Stimulus measures to get Queenslanders building
The Federal Government has kickstarted economic recovery with the HomeBuilder grant.
From 1 January – 31 March 2021, eligible owner-occupiers are able to access a grant of $15,000 to build a new home (up to $750,000) or substantially renovate an existing home (contract between $150,000–$750,000).
In addition to this, first home buyers in Queensland will still be able to access the existing $15,000 First Home Owners' Grant – giving them a $30,000 total package.
Eligibility is means-tested and construction must commence within six months of the contract date. ‘House and land’ packages and off-the-plan developments are also eligible, provided construction did not commence before 4 June 2020.
Master Builders is hearing that many are still struggling with some of the complexities around the HomeBuilder rules. To help we have prepared a list of HomeBuilder key facts to cover the questions we are hearing most.
Regional home building boost grant
The Regional home building boost grant gives eligible homeowners outside of SEQ $5,000 after the purchase or construction of a brand-new house, unit or townhouse valued at less than $750,000.
It helps home owners in regional Queensland into their new home sooner.
The contract must be entered into between 4 June 2020 and 31 March 2021. The home must be the principle place of residence and located in a regional Queensland area of:
- Central Queensland
- Darling Downs Maranoa
- Mackay - Isaac - Whitsunday
- Queensland - Outback
- Wide Bay.
Seniors and Accessibility Renovation Assistance
Seniors and Accessibility Renovation Assistance is a new one-off grant up to $5000 for home repairs or upgrades to improve home safety and security. Those eligible for the grant will work with Home Assist Secure providers on a scope of works, who will then in turn work with local licensed contractors. Work under the grant is now underway but applications to access the grant are now closed.
Household Resilience Program
Additional funding to the Household Resilience Program to help eligible home owners in coastal parts of Queensland improve the resilience of their homes against cyclones. Owner-occupiers who live in a house built before 1984, located within 50km of the coastline from Bundaberg to the Queensland/Northern Territory border, can apply to receive a grant of 75 per cent of the cost of improvements (up to a maximum of grant value of $11,250 including GST). Work under the grant is now underway but applications to access the grant are now closed.
Housing Works for Tradies
Housing Works for Tradies is a program to build 215 new social homes across the state. The government will be tendering for local builders to build detached houses and duplexes on government land. Construction will commence in September or October. Builders will be invited to submit a proposal (including price and commencement date) for specific lots.
Building Acceleration Fund
$200 million fund for the government to co-invest in infrastructure to unlock development, generate construction activity and create long-term employment.
The fund will provide interest free loans in partnership with councils and property developers to construct infrastructure such as roads, water distribution, sewerage/wastewater, storm water infrastructure that unlocks new development and increases construction activity.
Federal and State business relief
The Federal Government has a number of measures to directly support business withstand the impact of Coronavirus. There is support available for sole traders, employers and companies. For the construction industry the measures include:
- JobKeeper payment (wage subsidy) for employers of $1500 per fortnight per eligible employee - read more information
- Cash flow boost for eligible employers up to $100,000 as a tax office credit
- Wage subsidy of 50 per cent of an apprentice’s or trainee’s wage (including those working through a Group Training Organisation)
- Instant asset write off up to $150,000 until 30 June 2020
- Accelerated depreciation deduction arrangements
- Relief for certain tax obligations on a case-by-case basis
- Expanded access to Jobseeker Payments for sole traders, self-employed, casuals and contract workers
- Government guarantee of loans to businesses with a turnover up to $50 million
- Relaxing the rules for companies in financial distress.
Australian banks have also announced that they will delay repayments for affected small businesses for 6 months. The lending rules have also been relaxed and more money made available.
Other business support
Round 2 of the Small Business Adaption Grant Program will open on 1 July and is to support small businesses highly impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions to adapt and sustain their operations, and build resilience.
Some employers will have their payroll tax for two months refunded and will not need to pay it for the next three months. All employers can defer payroll tax until 2021.
$500 rebate will be automatically applied to the energy bills of eligible businesses and rent relief is available for those renting government premises.
Business planning advice is also available.
The government is also asking that businesses complete a Business Impact Survey to better help them plan for the support that is needed.
Local government relief packages
Local government is also beginning to offer an extensive range of support to businesses.
Many are waiving some of their fees, charges, rents, etc and applying hardship arrangements to outstanding debts. Some councils are providing rate relief and deferring or reducing infrastructure charges. Others are putting on more staff to expedite approvals. They are bringing forward payments to contractors and accelerating their asset maintenance works to keep money flowing to local companies.
For the full list of what’s on offer in your area contact your local council or in south east Queensland visit the SEQ COVID-19 Relief Portal.
Business continuity plans help you prepare and plan your business for an incident or crisis. They can also help manage your continued operations afterwards.
If you're asked to provide a business continuity plan, the Australian Government's Business website has some good resources that explain why you need a business continuity plan and what should be included.
The JobKeeper payment, which was originally due to run until 27 September 2020, will now continue to be available to eligible businesses (including the self-employed) and not-for-profits until 28 March 2021.
The payment rate of $1,500 per fortnight for eligible employees and business participants will be reduced to $1,200 per fortnight from 28 September 2020 and to $1,000 per fortnight from 4 January 2021. From 28 September 2020, lower payment rates will apply for employees and business participants that worked fewer than 20 hours per week.
From 28 September 2020, businesses and not-for-profits seeking to claim the JobKeeper Payment will be required to demonstrate that they have suffered an ongoing significant decline in turnover using actual GST turnover (rather than projected GST turnover).
From 28 September 2020, businesses will be required to reassess their eligibility with reference to their actual GST turnover in each of the quarters starting March 2020 to remain eligible. The eligibility remains as a 30% reduction in turnover for businesses with less than a 1 billion turnover.
Other eligibility rules for businesses and not-for-profits and their employees remain unchanged.
The JobKeeper Payment will continue to be made by the ATO to employers in arrears. Employers will continue to be required to make payments to employees equal to, or greater than, the amount of the JobKeeper Payment (before tax), based on the payment rate that applies to each employee. This is called the wage condition.
Employee eligibility criteria
- were employed by the employer at 1 March 2020;
- are currently employed by the employer (including those stood down or re-hired);
- are full-time, part-time;
- are casuals, employed on a regular basis for longer than 12 months as at 1 March 2020;
- are at least 16 years of age;
- are an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, a protected special category visa, a non-protected special category visa who has been residing continually in Australia for 10 years or more, or a New Zealander on a special category (subclass 444) visa (all other temporary visa holders are not currently eligible); AND
- Are not in receipt of a JobKeeper Payment from another employer.
Apprentices and trainees are eligible for the JobKeeper payment, provided that they meet all of the relevant employee eligibility requirements.
Employers are not eligible to receive both the JobKeeper Payment and the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees wage subsidy.
Contact us for more information concerning employment conditions and stand down issues relating to the JobKeeper Payment, a sample JobKeeper notice for employees or read the JobKeeper work arrangements which deal with the JobKeeper Payment and the Fair Work Act.