MOST BUSINESSES THIS YEAR HAVE EXPERIENCED FINANCIAL HARDSHIP AS A RESULT OF COVID-19.  To assist the Australian Government has released a new initiative Business Balance which will provide$7 million in 2020-2021 in support of small businesses. Additionally, for those who are suffering emotionally and mentally the Government is also providing $4.3 million in funding to expand Beyond Blue’s NewAccess program to deliver tailored, free mental health support to small business owners. This program will provide confidential mental health coaching for anyone feeling stressed or overwhelmed about everyday life issues free of charge.

The “NewAccess is also designed to provide accessible, quality services for business owners finding it hard to manage life stress. The program uses low-intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy practices and aims to help people break the cycle of negative or unhelpful thoughts.

Reports of several doctors is that they have been swamped with patient demand for mental health support and the Government believes that this is where the support services provided through NewAccess can play a valuable role. The program is designed to provide practical tools to help individuals manage unhelpful thoughts and get them back on track. 

NewAccess is funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health via Primary Health Networks (PHNs) across Australia, who commission service providers to deliver NewAccess in their region.

To access a NewAccess coach phone 1300 22 4636 or visit https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/newaccess/where-are-your-access-coaches-located

NEW SALARY SUBSIDY PROGRAM
The Australian Government has announced a $2 billion JobTrainer skills package, to reform the Vocational Education and Training sector and keep apprentices in jobs. In partnership with the states and territories, more Australians will have access to free, or low cost, training places in areas of identified skills needs through the establishment of a new $1 billion JobTrainer fund.

The JobTrainer program which was recently announced aims to provide school leavers with free or low-cost training.  Salon owners who are seeking to access cost-effective staffing options for simple tasks can now take advantage of a wage subsidy.

The program will include $500 million from the Australian Government this year, with a matched contribution being sought from state and territory governments. The JobTrainer fund will provide for around 340,700 additional training places to help school leavers and job seekers gain the skills they need to get a job. A further $1.5 billion will be made available to expand and extend the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees wage subsidy. Eligibility for the subsidy will be expanded to include medium-sized businesses with 199 employees or fewer who had an apprentice in place on 1 July 2020.

The Government is supporting small business to retain their apprentices and trainees. Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice or trainee’s wages paid until 31 March 2021. Subsidies will also be available to any new employer who re-engages an eligible apprentice that was displaced by an eligible small or medium sized business.

Eligibility criteria: 
Your business could be eligible of you employ fewer than 20 people; or you’re a small business with fewer than 20 people, using a Group Training Organisation and the apprentice or trainee was undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship with you on 1 July 2020 for claims after this date. Claims prior to 1 July 2020, will continue to be based on the 1 March 2020 eligibility date.

Any employer (including all small, medium or large businesses and Group Training Organisations) who re-engages an apprentice or trainee displaced from an eligible small or medium business may also be eligible for the subsidy.