THE Queensland Resources Council has been working with the Queensland Government as it seeks to tighten border restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19, which were first introduced from March 26, 2020.
"Our sector is committed to a ‘people first’ response and is strictly following the advice from Queensland Health and has introduced additional measures to protect the communities in which we operate," QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said.
Today the Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young released further directions on border restrictions to apply from 11.59 pm on Saturday, April 4, 2020 until the end of the declared public health emergency.
The requirement is for anyone entering Queensland from anyone State or Territory, who is not an exempt person, to self-quarantine for 14 days. Critical interstate fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) mine workers will be exempt from the new restrictions.
During these turbulent times the resources sector is considered an essential service by both the federal and state governments to fast-track the economy to recovery.
The direction states that “an employee of a resources sector company or service provider is only an exempt person if they are a critical resources sector employee”.
Critical resources sector employee means a person that:
is required to be appointed under the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999; the Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999; or the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 and the position is mentioned in the list published on the Queensland Health website; or
has been approved by the Chief Health Officer as a critical resources sector employee
"The new measures do not affect drive-in, drive-out (DIDO) and FIFO workers travelling from within Queensland," Mr Macfarlane said.
THE Federal Government’s announcement of wage support through the ‘JobKeeper' payment is a lifeline for Australia’s tourism industry.
"The Prime Minister’s program to ‘get us to the other side’ won't protect every tourism job, but it will help support some of the businesses who can get our export industry back on its feet,” Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) managing director Peter Shelley said.
“This is about keeping the knowledge and skills of our industry connected and we welcome the wage subsidy the Federal Government has put forth today.
“Australia’s $45 billion export tourism industry has already been battered by January's bushfires which were closely followed by the closure of our China inbound market - two setbacks which hit the tourism industry long before the broader economy shutdown of recent weeks.
“Tourism employs one in 13 Australians and export tourism accounted for around 10 percent of our exports last year, so tourism's ability to get back on its feet quickly will help to drive our economic recovery."
Mr Shelley said the next step would be to look at how those tourism employees can be productive and turn their energy toward helping to build their businesses and take full advantage of the downtime.
“This remains a terribly challenging time for tourism businesses across Australia and sadly not all will be able to take advantage of this package, but the support for those businesses who can retain their employees will be welcomed.”
Committee Chair Julian Leeser MP said, "iin light of the continuing and evolving public health and economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Committee has decided to suspend its activities until further notice. The Committee greatly appreciates the contributions made to this inquiry so far."
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and business owners can also interact with the inquiry without having to prepare a written submission by completing an online survey. This survey can be completed anonymously if desired and can be accessed here.
THE Australian Government’s third tranche of stimulus and safety net measures will go a very long way to ameliorate the dramatic impact that the COVID-19 crisis is having on businesses, workers and their families, and the economy, according to accounting body CPA Australia.
The new JobKeeper scheme announced today – offering $1,500 per employee per fortnight and backdated to 1 March 2020 will, according to CPA Australia general manager for external affairs, Paul Drum:
Be of significant financial benefit to workers and their families;
Help businesses to stay open during the crisis where and when permitted;
Keep employers and employees engaged during this period of unprecedented uncertainty;
Speed up the business and economic recovery as we come out of the crisis period.
"The cost of this measure – an additional $130 billion over and above what has already been committed to by governments at all levels is breathtaking – but indicative of the magnitude of the health and economic challenges Australia is facing now and in the future," Mr Drum said.
“CPA Australia will continue to work with governments and the relevant government agencies to help ensure this package of relief gets to those who qualify as expeditiously as possible.
CPA Australia is one of the world's largest accounting bodies, with more than 165,000 members working in 100 countries and regions and supported by 19 offices globally. Core services to members include education, training, technical support and advocacy. Employees and members work together with local and international bodies to represent the views and concerns of the profession to governments, regulators, industries, academia and the community.
THE Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell has welcomed the $130 billion JobKeeper package announced by the Federal Government today.
The flat payment of $1,500 per fortnight per employee will be delivered via the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). It will be available to staff that have been stood down since 1 March and staff that continue to work.
Small businesses that have experienced a decline in turnover of 30% or more will be eligible to register for the payment on the ATO’s website.
“The JobKeeper payment will play a critical role in assisting small businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis,” Ms Carnell said.
“Crucially, it will allow small businesses to continue trading and paying their staff. It will also ensure small businesses stay connected with their staff, who have been stood down, so they can re-engage their team when trading conditions return to normal.
“Any small business will tell you that staff are their most important asset and this announcement today will be a huge relief for many small businesses that have been in the midst of making very tough decisions about their future as a result of the coronavirus," she said.
“The payment applies across the board to sole traders, the self-employed, full time, and casual staff that have worked for more than 12 months for the same employer.
“It’s a generous payment that’s equivalent to 70 percent of the median wage and while payments will start flowing to businesses from the first week of May, it has been backdated to staff on the books since 1 March 2020," Ms Carnell said.
“In addition to the JobKeeper payment, the Job Seeker payment has also been extended to those – including sole traders - with partners that have an annual income of up to $79,000. The previous limit was $48,000 so this is a positive development.
“The government is taking unprecedented steps to shield small businesses from the devastating impacts of COVID-19 and this JobKeeper package gives the sector the hope that they need.
“My office will continue to work with the small business community and to advocate for any further measures that will support them during this difficult time.”