COVID-19 & Hardship Assistance
What You Should Know
I have an investment property and my tenant says they cannot pay the rent, what do I do?
Work with your property agent to ensure your tenants have accessed all relevant programs in their state - See below
If the following steps are unsuccessful you may be able to claim on your landlord cover insurance if you have a policy in place.
Update 22nd March: The Prime Minister has announced a second-stage $66 billion stimulus package. The details of which are covered below.
Australians receiving benefit payments will receive a $750 cash payment from the government. This includes Australians receiving Newstart, Family Tax Benefit, a pension or social security payment as well as veterans and those with concession cards. The payment will be applied automatically to those eligible from as soon as 31 March, with the majority of payments sent out by mid-April.
A second stimulus package
announced some welfare recipients will also receive another $750 payment on July 13. Also, the Jobseeker Payment will temporarily be doubled, providing people with an extra $550 a fortnight. The payment will be available to sole traders and casual workers, provided they meet income tests.
Almost 700,000 Australian businesses will also be eligible for a one-off grant between $2,000 and $25,000. Eligible businesses will be those with an annual turnover of up to $50 million which pay staff. These businesses will be eligible to receive grants of up to 50 per cent of their Business Activity Statement or Instalment Activity Statement, up to the value of $25,000. The payment will be tax free. If the business doesn't withhold tax on staff wages, they'll still be eligible for a cash payment of at least $2,000. These grants will be applied automatically to eligible businesses based on the Business Activity Statements submitted in April.
In further measures announced in the second Government stimulus package, small businesses will receive cash payments up to $100,000. The government are also guaranteeing unsecured small business loans up to $250,000.
Tradespeople and apprentices
The government will help pay the wages of Australian apprentices, in a bid to keep young people in a job. As part of the package, $1.3 billion will be sent to businesses with less than 20 staff to help subsidise apprentice wages. Employers can apply for this wage subsidy, and if eligible, the government will pay up to 50% of their apprentice's or trainee's wages for up to 9 months. This will help both small businesses remain open and operating, while also keep young people working.
Access to superannuation
The Government will allow people to access up to $10,000 from their superannuation. There will be no tax charged on the money they access.
There will also be a temporary 50-per-cent reduction in superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions in
2019-20 and 2020-21.
· There are two payments they might be eligible for: The JobSeeker payment and the Coronavirus Supplement.
· The JobSeeker payment - formerly known as Newstart - is for those who are unemployed or do not have enough work.
· The JobSeeker payment pays $565.70/fortnight.
· Waiting periods and assets tests has been waived (which means they can still have savings). they will also only have to apply for 4 jobs per month.
· The Coronavirus Supplement is an additional top-up payment of $550 a fortnight for those on welfare. It's available to those on JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, Austudy, plus more. It will be applied automatically if they are eligible.
· The Coronavirus Supplement will begin on April 27 and will be available for at least 6 months.
· That means that if they have lost their job as a result of coronavirus, they might be eligible for payments of $1100 a fortnight through both of these payments.
If they lose their job or their shifts get reduced as a result of coronavirus, they have a few options.
They might be eligible for welfare payments
If they lost your job then you might be eligible for the government's new JobSeeker payment.
From 20 March 2020 JobSeeker Payment is being introduced as the main payment for working-age Australians. They can get this payment if they're without a job and are currently looking for work. This replaces what we currently know as Youth Allowance and Newstart.
On top of that, the federal government is providing a temporary coronavirus supplement of $550 a fortnight to current and future Australians on certain welfare benefits, including those on the following payments: Jobseeker, Youth Allowance, Austudy, Sickness Allowance, Parenting Payment, Partner Allowance, and Farm Household Allowance.
Centrelink has put together a quiz that lets you quickly see all potential payments and benefits that you might be eligible for.
VIC, ACT and NT stimulus packages
Stimulus packages for VIC, ACT and the NT are yet to be formally announced, but we'll update this guide with the details when we have them.
These government stimulus packages are primarily designed to boost construction, give businesses tax relief and help support at-risk businesses in the hospitality and tourism sector.
NSW stimulus package details
The NSW government has announced a $2.3 billion stimulus package, with a big focus on increased funding for the health sector and tax relief for local businesses.
$1.6 billion to provide tax relief for businesses and keep people in jobs
· Waiving payroll tax for businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million until the end of the financial year (30 June 2020)
· $250 million to employ more cleaners for public transport, public spaces and schools
· $750 million to speed up maintenance plans for public buildings and capital works projects, keeping more people working
· $80 million will be used to waive some fees and charges for restaurants, cafes and bars (it's not yet clear which fees will be waived)
QLD stimulus package details
The QLD government has announced a stimulus package with a focus on providing tax relief for small businesses.
· $27 million+ to help waive fees and charges for cafes, restaurants, bars and tourism companies
· Waiving payroll tax for all QLD businesses for six months, backdated to 1 February 2020
· $1 million for increased student support services
· $500 million will go towards funding 12-month interest free loans of up to $250,000 for QLD businesses
WA stimulus package details
The WA government has declared the state to be in a state of emergency and announced a $607 million stimulus package.
· $402 million will go towards freezing household bills and charges until 30 June 2021. This means that WA households will still need to pay these bills, but the cost will not rise with inflation at all for one year. Included in this scheme are electricity, gas and water bills, car registration and licensing and public transport fares.
· $91 million to be spent increasing the Emergency Assistance Program (EAP) from $300 to $600 for those in need (including pensioners).
· $114 million will be spent giving WA businesses with a payroll between $1 million and $4 million a one-off, $17,500 grant
· Waiving payroll tax for WA businesses which pay less than $7.5 million in taxable wages until 21 July 2020
· 20 days paid sick leave for casual and full time workers in the public health sector who are impacted by COVID-19 (this includes if you get the virus yourself or need to self-isolate)
TAS stimulus package details
The TAS government has announced a $420 million stimulus package to help small businesses and workers forced to self-isolate.
· $2 million in health support for GPs and pharmacies
· One-off payments of $250 for casual and low-income workers who are forced to self-isolate, and $1000 for families
· $1 million for front line health and medical workers to help fund accommodation when needed (e.g.: if family members are sick)
· $1 million towards grants for mental health organisations, as these organisations experience increased demand
· Hospitality, seafood, exports and tourism businesses will be able to apply for interest-free loans, and they'll also be able to apply for their payroll tax to be waived for four months
· The government will bring forward $50 million worth of maintenance work on public buildings
SA stimulus package details
The SA government announced a $350 million stimulus package that was largely focused on keeping the construction industry going. The money will fund safety and maintenance upgrades to health facilities and aged-care centres, as well as public buildings, roads and eco-tourism initiatives. The details of the specific projects and hoe these contracts will be awarded are yet to be revealed.
My loan is with a big 4 Bank and I am in need of some temporary relief?
On March 20, the Australian Banking Association (ABA) announced that banks will offer businesses who have been impacted by the outbreak, a six month deferral for business loan repayments. All Banks will be working to get in contact with clients to convey this information. It was also indicated that this deferral could extend to residential loans if needed and on a case-by-case basis. The RBA has also reduced the official interest rate to 0.25%, a record low.
Below are some of the actions being taken by some of the bigger banks in Australia. Each individual bank will have their own plans to help their customers, we recommend getting in touch with your bank to get this best information regarding your personal situation.
ANZ is offering financial support to its customers who have been affected by COVID-19.
For business customers ANZ will be:
Decreasing variable interest small business loan rates in Australia by 0.25% p.a.
Providing access to additional credit (subject to approval).
Business customers are advised to contact ANZ or their relationship manager if they have been affected by COVID-19.
All impacted customers can request a six-month payment deferral on loan repayments.
Retail customers can get help with the following:
Deferring home loan repayments for up to six-months
Decreasing the standard variable home loan rate by 0.15% p.a. which will reduce loan repayments for bank customers.
Customers can access their accounts 24 hours a day through the ANZ app and online banking if they're unable to visit a branch.
You are advised to contact ANZ if you are experiencing financial hardship
CommBank announced that they will be passing on the full RBA interest rate cut and has also implemented initiatives to support their customers affected by the COVID-19 outbreak in the following ways:
Business customers can:
Defer repayments on business loans and overdraft products for up to six months, as well as repayments and fee waivers for some products.
Apply for unsecured loans of up to $250,000 with no repayments for six months
Have access to additional resourcing and extended hours are being added to ensure quicker commercial lending decision time.
Merchant terminal fees for impacted customers will be waived for 90 days.
Defer repayments for some finance loans e.g. vehicle and equipment.
Waive early redraw fees on business term deposit accounts (including Farm Management Deposit accounts).
Waive establishment fees and excess interest on Temporary Excess products.
For personal customers, Commbank will be:
Deferring home loan repayments for up to six months as well as passing on the RBA rate cut to some products.
Keeping branches open and ensuring that their staff are fit and well to serve you.
Providing 24 hour account access through the CommBank app and NetBank so you can manage your money at any time.
Providing a Financial Assistance Team to talk to over the phone from 8am - 9pm Monday to Friday and 9am - 2pm on Saturday.
Westpac has introduced several initiatives to help customers financially impacted by COVID-19.
Business customers can access:
Fee free redraws.
Up to 6 month deferrals of loan repayments.
The option to extend Business Loan terms by up to three months.
More easily restructure and consolidate loans.
Access term deposit funds without reduction in interest rate.
Defer payments for Business Credit Cards.
Access business Financial Counselling.
Waive merchant terminal rental fee for up to 3 months.
Retail customers will be able to:
Defer loan payments for three months with an option to extend for another three months after review.
Have fixed home loan rates reduced to 2.29% for some products.
Bank of Melbourne
If you need to defer your Home Loan repayments you can fill out this form.
Consumer customers can also request assistance by completing the Financial Hardship form. After filling in the form you will then receive a phone call.
Business customers can also go here for help.
To find out more detail on what is support is available, you can also visit the Bank of Melbourne website here.
NAB has announced that they will offer a six-month hold on mortgage repayments to those customers who have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
NAB is also offering support services including the suspension of repayments of interest in some cases, a reduction of the loan amount or waiving fees.
NAB business customers can get help with the following initiatives:
Deferral of business loan repayments for up to 3 months, assessed on a case by case basis.
Extension of a business loan term by a period of up to 3 months, where individual circumstances warrant.
Support to restructure existing business loans, including equipment finance.
Business credit card deferred repayments.
Customers should also get in touch with their banking manager so they can discuss their situation and receive further guidance.
My loan is with a non-bank what should I do?
Common types of assistance provided during this time include:
- Deferred repayments
- Long term repayment arrangements
- Time to seek financial / counselling advice
- Reduced repayments
- Capitalisation of arrears
Resimac funded loans: Hardship Assistance information can be found here.
Wholesale funded loans: If your loan is funded by one of our wholesale funding partners (including
Adelaide Bank, Advantedge, ING Direct, Macquarie, Origin, Calibre, Pepper, RedZed, RMT) - information
can be found here.
Eligibility Criteria & Conditions:
To be assessed on a case by case basis. Our team of specialists will work in partnership with you to
determine the most suitable arrangement for you.
Phone:1300 764 447 / 02 7201 8615
Other funded loans (formerly Homeloans Ltd)
Phone:13 38 39 / 08 6271 3272
Financial Assistance Requests:
Phone (for urgent enquiries):1300 793 741 / 02 7202 7058
La Trobe Financial
La Trobe Financial has announced it will offer hardship assistance for small business customers who are
financially affected by the spread of COVID-19. These small businesses could be tourism operators,
growers and exporters of fresh produce or businesses reliant on imports.
The hardship assistance program at La Trobe Financial is designed to help customers experiencing
financial stress in times of unprecedented economic times.
The type of hardship assistance offered may include:
· A deferral of scheduled loan repayments;
· Waiving fees and charges;
· Temporary interest only periods to assist with cashflow; and
· Debt consolidation to help make repayments more manageable.
Further information on La Trobe Financial’s COVID-19 response can be found here.
Eligibility Criteria & Conditions:
La Trobe Financial will work with its customers on a case-by-case basis and encourages any customer
experiencing financial hardship, regardless of their circumstances, to contact them.
For small business customers affected by COVID-19, please contact our hardship assistance team directly
on 1800 620 639 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out if you are eligible for
assistance. For all Borrower Enquiries, contact 13 80 10 or email email@example.com
Following the RBA’s out-of-cycle cash rate change last week, we have looked at our situation and the everincreasing
cost of funds in this volatile market. We have determined that we cannot further reduce rates
beyond our first March cut for either our new or our existing customers. Our business already keeps our
margins low to maintain lower-than-market interest rates as a standard compared to the major banks.
Credit policy changes
In light of recent government restrictions, income for any borrowers employed by facilities 'restricted from
opening' will be excluded from serviceability, effective immediately. This list changes on a daily basis.
Income for 'casual' employees in other currently volatile industries such as travel and hospitality will be
excluded from serviceability. For full time employees in these industries we will still consider on a case-bycase
basis, however, variable income such as commissions, overtime, and bonuses may not be used for
Our existing hardship policy is well suited to the current crisis, offering:
a repayments holiday for three months
the option to extend for a further three months
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, we have assigned additional local staff to our Hardship Team so we
can speak to each customer personally and work through a solution to their individual circumstances.
Eligibility Criteria & Conditions:
Purchases to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis where the applicant is impacted by COVID-19
Refinances to be assessed on the new COVID-19 criteria and applications are required to pass under this
For the latest information on whether your customer’s income is likely to be excluded from serviceability,
please review the list at this link: https://www.pm.gov.au/media
If a customer is experiencing hardship, please have them call us directly on 13 12 20 and one of our
Hardship Consultants will help them with consideration and empathy.