03 5434 6123 [email protected]

Dear valued Bendigo Tourism member,

I write to you in light of the developing situation with coronavirus (COVID -19). As you may already be aware, many significant major events have been cancelled, rescheduled, or postponed in our annual events calendar for 2020.

The Bendigo Easter Fair and the Bendigo Writers Festival to identify a few for example.

It is entirely likely that other events will be cancelled (even if they involve fewer than 500 people) as event organisers and Council seek to make the most responsible decision to protect the wellbeing of our community members.

The City of Greater Bendigo is very aware of the negative impacts that event cancellations and travel bans will have on tourism operators in Greater Bendigo. We are working together to find ways to support local business in other ways during this difficult period. This is a rapidly changing situation and the City is doing its best to keep up to date with advice and make decisions for the wider community. It is heartening to see many businesses already taking action and adapting their practices to ensure their business can continue to operate in the short term, while limiting the risk of infection.

We are pleased to share with you the following comprehensive information as prepared by Be.Bendigo where you will find helpful and useful links to assistance programs currently on offer to businesses.

Morrison stimulus package: What it means for business

The Morrison Government’s plan to keep business in business and Australians in jobs provides direct support for business including payments for business, wage subsidies for apprentices and trainees and enhancing the instant asset write-off:

  • Tax-free cashflow boost for employers. Up to $25,000 is available to help pay wages or for investment to protect against a downturn in activity. The payment is open to businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million. Eligible businesses that withhold tax on employee salary and wages will automatically receive a payment equal to 50% of the amount withheld. The minimum payment is $2,000 and maximum is $25,000 and will be available for businesses who lodge business activity statements for the March and June quarters. Read the fact sheet 
  • Apprentice wage subsidy. Small businesses with fewer than 20 full-time workers will receive 50% of an apprentice or trainee’s wage. For each apprentice or trainee, the Government will provide up to $7,000 in wage assistance per quarter. The wage subsidy will be open to businesses with fewer than 20 full-time workers and employers of any size that re-employ someone who loses their position as a result of the coronavirus downturn. Read the Fact sheet
  • Boosted instant asset write-off. Businesses with turnover of less than $500 million are eligible for an expanded instant asset write-off for asset investments of up to $150,000. The threshold applies on per asset basis, so businesses can immediately write-off multiple assets. Read the Fact sheet
  • Accelerated depreciation. Businesses with turnover less than $500 million will be able to access a 15 month investment incentive by accelerating depreciation deductions. Read the Fact sheet
  • Help from the ATO. The ATO will provide administrative relief for certain tax obligations (similar to relief provided following the bushfires) for taxpayers affected by the Coronavirus outbreak, on a case-by-case basis. Contact the ATO on 1800 806 218 or visit the ATO website at ato.gov.au for more information.
  • Income support. People who are unable to attend work because they have been diagnosed with the Coronavirus or who are in isolation, may qualify for income support if they do not have any employer leave entitlements. Read the Fact sheet
If your business is being affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) there are resources that can help:

Up to date health information and guidance

Visit the Australian Government Coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert.
Visit Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services or for simplified Chinese translations visit the information page for the Chinese community. For other languages please call the Translating and Interpreting Services on 131 450.
The Victorian Chamber’s advice on protecting your employees.
You can also find a collection of coronavirus (COVID-19) resources in both English and Simplified Chinese at the Australian Government Department of Health. For example:
For current travel advice check the Smart Traveller website.

Workplace impacts

We encourage employees and employers to work together to find appropriate solutions that suit the needs of individual workplaces and staff.
For information and assistance on any aspect of your employment obligations, the Victorian Chamber Workplace Relations Advice Line (03) 8662 5222 can help

WorkSafe Victoria
WorkSafe Victoria are working as part of a whole-of-government approach to mitigate the risk of Coronavirus in Victoria.
As part of this approach, WorkSafe Victoria have produced guidance to ensure that employers understand their obligations in relation to protecting employees from risks to their health, and that employees know what controls should be in place. The guidance includes:

Financial impacts

If the impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19) are causing financial hardship for your business, your bank may have practical ways to help. Australian banks have hardship teams ready to assist you with your financial arrangements, depending on your circumstances.
Download the fact sheet to see some of the ways your bank can help you when you’re experiencing financial difficulty and see a list of Australian bank hardship team contact details.
The Small Business Mentoring Service offers low-cost sessions with a diverse range of mentors that can help you to navigate difficult business decisions, prepare business continuity plans, review your business strategy or revise your business plans. Or a free 45-minute session with an experienced business adviser is available via the Small Business Bus.
Stress savvy in business and Heads Up for Small Business have advice and resources to help you look after your own mental health and manage mental health issues you may experience in the workplace.
Support is also available to you and your family from Lifeline (13 11 14) and Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636 or online chat).


Trade and export assistance

The Australian Government’s Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC) provide Australian businesses with export finance solutions and may be able to assist. They provide export loans, guarantees, bonds and buyer finance solutions help businesses access finance.
The Victorian Chamber’s international consulting services can guide you through the global marketplace, providing support, strategies and practical advice.


Other resources:

See your local Victorian Government Business Office (VGBO) – staffed with Business Development Managers (BDMs) who are specialists in business and industry, they can support you and help you navigate any relevant government services, programs and regulations.

Please download and employer guide below to prepare your workplace in the face of an outbreak

COVID-19 Guide

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me or my team members. We will provide more information as it becomes available.

We want to reiterate the Department of Health’s encouragement to practice increased cleanliness measures such as thorough hand washing to help stop the spread of infection. 

Until then, we thank you for your understanding as we all find out what this health crisis will mean for all of us.

Terry Karamaloudis