Post-JobKeeper stimulus package announced

The federal government is preparing a $1.2 billion stimulus package that will be released primarily across the tourism industry. There will also be an extension to its SME Loan Guarantee Scheme once JobKeeper expires at the end of the month.

The plan is to subsidise domestic flights to select tourism destinations to help kick-start the struggling local Australian tourism market. Working in conjunction with airlines, discounts offered on flights will commence April 1st.

The half-price ticket program will initially operate to 13 key regions including; the Gold Coast, Cairns, the Whitsundays and Mackay region (Proserpine and Hamilton Island), the Sunshine Coast, Lasseter and Alice Springs, Launceston, Devonport and Burnie, Broome, Avalon, Merimbula, and Kangaroo Island. Flights, routes and the total number of tickets will be driven by demand and are subject to final discussions with the airlines.

There will also be a new stimulus package targeting international aviation support, aimed at supporting some 8,000 plus jobs. This incentive will include support for airport screening costs and a services assistance support program to relieve the cost burden related to training on-the-ground staff at Australian airports.

Expanded SME loan scheme

The federal government has announced that it will expand and extend its Coronavirus SME Loan Support.

Specifically, the Guarantee Scheme will be expanded and extended, helping businesses refinance their existing loans as part of its commitment to support up to $40 billion in lending to small and medium enterprises.

Under the Guarantee Scheme, eligible businesses can access up to $1million of funds, financed over 5 years. More information can be found here.

The SME Recovery Loan Scheme is separate support specifically targeted at SMEs currently receiving JobKeeper. This scheme is only open to recipients of the JobKeeper payment between 4 January 2021 and 28 March 2021, with turnover of up to $250 million. The expansion will see the limit of eligible loans rise from $1 million to $5 million under the scheme. Borrowers may also be offered a repayment holiday on both principal and interest for up to 24 months, with loan terms increased from five years to 10 years. More information can be found here.

The loans will be available from 1 April and remain open until 31 December.

In the case of both loans listed above, ultimately the loans are still funded through approved Financial Institutions (i.e. normal banks), so you should liaise with your current lenders for specific details.

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