLUTIONS

SPECIAL RATES for Mining Teams - from RIN member Rydges Mackay Suites


EXPORT ADVICE

ADVICE for exporters - from Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade)


MINING HOUSE ANNOUNCEMENTS

BHP establishes $50 million (AUD) Vital Resources Fund to help support regional communities 
COVID-19 HotlineBHP has launched a new BHP COVID-19 1800 hotline to answer questions from its employees, contractors and their immediate families and help keep them informed.
They can call 1800 144 800 anytime of the day or night.
BHP continues to implement measures to reduce COVID-19 risks to workforce and communities


HEALTH AND SAFETY RESOURCES

UPDATE TO COVID-19 SAFE WORKPLACE PRINCIPLES - On 24 April 2020, the National Cabinet agreed to the National COVID-19 Safe Workplace Principles. Recognising that the COVID-19 pandemic is a public health emergency, that all actions in respect of COVID-19 should be founded in expert health advice and that the following principles operate subject to the measures agreed and implemented by Governments through the National Cabinet process.

VIEW THE 10 PRINCIPLES HERE | INTERPRETATION OF THE PRINCIPLES

FOGGING DECONTAMINATION Services COVID-19 - from RIN member Clean Feeling
COMPLETE the COVID-19 Infection Control Training - available online at Department of Health
TIPS to protect your mining camp from Novel Coronavirus - from Australasian Mine Safety Journal
INFECTION prevention advice - from the Australian Government
INFECTION prevention advice - from the World Health Organisation


MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES

An information package has been compiled by the Suicide Prevention Community Action Planning Group (SPCAP) in the Whitsunday, Isaac and Mackay region and is designed to support regional industry and businesses to access information, resources and support with mental health concerns, particularly with respect to the outbreak of Coronavirus across the world. Now is a good time to check in with your employees and see how they're going. Below you will find some links to information that may assist you and them. There's no denying even the strongest of people will be feeling different in light of the Covid-19 impacts, so let's keep on looking after each other throughout this crisis. 

DOWNLOAD SUPPORT RESOURCES HERE

       

 

Supporting better mental health through MATES in Mining - MATES in Mining is stepping up in this area to support the workforce. While on-site visits and training may be restricted, the MATES in Mining team is working hard to deliver mental health awareness training and resources virtually via email, phone, webinars, social media and other channels. The infographic below outlines some helpful advice for you and your family. If you or your colleagues need help, the MATES in Mining 24/7 national help line number is 1300 642 111.

Coping with COVID-19 infographic

Looking after your mental health - ​Beyond Blue recognises and understands the feelings of anxiety, distress and concern many people may be experiencing in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and offers the following wellbeing advice.
Dealing with anxiety - Tips for coping with coronavirus anxiety
Coping with stress - information is for young people affected by stress related to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Small business owners experiencing mental health issues - Your mental health is important, so it’s good to learn how to recognise warning signs or ‘red flags’ that may suggest you need to reach out for support.

Additional Wellbeing and Support Information

Strategies to stay calm and focused during times of uncertainty - an article from RIN member Sunsuper