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Wednesday, 25 March 2020
Issue 3.0 

The Federal Government has now announced its Stage 2 response – with a Stage 3 response imminent. A full list of Stage 1 and 2 restrictions can be accessed HERE.

Stage 2 restrictions will commence at midnight tonight in Victoria.

The Premier has stated:

“supermarkets, petrol stations, banks, post offices and bottle shops – and a number of other essential services – will be staying open.”

Yesterday’s Update drew attention to VACC’s heavy lobbying at a national and state level to have the automotive industry considered essential. We await government’s response.

Our thoughts are with all our members during this difficult time, especially where members and staff have family and friends working on the frontline of this crisis.

As always, please contact VACC via reception, your Area Manager, Industrial Relations or Industry Policy Advisor to discuss any concerns you may have.

Businesses can also call the Business Victoria coronavirus hotline on 13 22 15 for more information.

Members can also access the VACC website: NEWS section that is constantly updated.

I encourage you to read this update in its entirety, despite its length, as it covers a lot of important information. We have tried to be as concise as possible.

1.  Stage 2 – What it means for automotive

Members are reminded that unless automotive members fall into one of the listed categories, they can continue to operate their businesses, but with all due care taken to maximise social distancing. Where staff can work from home, employers should consider the option seriously.

Members will note that auction houses have been named amongst the measures.

Please note that vehicle auction houses cannot conduct public auctions BUT, importantly, online operations can continue.

Affected VACC members should contact VACC Industrial Relations for support.

Read more HERE.

2.  Updated COVID – 19 Employer Guide

You may be aware that we have reformatted the March 2020 COVID-19 Employer Guide that was sent out in a VACC Bulletin link on 17 March.  There was a text overlay on page 7 that has been addressed. The updated booklet is available on the original Bulletin, and can also be accessed HERE.

3.  Tech sector bands together to offer small businesses free software

Australian small and medium sized businesses are being offered free access to software to help them work remotely, with some of the world's biggest technology companies banding together to do their bit in the COVID-19 war effort. Peak tech industry body the Australian Information Industry Association has created a new Australian Business Continuity online resource centre.

It’s aimed at helping small businesses, government departments, students, and other employees to remain connected and productive following office closures.

4.  Australian Government text message regarding Coronavirus
     prevention steps

Every Australian mobile phone will be sent a text message from the Australian Government with important steps each person can take to protect their own health, the health of their families and the health of the whole community from the coronavirus.

5.  Corporate Governance – Information from the Australian Institute of
     Company Directors

The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) has developed a comprehensive online resource for companies and their directors navigating these difficult times. This includes information on:

  • Reprioritised regulatory work programs;
  • What directors need to know about the lifting of the director labiality for insolvent trading 
  • Advice on whether you can turn your business around – restructuring.

Further information is available HERE.

6.  Early access to superannuation

Individuals can access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. They will be able to apply for early release of their superannuation from mid-April 2020.

To understand eligibility, how to apply and timings, click HERE

N.B People accessing their superannuation will not need to pay tax on amounts released and the money they withdraw will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

7.  Cross border arrangements

Several state road managers have placed restrictions on cross-border movements this week as a control measure against the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

All governments are committed to ensuring that freight continues, with individual states issuing the definitions of who is exempt from restrictions at their border. You can access the list HERE.

8.  Amenity restrictions lifted from essential freight permits

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has agreed to waive restrictions on all curfew permits, except those related to safety and access, to move general freight and grocery deliveries as part of the national response to coronavirus (COVID-19).  You can access more detail HERE.

9.  Support available to business

As members will be aware, the State and Federal Goverments have announced various business response measures.

VACC has developed a summary document
HERE for members to reference.

VACC understands that some of this information may be confusing and difficult to interpret.

In some instances, such measures are still waiting for passage through parliament. VACC will advise of any updates as they become available.

Should you require professional assistance, please contact VACC and we can help connect you with the most appropriate service provider.

10.  VACC update to members on Federal Government's $50 million and
       Victorian Government Payroll Tax assistance

VACC is aware of the frustration experienced by VACC members who do not qualify for cash flow assistance for their business due to not qualifying under the $50 million turnover criteria.

VACC also understands members are frustrated at not qualifying for a full payroll tax waiver for 2019-20 as their payroll is more than the threshold of $3 million.

Please be assured that both VACC and MTAA, with our professional service advisors, are in constant communication with both levels of Government.  We are seeking a review of the turnover thresholds.

VACC action for affected members

VACC has advised government that analysis of a large sample of VACC member sourced data suggests approximately 75 per cent of new car dealerships will not qualify for either package.

All of our lines into government are aware that right now, for our industry, the absolute focus is about community health, jobs and your survival.

At some stage soon, VACC will request your individual participation in meetings and forums with government.

Your story is vital.

Please continue to email with your thoughts on the issues raised.

Geoff Gwilym
Chief Executive Officer

Disclaimer:  The information gathered has been drawn from a number of sources and VACC strongly recommends that members revert to the primary source of information for any clarification.