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COVID-19: member update #9

April 30, 2020

A national roadmap with states in the driver’s seat

Today’s announcements by the Prime Minister, on behalf of the National Cabinet, has set out a national Roadmap to a COVID safe Australia.

The Roadmap to a COVID safe Australia sets out three stages to reopening Australia’s economic activity with the goal that by July all states and territories will have many of the current non-essential and social gathering restrictions lifted in some way.

This will not mean that life goes back to normal just yet. It is expected that it will still be many months before the economy, our work and our daily lives return to a pre-COVID way.

As expected, given the different stages that the states and territories are at with current infection rates, each jurisdiction will be in the driver’s seat when it comes to the timing of implementing the roadmap.

Victoria will announced their position on Monday 11 May. Western Australia will provide guidance on Sunday 10 May, while the ACT, South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania made further announcements this afternoon about the approach those states will take. The Northern Territory roadmap was released last week, while NSW is yet to make an announcement.

States come on board with display homes changes

Following today’s announcements, the remaining states have moved forward with changes to the rules for display homes and villages, in line with HIA's call to support new home builders at this difficult time.

In Queensland, the Government has announced display homes can now open without the need for an appointment with a limit of 6 people which will increase to 10 people from 15 May.

South Australia will move to the 10 person limit from 11 May and removed the inspection requirement.

NSW has removed the inspection requirement from today, while the ACT has also lined up adopting the 10 person limit from today.

Lastly, Tasmania will also adopt the 10 person limit from 18 May.

HIA’s Guides for display homes are available to assist explaining the health and hygiene requirements that builders should adopt to ensure the safety of their customers.

Returning to Work COVID safe

As these changes begin to take effect it continues to be vital that members take all the necessary steps to remain vigilant and to keep your workplaces COVID safe.

HIA recommends members download the COVIDSafe app to assist in keeping track of people’s movements on and off building sites.

Members should also continue to apply the HIA Making space on site guidelines relevant to the projects you are working on, and continue to require any person entering your building sites to complete the HIA Safescan COVID-19 Site induction.

Our industry must continue to show the same commitment in the return to ‘business as usual’ as we have shown in the last two months.

Identifying the steps necessary to protect your workers and support them to safely return to the office, the factory or the showroom is the next challenge. Safe Work Australia has made available resources that can assist businesses as their workers begin to return to the workplace over the coming weeks.

JobKeeper Update – Pay your eligible employees today

While the deadline to enrol in the scheme has been extended to 31 May, if you intend to claim for wages paid in April and May you must pay your eligible employees a minimum of $1,500 (before tax) for each of the two April JobKeeper fortnights (30 March -12 April, 13 April - 26 April) today.

To be eligible members must also be confident of a 30 percent decline in turnover compared to the same period last year.

HIA is aware of the difficulties facing the industry in relation to demonstrating this decline despite a significant drop in new sales activity.

HIA suggests that members consider how their projected turnover, based on current sales activity over the month of April, or the April quarter (for example) compares to last year’s sales activity for the same month or a quarter. Members should also consider ways in which they could substantiate a future decline in turnover, of at least 30 percent, based on this reduced sales activity.

When will I receive a payment?

The ATO has indicated that payments commenced this week if you are eligible and you:

  • have enrolled in the scheme;
  • identified your eligible employees; and
  • submitted a monthly declaration regarding your current and projected turnover. This is not a retest of your eligibility, but rather to provide an indication of how your business is progressing under the JobKeeper Payment scheme.

The ATO has produced a series of guides about the JobKeeper Scheme.

HIA has also developed a series of factsheets and webinars on the JobKeeper Payment to assist members understand these requirements.

The process can be complex and members requiring assistance can contact HIA’s Workplace Services team on 1300 650 620 or enquiry@hia.com.au