The federal government’s billion-dollar stimulus package to assist Australian small businesses has been welcomed by the hospitality industry.
The package, designed to provide temporary relief, will allow businesses to access instant write-offs along with a raft of other initiatives such as cash payments for hiring and paying staff and $1.3 billion to keep apprentices in the job.
“Australia is not immune to the global coronavirus challenge, but we have already taken steps to prepare for this looming international economic crisis,” said Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
“The economy needs temporary help right now to bounce back better so the livelihoods of all Australians are protected.”
Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) CEO Wes Lambert welcomed the announcement by the Morrison Government.
Mr Lambert said that the restaurant, café and catering industry is suffering the effects of the coronavirus with travel bans, lack of consumer confidence and economic uncertainty hitting hardest.
“This stimulus is sorely needed, and it is needed right now. There are thousands of restaurants, cafes and catering companies who are feeling the pinch, and these measures give a glimmer of hope to those businesses who are in the middle some really tough times”, Mr Lambert said.
“By encouraging small businesses to invest and consumers to spend, the government was targeting the areas of the economy that need it most.
“Our members are telling us that what they need more than anything else is customers walking in the door and support to help keep staff employed, we are glad that the Federal Government has heeded our calls to back both businesses and households to help get the Australian economy through this period.”
Meanwhile, there have been calls for the introduction of measures to assist casual workers who do not have access to paid sick leave – a large proportion of the hospitality industry.
Attorney general Christian Porter held a round table on the issue on Tuesday, March 10, which was attended by several union representatives and business groups.
Porter said many people would have “already made provisions” should they be faced with a two-week quarantine period due to the coronavirus.
“The purpose of casual employment is that you’re paid extra in-lieu of the types of entitlements,” he said.
Government stimulus package – at a glance:
- $700 million to increase the instant asset write off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 and expand access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million) until 30 June 2020.
- $3.2 billion to back business investment by providing a time limited 15 month investment incentive through to 30 June 2021. This will support business investment and economic growth over the short term, by accelerating depreciation deductions.
- $6.7 billion to boost cash flow for employers by up to $25,000 with a minimum payment of $2,000 for eligible small and medium-sized businesses.
- $1.3 billion to support small businesses to support the jobs of around 120,000 apprentices and trainees.
- One-off payments of $750 will be paid to around 6.5 million lower-income Australians, including pensioners, other social security and veteran income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. This one-off payment will be paid from 31 March 2020.