Weekly Digest – 12 January 2022

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment

People who are forced out of work to isolate due to being infected or being a close contact are eligible for the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment.

You are also eligible if you are caring for a child under 16 years old who is a close contact or infected, or someone with a disability or a severe medical condition who is a close contact of someone with COVID-19.

The payment is currently given in the form of a $750 lump sum payment for seven days. However, this will change slightly from 18 January into a tiered system. While it will remain a lump sum payment, those who lose over 20 hours of work will receive the full $750, but if you lose between 8 and 20 hours, you will only receive $450.

A financial hardship test will also be introduced next week, which will mean anyone with $10,000 available and accessible to them will not get the payment.

You can find more information about Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment conditions specific to your state or territory here.

NSW Introduced Restrictions Due to Omicron Variant

NSW introduced restrictions on socialising, as the government tries to ease pressure on its health system due to the increasing cases of COVID-19.

Singing and dancing at clubs and bars is banned from 8 January to 27 January, while residents are being encouraged to limit large indoor and outdoor gatherings, and to remain seated while drinking in hospitality venues. This comes as mask mandates and density limits in hospitality settings were reintroduced last month.

Consumer Confidence Relatively Stable

Consumer confidence took a smaller-than-expected decline of 2.2% in December, according to the results of ANZ-Roy Morgan’s consumer confidence survey. However, economists warn that Omicron and supply shortages could still adversely impact the economy.

Confidence metrics used by the bank registered mixed results. Consumer confidence in current economic conditions declined by 8.7%, confidence in their current financial conditions increased 1.4%, and confidence in future financial conditions improved by 0.7%.

ServiceWA App Launched

The WA Government has launched the free ServiceWA app to help Western Australians with WA’s Safe Transition. This app allows people to show proof of their COVID-19 vaccination, check in at businesses and venues with SafeWA, and access their G2G Pass for interstate travel – all in one convenient place.

You can also use this to access important information such as where to get tested or vaccinated, how to prepare a household for COVID-19, and check exposure location sites. The app is safe and secure, as it requires the user to use a Digital Identity to create an account to prove who they are online.

You can find more information here.

Retail Sales Hit Record Before Omicron Outbreak

Retail sales surged to a record $33 billion in November before the Omicron outbreak. As the economy reopened, pent-up consumer demand was unleashed in the pre-Christmas and Black Friday sales period.

Retail sales jumped 7.3% in November, confirming the economy was rebounding strongly before being subdued by the pullback in consumer spending and staff shortages in the new year due to the Omicron variant.

Record sales in clothing, footwear and personal accessories (up 38.2%), household goods (up 11.6%), and department stores (up 26.0%) were hit in November.

COVID-19 Vaccination Info Kiosks

COVID-19 vaccination information kiosks are now open in shopping centres and at events in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia to help you book a vaccination appointment.

Grants for South Australian Businesses

The South Australian government has announced a $40 million support package for businesses affected by COVID-19 restrictions. Initial automatic cash grants of up to $11,000 will be paid to eligible tourism and hospitality businesses, as well as gyms.

A second cash grant will be available on application for businesses who suffered a 30% reduction in turnover in the two weeks starting from 27 December. Other businesses who have had a 50% reduction in turnover during the same period will be eligible for grants of up to $8,000.

Meanwhile, a grant of up to $100,000 will be available for major events that had to be cancelled or delayed between 27 December and 27 January.

WA Border Reopening

Western Australia will reopen its borders at 12.01am on 5 February. For domestic travel, you can find information about state-by-state travel restrictions here. Meanwhile, for international travel, you need to check the official advisory of the country you’re visiting.

Depending on the location, you may need to obtain a PCR test, show proof of vaccination, quarantine, or purchase insurance. Australia has a travel bubble with Singapore, which means West Australians can travel to the country without having to quarantine.

Business Adoption of eInvoicing

More than 1.2 billion invoices are exchanged in Australia every year, with around 90% of invoice processing still partly or fully manual. Replacing a paper or email invoice with an eInvoice will lead to up to around $20 in cost savings.

The government has taken a series of actions to support the business adoption of eInvoicing.

In the 2020-21 Budget, as part of the JobMaker Digital Business Plan, the government invested $3.6 million to facilitate eInvoicing adoption across the public sector.
In the 2021-22 Budget, as part of the Digital Economy Strategy, the Government invested a further $15.3 million to improve business awareness and accelerate eInvoicing adoption.

The government is now seeking stakeholder views on further ways to support business adoption of eInvoicing, including by consulting on the idea of a Business eInvoicing Right (BER). You can submit responses to this consultation up until 25 February 2022. You can view the submission guidelines here.

Get in touch

Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.