Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.
Borders are reopening!
After closing its international borders for nearly 600 days, Australia is now open to foreign visitors starting on Monday, as restrictions gradually lift.
Fully vaccinated travelers from New Zealand who test negative in pre-departure tests can now enter and avoid quarantine in NSW.
The next set of foreign travelers who can visit Australia will be those from Singapore. From 21 November, fully vaccinated travelers can enter NSW and Victoria without quarantine, but would have to test negative in pre-departure COVID-19 tests.
Sydney to Ease COVID-19 Restrictions Ahead of Schedule
Sydney will lift more COVID-19 restrictions for vaccinated residents ahead of schedule next week.
From 8 November, vaccinated individuals will be allowed unlimited numbers of guests in their homes. Pubs and clubs will also be able to accommodate more guests– earlier than the initial plan of 1 December.
However, unvaccinated people will remain under tough restrictions until 15 December or when NSW’s double vaccination rates hit 95%. Currently, around 88% of the state’s population has been fully vaccinated.
Spending Increases as Lockdowns are Lifted
As COVID-19 restrictions ease across the country, spending tracked 20% higher than the corresponding week of 2019, according to the weekly credit and debit card spending data from the Commonwealth Bank.
National spending is on track to hit the growth levels seen earlier in 2021, which averaged at 22% above pre-pandemic figures in late April and early May 2019.
Job ads increase 6.2% in October
Job advertisements increased sharply in October as Sydney and Melbourne started to lift lockdowns. The latest figures from Australia and New Zealand Banking Group showed total job ads climbed 6.2% in October from September, when they fell 2.8%.
The official jobless rate has declined by more than expected this year to hit 4.6% in September.
COVID-19 Disaster Payment Changes in Victoria
Now that 80% of the population in Victoria have been fully vaccinated, changes to the COVID-19 Disaster Payment will come into effect.
Aside from the decrease in payment rate over a two-week period before it stops, people would need to apply each week to ensure they remain eligible.
In the first week after a state or territory reaches the 80% milestone, people can apply for:
- $450 if they’ve lost 8 hours or a full day’s work or more
- $100 if they’re getting a Centrelink or Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) income support payment and have lost work.
In the second and final week after reaching 80% the payment:
- rate decreases to $320 for those who have lost 8 hours or a full day’s work or more
- stops for people getting a Centrelink or DVA income support payment.
Australia Ratifies Asia Free Trade Deal
Australia has ratified a massive free trade deal with Asia Pacific countries. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership that involves Australia, New Zealand and 13 other countries will be the world’s biggest trade agreement, covering 2.2 billion people and 29 per cent of global economic output.
Australia’s businesses will have access to the deal, which will bring nine of the nation’s top 15 trading partners into a single economic framework, from 1 January 2022.
Federal Budget Set for a Post-Lockdown Bounce
Australia’s federal budget is set for a post-lockdown increase before settling into deficits of $60 billion a year because of higher spending in social services and defence.
According to Deloitte Access Economics’ budget monitor, cumulative deficits are projected to be $45 billion lower than expected over the next four years. However, in 2024-25 the deficit will be at least $36 billion on announced policies and it’s tipped to reach $60 billion including $25bn of new spending not yet announced.
The report also says ongoing shortfall in future budgets could only be wiped out by raising GST to 17% or increasing marginal income tax by 5.5%.
Exports to China Increasing Despite Trade War
Australia’s exports to China have increased by 24% from the previous year to hit over $180 billion as of the latest August data, according to research firm Oxford Economics.
Relations between the two countries have been affected since last year after Australia supported a call for a global inquiry into China’s handling of its initial COVID-19 outbreak. Tensions have then filtered into Chinese sanctions on Australian goods.
Despite this, exports to China have held up remarkably well. Australia is one of the few developed countries that enjoys a trade surplus with China, its largest trading partner.
JobMaker Hiring Credit Payments for 3rd Period
JobMaker Hiring Credit payments can be claimed by 31 October 2021 for additional eligible employees hired between 7 April 2021 and 6 July 2021. Eligible businesses can claim for up to a year for each additional eligible employee hired between 7 October 2020 and 6 October 2021. Get in touch with us for assistance in your claim.
Single Touch Payroll (STP) Quarterly Reporting Due Dates
From 1 July 2021, small employers must report any closely held payees through STP. Reports can be done every pay day or quarterly. Also, STP quarterly reporting concessions for micro employers are only available to those who meet certain eligibility requirements, including the need for exceptional circumstances to exist.
We can help you apply for this concession on your behalf. Those who haven’t started reporting through STP and don’t have a deferral or exemption must start reporting now.
Upcoming Key Dates for November 2021
Here are the upcoming key dates for the month of November:
22 Nov 2021
- October monthly BAS due
29 Nov 2021
- September quarter SG charge statement due
Change in Super Rules from 1 November for Your New Employees
There’s a change that involves an extra step to comply with ‘choice of fund’ rules when a new employee starts working for you. Currently, if new hires don’t choose their own Super fund, the employer can pay Super contributions for them to your default fund.
Starting 1 November, employers will need to request their ‘stapled super fund’ details from the ATO. A stapled super fund is an existing account which is linked to an employee, and this change in rules aim to minimise the number of additional Super accounts opened each time an individual starts a new job.
You can use online services for business to request for your new hires’ stapled super fund details. If you need help with your tax and super, get in touch with us!
Changes for Directors starting in November: Identification Number Needed
All directors of a company will need a director identification number (director ID) from November.
The director identification number is a unique identifier that allows shareholders, creditors, employees, and consumers to know certain details about the directors of a company. All directors are required by law to verify their identity with the Australian Business Registry Services before receiving a director ID.
All directors need to apply for their own ID so while we can’t apply for this on your behalf, we can help you if you have any questions.
You can also follow the steps for application here.
Support for Apprentices to be Expanded
The $3.9 billion Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program will extend support into the second and third year of an eligible Australian Apprenticeship through the $716 million Completing Apprenticeship Commencements program.
From October, eligible employers will receive a 10% wage subsidy in the second year of an eligible apprenticeship, and 5% in the third year. The government’s investment is expected to continue to support the 270,000 anticipated commencements under the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program from October 2020 to March 2022.
COVID-19 Government Support By State and Industry
Small businesses that are currently suffering from lockdowns can get financial assistance to help them get through the pandemic. You can find the latest government support schemes for each state or territory here.
The impacts of the COVID-19 restrictions vary from one industry to another. Here, you’ll find the latest government financial assistance available for particular industries.
Get in touch
Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.