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Tuesday, 14 April 2020
Issue 15.0 

Earlier today I released a bulletin relaying advice received from the Office of the Minister for Police, the Hon Lisa Neville MP.  VACC had written to the Minister seeking clarity of messaging for staff and consumers travelling to automotive businesses.

The Minister’s office provided the following advice:

VACC is correct in that the automotive trade is not being prohibited from work or opening, so staff can work, and customers engage as appropriate and consistent with the CHO requirements around density quotients and physical distancing.

Accordingly, the Office of the Minister for Police has provided VACC's correspondence to the Chief Commissioner’s office to ensure it informs the ongoing messaging to police members during this time.

In addition, police officers are not meant to be stopping people from travelling for work or restricting trade of businesses that can and should remain open as long as they are maintaining density quotients and physical distancing.

 

VACC encourages you to print a copy of this bulletin and provide a copy to each of your staff members. Staff should produce this document to any law enforcement agency that is querying your businesses operational status or for when staff are legitimately travelling to and from work.

VACC would also encourage you to provide a copy of this bulletin to each of your consumers who is on your respective data bases or who is booked in for a service or repair during the COVID-19 crisis.

VACC reminds all members regarding the requirements around density quotients and physical distancing.


1.  VACC WEBSITE

VACC has made it easier for members to locate COVID-19 information on our website.

Members can simply click on the coronavirus banner on the Home Page and you will be taken to the dashboard displayed below.  Alternatively, members can access the dashboard via the following link: https://vacc.com.au/News/COVID-19 or under the News tab.  If the below dashboard doesn’t appear, hit Ctrl and F5 together to refresh the page.


2.  INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

JobKeeper Payment Employer Guide – Edition 3 and Temporary New Schedule in Awards


Last Thursday, members received a bulletin from VACC’s Industrial Relations department providing updated information on the newly passed JobKeeper package and the temporary new schedule in Awards.  It covers:

  • Temporary New Schedule in Awards - New Unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave amendments
  • Unpaid pandemic leave
  • Notice and evidence
  • Annual leave


Members can read the Bulletin HERE.

The 3rd Edition of the Employer Guide can be accessed HERE.

3.  GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENTS

State of emergency for coronavirus extended


The State of Emergency in Victoria is being extended for another four weeks to give the Victorian Government the powers it needs to keep slowing the spread of coronavirus and save lives.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Sunday that the State of Emergency declared last month would be extended until midnight 11 May 2020 to continue the measures designed to ‘flatten the curve’ of coronavirus and give our health system the best chance of managing the virus. The State of Emergency was originally due to expire on 13 April.

Under a State of Emergency, Authorised Officers, at the direction of the Chief Health Officer, can act to eliminate or reduce a serious risk to public health by detaining people, restricting movement, preventing entry to premises, or providing any other direction an AO considers reasonable to protect public health.

Additional funding for state’s mental health system during crisis

The Victorian Government has announced a funding boost to support Victoria’s mental health system, as demand for services spikes during the coronavirus crisis.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley have announced a $59.4 million package to help meet demand as Victorians reach out for help with stress, isolation and uncertainty.

For more information about managing stress and support options, call the Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Services on 1800 512 348  or visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au 


4.  DEALERSHIPS

Impact of COVID-19 on Victorian Dealers


VACC’s Victorian Automotive Dealers Association has been collecting member data over the past three weeks to better understand the true impact of the coronavirus on trading.

Data was collected from 70 VADA dealerships, including a cross section of dealership costs centres (new and used cars, service and repair, finance and insurance, parts sales and human resources).

Key results:

  • On average dealers have reduced staff by 23.7%
  • Daily sale of motor vehicle down by 69.2%
  • Daily sale of finance contract down by 72.8%
  • Daily parts sales down 28%
  • Daily service cancellation/no show at 10.11 per dealership


VACC is encouraging members to forward these statistics to local, state and federal politicians to demonstrate the need for genuine assistance. This is in light of dealerships not qualifying for 5 out of 6 relief packages due to existing thresholds.

For more information contact Michael McKenna mmckenna@vacc.com.au.


5.  FRANCHISING

Announcement by Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash


The Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, has issued a media release in relation to franchisors requiring franchisees to pay fees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The media release encourages franchisors to assist their franchisees and employees in this difficult time, while reminding them of their obligation to act in good faith.

Minister’s Cash media release can be read HERE.

Contact points for franchisors and franchisees needing assistance

Any small business, whether a franchisor or a franchisee, wishing to discuss concerns about conduct during the COVID-19 crisis can contact the following agencies:

  • The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, which has a role in providing advocacy and assistance to small businesses. They also provide administrative support to the Government appointed Franchising Mediation Adviser by assisting parties with access to low cost mediation services. It can be contacted on 1300 650 460 or email info@asbfeo.gov.au.
     
  • State Small Business Commissioner or Advocate (where one is available), who can also assist with franchising and small business matters such as commercial leases.  It can also provide referrals to mediation services.
     
  • The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, who is monitoring the impact of COVID-19 as part of its regulatory activities. It issued a media release recently on its approach to its compliance and enforcement priorities in response to COVID-19: https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/accc-response-to-covid-19-pandemic.
    The ACCC can be contacted through its make a general enquiry form or by calling its Small Business Helpline on 1300 302 021, Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5.30pm AEST/AEDT.


6.  TASMANIA

Stronger restrictions for north west Tasmania: car repairs can remain open


The Tasmanian Government has announced further restrictions on trading due to the sudden rise in coronavirus cases in the north west of Tasmania.

New restrictions will be in place businesses located in the following areas:

  • Burnie
  • Waratah-Wynyard
  • Circular Head
  • West Coast
  • Latrobe
  • Kentish
  • Devonport
  • Central Coast


Importantly, the announcement proves an exemption for car repairs, but notes new and used car sales are closed.

Read the government’s Factsheet HERE.

Read the government’s Factsheet on securing the north west health services HERE.



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.