JobMaker Hiring Credit

Employers now have more incentive to employ workers under 35! The JobMaker Hiring credit legislation has now been passed into law! This credit was part of the 2020-21 Budget, which will operate until 6 October 2022. It is designed to improve the prospects of young individuals getting employment following the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the labour market.


The scheme will be backdated to commence on 7 October 2020 and provide eligible employers with the following payments for up to 12 months for new jobs created for which they hire the following young workers:

• $200 a week for hiring a worker aged 16 to 29 for at least 20 hours a week and

• $100 a week for those aged 30 to 35.

Although the scheme is slated to run for just 12 months, that period is the hiring period – not the payment period. Eligible employers who hire an eligible employee as late as the last day of the scheme (6 October 2021), may be eligible for hiring credits for the subsequent 12 months until 6 October 2022.

Employer Eligibility

As an employer, you will be deemed eligible for JobMaker if the following criteria are met:

  • for the first 6 months of JobMaker, you have hired additional eligible employees (minimum of one additional employee). This is determined by a headcount as at 30 September 2020 and the payroll of the business for the reporting period, as compared to the three-months to 30 September 2020.
  • have an ABN,
  • are registered for PAYG withholding,
  • are up-to-date with lodgement obligations for the previous 2 years (including BAS and income tax returns) and
  • are reporting payroll through STP

You will not be deemed eligible if any of the following apply:

  • you are claiming JobKeeper for your business,
  • you have entities in liquidation or who have entered bankruptcy
  • your entity is a commonwealth, state, and local government agency (and entities wholly owned by these agencies)
  • you are subject to the major bank levy
  • your business is a sovereign entity (except those who are resident Australian entities owned by a sovereign entity.
Employee Eligibility

Employees will be eligible if they:

  • commenced employment between 7 October 2020 and 6 October 2021
  • were aged between 16 and 35 years at the time they commenced employment
  • have worked an average of 20-hours a week for each whole week the individual was employed by the qualifying entity during the JobMaker period.

Additionally, the worker must have met the pre-employment condition which requires that for at least 28 of the 84 days (i.e. for 4 out of 12 weeks) immediately BEFORE the commencement of employment of the individual, the individual was receiving one of the following payments:

  • parenting payment
  • youth allowance (except if the individual was receiving this payment on the basis that they were undertaking full time study or was a new apprentice) or
  • JobSeeker payment.

We note that the new worker must be in a genuine employment relationship. For example, ‘non-arms length’ employees will not be considered eligible employees. This includes family members of a family business, directors of a company and shareholders of a company.

A summary of the above can be downloaded here – this a nifty fact sheet from the ATO. Also from the ATO, is this useful JHC payment calculator. Further fact sheets and information can be found here on this ATO page.

If you have hired new employees from October 2020 or are planning to do so in the next 12 months and are interested in the JobMaker Hiring Credit program, please get in touch with us for further information and assistance.

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JobKeeper 2.0 – Determining Tier 1 or 2

JobKeeper 2.0 will see the introduction of two tiers of payment in both extension 1 & 2. The higher of the two payments, tier 1, will be for employees who worked 80 hours or more in the 4 weeks of pay periods before 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020. Employees working less than 80 hours in the above periods, will receive the lower payment i.e. tier 2.

What is included in tier 1 payments?

Tier 1 fortnightly payments of $1,200 (extension 1) and $1,000 (extension 2) include the following aspects:

  • For employees who performed 80 hours or more of work in the above periods (one or the other).
  • Calculating the hours can include actual hours worked, hours for paid leave (annual, long service, sick, carers and other paid leave) and hours paid for public holidays.
  • The calculation of hours relates to the end of the last pay cycle in the period, not the pay date. For example if the pay cycle ends on 28th June 2020 but payment was not processed until 7th July 2020, then you would include the pay cycle to 28th June and look backwards for 28 days.

What is included in tier 2 payments?

Tier 2 fortnightly payments of $750 (extension 1) and $650 (extension 2) include the following aspects:

  • The same reference periods as for tier 1 but less than 80 hours worked per employee.
  • The same calculation of hours as for tier 1.

What about eligible business participants (EBPs)?

  • The reference period for EBPs will be all of February 2020 i.e. the entire 29 days (being a leap year).
  • The two-payment tiers apply.
  • Eligibility will be based on an assessment of hours spent actively engaged in the business during Feb 2020. A declaration will need to be submitted but is not yet available at the date of this blog – it may end up being a written and signed statement. Records that may substantiate the hours worked by the EBP can include: diaries, appointment books, log books, hours billed or invoiced, invoices issued, time sheets and/or records prepared for other business or statutory purposes.

What else do we need to know?

  • Employers will need to nominate which tier their employees are on in order to qualify for payments. This will be done via STP in the accounting software during a payrun, prior to the start of JobKeeper 2.0 i.e. 28 September 2020. Eligible business participants can notify their tier choice via the business portal or ask their tax professional to do this for them.
  • Employers will need to advise their employees which tier they qualify for within 7 days of the STP submission.
  • There are alternative tests available regarding the reference period as above to help employers work out which tier applies to their staff. Alternative tests are also be available for EBPs.
  • The ATO has extended the wage condition date for October to October 31 2020. This means that employers will have until 31 October to ensure they have paid their staff correctly depending on which payment tier applies.
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JobKeeper 2.0

The JobKeeper program will be extended to 28 March 2021 for eligible businesses. JobKeeper 2.0 will be split into 2 extension periods being quarter 2 and quarter 3 of the 2020-21 financial year. Businesses will need to prove their decline in turnover again, even if they are currently receiving the payments as part of JobKeeper 1.0. The reference date for assessing employee eligibility has moved to 1 July 2020. The payment amount for each extension will be reduced and will reference two tiers depending on the number of hours employees worked in 2 relevant periods. Read on to learn about the specific details of each extension period.

JobKeeper 2.0 Extension 1

Extension period 1 will be from 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021. Businesses and not-for-profits seeking to claim JobKeeper will need to establish that they endured a decline in turnover for the July to September 2020 period as compared to the same period last year (basic test). The decline calculation will be based on actual GST turnover* and will be the same method used for BAS lodgement i.e. cash or accruals (non-GST registered businesses can choose cash or accruals reporting). The percentages used for turnover will remain the same as per JobKeeper 1.0. There are alternative tests available to assist you in determining turnover decline should you fail the basic test. You can test for a:

Working through the alternative tests is quite an onerous task and is not for the faint-hearted! We have found a great test calculator via MCA Accountants’ website and we thank them for their contribution in assisting small business to navigate their way around the JobKeeper maze!

If you are receiving JobKeeper payments from JobKeeper 1.0, you will not need to re-enrol or ask employees to provide a new nomination declaration (but new employees will need to provide one). Furthermore, the ATO will allow you to satisfy the wage condition for October 2020 as late as 31 October 2020, given the time constraints for businesses needing to assess their eligibility post the end of the September 2020 quarter.

Payment rates for extension period 1 will be reduced from that of JobKeeper 1.0. For employees who worked 80 hours or more in the four weeks of pay periods before either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020, the payment will be $1,200 per employee, per fortnight. For those working less than 80 hours during the periods as above, the payment will be $750 per fortnight. This will also apply to sole traders and other eligible business participants (EBPs), however, it should be noted that EBPs will only need to prove the working hours test for the period of February, so not June as well. EPBs will need to provide a declaration stating the hours they worked during February 2020. This declaration is not yet available via the ATO. There are also alternative tests available to prove employee working hours.

JobKeeper 2.0 Extension 2

Extension period 2 will be from 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021. To be eligible for this extension period, you must prove that your business or not-for-profit suffered an actual decline in GST turnover* for the period October to December 2020 as compared to the same period last year.

Payment rates for extension period 2 will be reduced from that of extension period 1. For employees who worked 80 hours or more in the four weeks of pay periods before either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020, the payment will be $1,000 per employee, per fortnight. For those working less than 80 hours during the periods as above, the payment will be $650 per fortnight. This also applies to sole traders and other business participants.

Employers and EBPs will need to nominate which payment tier applies to their employees or themselves prior to the start of JobKeeper 2.0. At the time of writing this blog, it is believed that this action will occur via STP in your accounting software.

The JobKeeper 2.0 program will continue to require the lodgement of a monthly report to the ATO to ensure and trigger receipt of payments. The report will require that you advise of your quarterly turnover and it is expected that the 2019 figures will be prefilled into the report. That being the case, if you haven’t yet lodged your 2019 Sept or Dec BAS’s, you should get your skates on and do this immediately to avoid payment delays. It should be noted that the ATO will review the figure you input into the monthly report for the September 2020 quarter against that of your actual lodged BAS – they will be watching and checking! Your previous monthly turnover figures will also need to be reported. It is unknown at the time of writing this blog whether you will need to provide a projected figure for the following month as you do currently.

*Note, the sale of business assets is included in the current GST turnover for the purposes of JobKeeper 2.0. This has changed from JobKeeper 1.0.

Employee Eligibility

For JobKeeper 2.0, the following eligiblity criteria apply:

  • must be employed by an eligible employer (even if stood down or re-hired)
  • be full or part time or if casual, be employed on a regular and systematic basis for at least 12 months as at 1 July 2020.
  • be 18 years old at 1 July 2020 (if 16 or 17, may qualify if dependent or not undertaking full time study)
  • is an Australian resident
  • is not receiving parental leave or Dad and Partner pay
  • is not receiving Australian worker compensation payments due to being incapable of working.
  • is in receipt of JobKeeper from only one employer
  • if self-employed, meets the turnover test for the relevant period and is not employed by another employer.

Download the fact sheet from the Treasury website for more details about JobKeeper 2.0 or view the details on the ATO website.

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JobKeeper 1.1

On 21 July 2020, the Government announced changes to the JobKeeper program. It will be extended until 28 March 2021. Information about the extended program can be found here. Those receiving JobKeeper payments under the current program, will continue to do so until 27 September 2020. While the current program remains essentially the same, there have been some minor changes as described below.

Changes to JobKeeper 1.0

The following aspects of the current JobKeeper program have changed:

  • The relevant date of employment to determine employee eligibility has moved from 1 March 2020 to 1 July 2020. This has been done to increase the number of eligible employees for JobKeeper and to further support businesses.
  • The actionable date for assessing employee eligibility was 3 August 2020. This means that employees under the 1 July test can be included in your JobKeeper claim for fortnights beginning 3 and 17 of August 2020.
  • If an employee’s employment ended with one employer prior to 1 July 2020, they may now be eligible to be nominated by a new employer.
  • Long term casuals will be eligible as long as you can show that they were employed on a regular and systematic basis for 12 months between 1 July 2019 and July 2020 and were not a permanent employee of any other employer.

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JobKeeper Payment

To help employers retain and/or re-engage their staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has introduced a new payment known now as JobKeeper. The fortnightly payments will be made directly to employers and will be for $1,500 before tax for each eligible employee for up to 6 months. Below is a summary of facts about this new payment. For those wanting further, more detailed information, it is recommended that you go to the Government Treasury website where you can also download several fact sheets. The ATO also have a good reference page to visit.


  • Employers in a business with an aggregated turnover of less than $1B and who can demonstrate a reduction in turnover of more than 30% this year compared to last year*
  • Employers in a business with an aggregated turnover of $1B or more and who can demonstrate a reduction in turnover of of more than 50% this year compared to last year*
  • Employers in most business structures including companies, trusts, partnerships, sole traders and not-for-profits and charities
  • Self-employed individuals (except those subject to bankruptcy)
  • Employers whose businesses are not subject to a Major Bank Levy or are in liquidation
  • One partner in a partnership can be nominated
  • One individual trust beneficiary can be nominated (in a group of beneficiaries)
  • One director of a company can be nominated

*Proving reduction of turnover will be this year in the month you apply compared to last year, or this year in the quarter you apply compared to last year. This will be based on whether your BAS is lodged monthly or quarterly. The ATO will be able to look at specific circumstances where your situation does not fit into the above criteria and apply their discretion. In this case, they offer alternative tests to apply. The turnover test is based on GST turnover but you don’t have to be registered for GST to apply the test.


Employees who were on the books as at 1 March 2020 including those who are/were:

  • Full time
  • Part time
  • Long-term casuals (must have been with their employer for at least 12 months as at 1 March 2020)
  • Stood down prior to the beginning of this measure
  • Stood down and then re-engaged by their employer
  • Not receiving JobKeeper payment from any other employer
  • Aged 18 and above as at 1 March 2020 (if you were 16 or 17 you can also qualify for fortnights before 11 May 2020 and continue to qualify after that if you are independent or not undertaking full time study)
  • Australian Citizens, holders of a permanent visa or a special category (subclass 444) Visa holder at 1 March 2020
  • Residents for Australian tax purposes on 1 March 2020
  • Note, those on full worker compensation payments ARE NOT eligible


This measure begins on 30 March 2020 and the first payments will be sent in the first week of May 2020. They will be made monthly in arrears, backdated from 30 March 2020 for a maximum of 6 months, ending on 27th September 2020.


  • You must advise your employees that they will receive JobKeeper payments and also advise those who may have applied to Services Australia (Centrelink) for income support to contact Centrelink and let them know about the changed arrangements
  • You must request each employee complete a nomination form. This form is for your records only and does not need to be returned to ATO
  • Payments to employees must be made in the first full payrun after 30 March 2020 – this may be weekly, fortnightly or monthly
  • Stood down employees can be back paid from 30 March 2020
  • Each employee must receive a minimum of $1,500 before tax per fortnight regardless if their wage prior to the JobKeeper scheme was less than $1,500. This must be done in order to receive the payments.
  • Employees who were receiving more than $1,500 gross per fortnight will continue to receive the same wages
  • JobKeeper payments are paid via your normal payroll systems and you may need to set up extra pay items to include these payments (ask your bookkeeper or tax professional to assist you here if necessary)
  • Set up for Xero Payroll
  • Set up for QBO Payroll
  • Set up for MYOB Payroll
  • Set up for Saasu Payroll
  • As these payments are made via your payroll system, you will also report them to the ATO via STP
  • JobKeeper payments are included on End of Year Income Statements
  • JobKeeper payments are not ordinary time earnings for superannuation purposes so do not apply the super guarantee to them
  • If employees are on paid leave, you can receive JobKeeper payments for them
  • Employees on unpaid leave will be eligible once they return to work
  • Leave entitlements only accrue on hours worked. The JobKeeper top up component of a wage to $1,500 does not accrue leave. Employees who have been stood down but are in receipt of JobKeeper payments, will accrue leave entitlements on those payments
  • You will need to report to the ATO on a monthly basis about your continued eligibility and that of your employees. You will report the number of eligible employees, provide your current and projected GST turnover and re-confirm your contact and bank details for payment


To enrol for JobKeeper payments log into your Business Portal via your myGov account. Select “manage employees” then the link you see for JobKeeper payment. Complete the form. See more details here. Your Tax or BAS Agent can also enrol your business for you on your behalf.

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The “Boosting Cash Flow for Employers” payment (PAYGW Boost Credit)

As part of the economic stimulus triggered by the Corona Virus pandemic, the Federal Government has introduced the “Boosting Cash flow for Employers” measure or as we like to call it, the PAYGW Boost Credit. This measure promises to “refund” the PAYG withholding reported on the BAS or IAS by employers back into their integrated client accounts (ICA) as an offset against any existing BAS/IAS debt. To be clear, this is not a supply of cash to employers into their banks. This is simply crediting PAYGW back into the ICA to effectively reduce BAS/IAS debt. The only time an employer will see any cash is when a refund is created because the PAYGW credit is more than the whole activity statement debt. So who gets these payments, how much do they get and how do they get it? Read on to find out!


Businesses will be eligible for this stimulus measure if they:

  • Held an ABN on 12 March 2020 and continue to be active
  • Are a small or medium business including NFP, sole trader, partnership, company and trust entities.
  • Have an aggregated turnover under $50M
  • Have made payments from which they have been required to withhold (even if this a zero amount). Such payments may include salary and wages, director’s fees, eligible termination payments, compensation payments and withholding from contractor fees.
  • Have made GST taxable, GST free or input taxed sales in a previous tax period since 1 July 2018 and lodged a relevant BAS on or before 12 March 2020.


PAYG withholding amounts will be credited back to the integrated client account (ICA) of between $20K and $50K. These credits are not income and as such will not be taxed. The do not have to be repaid ever. The good thing is that the PAYG withholding you report on your BAS will still be tax deductible. Note, if you have a tax debt on your ICA, the credit boost amount will simply pay down that debt.


These credits will be applied in two stages to integrated client accounts after 28th April 2020 and after the March 2020 quarter or monthly BAS is lodged. You do not have to apply for this measure, AND you do not receive any actual cash – this is credit only, not cash paid to your bank. The second stage credit will be applied in quarter 1 of 2020-21.


Put simply, there are 2 payment stages for this measure. The first stage is a payment of up to $50K based on the amount of PAYGW reported on the March 2020 BAS. Examples below:

Quarterly Lodgers

If your March 2020 BAS shows a PAYGW amount of $12,000, this amount will be credited back to your ICA. In your June 2020 BAS, if a $14,000 PAYGW is reported, then this will also be sent back to the ICA. So far, a total of $26,000 has been credited. This is the first stage amount. The second stage amount will be the same as the first one i.e. $26,000 and will be credited to your ICA split evenly across June to September 2020.

Monthly Lodgers

If your March 2020 BAS shows a PAYGW amount of $12,000, this amount is multiplied by 3 (to take up amounts for January and February 2020) to give you a credit of $36,000. April, May and June 2020 BAS’s will continue to be lodged which may or may not total more than $50K. For this example, let’s say April was $10,000, May was $8,000 and June was $6,000. This will be a total PAYGW of $60,000. As the first stage payable can be no more than $50K, then $50K is all that will be credited to your ICA. The second stage payment will also be $50K.

What if my PAYGW is less than $10K or zero in my March 2020 BAS?

In this case, you will be credited $10K in the first stage of credits and another $10K in the second stage for a total of $20K.

PAYGW Boost Credit Calculator

Here is a great calculator to assist you to work out how much your PAYGW boost credit might be:

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JobSeeker Payment

The JobSeeker payment will be delivered by Centrelink, now known as Services Australia. It is a new payment designed to assist those who have lost their jobs or had had their income reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are the details about this payment:

  • To be eligible, you must be between 22 and Age Pension age (those under 22 may be able to claim Youth Allowance).
  • You must be a permanent employee who has been stood down or lost your job, a sole trader, self-employed, a casual or contract worker whose income has reduced, or caring for someone who has been affected by Coronavirus.
  • To register you intent to claim for this payment, you do not need to go to Centrelink. You can do this via your MyGov account (ensure you are linked to Medicare, ATO and/or Centrelink).
  • When you log into MyGov, you will be prompted to register your intention to claim the JobSeeker Payment.
  • After registering, you will be contacted (in time) to complete your application for this payment.
  • Income testing may apply (see below).
  • If you are receiving payments for annual or sick leave or income protection insurance, you will not be eligible for JobSeeker payment until those payments have ceased.
  • You will be required to look for work whilst on JobSeeker payments, however, this requirement has been temporarily lifted up to and including Friday 22 May 2020.
  • Sole traders and self-employed people now earning less than $1,075.00 per fortnight will not have to look for work whilst on JobSeeker payments as long as they continue to operate their businesses. Note, JobSeeker payments are income tested. If your partner earns more than $79,762 a year, you will not be eligible for JobSeeker.
  • Payments will begin on April 27 and will be available for at least six months.

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COVID-19 and Payroll Tax

During the Corona Virus pandemic, the following states have decided to either waive or defer payments of payroll tax. See below for further information.


For those businesses with a payroll of less than $3M, payroll tax for the whole 2019-20 financial year will be waived.

Also on offer is a deferral of payroll tax payments for businesses as above for the first 3 months of the 2020-21 financial year.

The State Revenue Office will contact eligible businesses by email to advise them about how to apply for the waiver of payments.


For businesses with payrolls up to $10M, payroll tax will be waived for 3 months, plus another 3 month deferral.

For businesses with payrolls over $10M, payroll tax will be deferred for 6 months.

In the 2020-21 financial year, the payroll tax threshold will be raised to $1M, bringing forward payroll tax cuts.


For businesses with Australia-wide annual wages of less than $7.5M, payroll tax will be waived from 1 March to 30 June 2020.

The payroll tax threshold will increase to $1M from 1 July 2020.


If a business with a payroll up to $5M can demonstrate negative impact by COVID-19, payroll tax will be waived for the April-June 2020 period.

Businesses in the hospitality, tourism and seafood industries will have their payroll tax waived for March to June 2020.

If a business employs a person aged 24 of less between April and December 2020, they will receive a payroll tax rebate.


For businesses with payrolls less than $6.5M, payroll tax will be refunded for November and December 2019. Also, payroll tax will not be required to be paid for the January to March 2020 period.

For businesses with payrolls more than $6.5M, payroll tax will be refunded for January and February 2020.

Government is also offering a payroll tax deferral for the 2020 calendar year but this is only by application.


Government has extended the payroll tax exemption for hiring Territory employees to 30 June 2021.


All businesses required to close due to COVID-19 will receive a payroll tax waiver from April to September 2020.

Businesses with group Australia-wide wages of up to $10M will have their payroll tax deferred for 2020-21 until 1 July 2022.

Building and construction businesses will receive a deferral of payroll tax for the period April to September 2020.


Businesses that can demonstrate significant impact by COVID-19 which have payrolls over $4M, will have their payroll tax deferred for the period April to September 2020.

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COVID-19: Government Grants

The following grants are on offer for businesses affected by Corona Virus restrictions.


Circuit Breaker Action Business Support Package

  1. Business Costs Assistance Program – grants of $2,000 for small businesses, including sole traders, regardless of whether they employ people or not. Applications for this grant end on 15th March 2021.
  2. Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund – one-off payment of $3,000 to assist businesses to cover costs incurred by the circuit breaker lockdown.
  3. Victorian Accommodation Support Program – if your accommodation business experienced cancellations due to the circuit breaker lockdown, you may be eligible for one of two payments, $2,250 or $4,500.
  4. Travel Voucher Schemes – there are now 2 new voucher schemes available to encourage Victorians to travel across the state. There is one for Melbourne with 40,000 x $200 vouchers on offer and one for regional Victoria with 10,000 x $200 vouchers to support the regional travel industry.

Victorian Government Support

Potential funding of $10K per business is available via application here:

Sole Trader Support Fund – for non-employing sole traders to help their transition to COVID normal. Apply here:

Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package Business Grants – to support businesses to adapt to outdoor dining and entertainment. Apply here:

Business Grants for Melbourne Businesses

The City of Melbourne is offering the following grants:

  • Up to $5K for investing on online and e-commerce activities
  • Up to $2K for training and professional development
  • Up to $10K for capital works

Apply here:

Melbourne City Recovery Fund – supporting businesses in Melbourne’s CBD to adapt and prepare for reopening under COVID Normal settings. See here


Business Grants for NSW Businesses

Businesses can apply for grants of up to $10K to assist in paying for utilities, overheads, legal costs and financial advice. Eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • Have 1-19 employees
  • Have a turnover of more than $75K
  • Payroll must be below the $900K payroll tax threshold
  • As of 1 March 2020, have an Australian Business Number and employ staff
  • Be extremely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions
  • Be able to provide required documentation at application

Apply here:


Business Improvement Grant

NT Government will supply one $10K grant and a second $10K grant if a business contributes $10K of their own. Here are the details:

  • Each business will receive only one grant to be used to complete jobs on the business premises.
  • Grants should be used to improve the business (land and/or building) which will in turn assist with business process efficiencies.
  • Grants can be applied for from 13th April 2020.

Apply here:


$10K Emergency Cash Grants for Small Businesses

Small businesses and not-for-profit entities that employ South Australians who have been highly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible to receive a $10,000 grant to support the operation of their business.

See here for further information and how to apply:


Various Grants and Loans

The Tasmanian Government is offering several levels of business support, grants and loans. See here:


Various Grants and Assistance

The WA Government are offering $17,500 grants for small businesses with a payroll between $1M and $4M. See more information here:

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