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COVID-19 Update: 15 April 2020

New $500 million Government loan package for exporters

Australian exporters impacted by the COVID-19 crisis will now have access to business-saving loans between $250,000 and $50 million under a new $500 million capital facility, to be administered by Export Finance Australia.

The new COVID-19 Export Capital Facility will target loans to established and previously profitable exporters who, due to COVID-19, are unable to gain finance from commercial sources.

Federal Trade Minister, Simon Birmingham, said the COVID-19 Export Capital Facility (Facility) would help trade-exposed businesses, including those from regional Australia and businesses in the tourism and education sectors, to get through this crisis and get to the other side.

The Facility, managed by Export Finance Australia, will complement other measures announced by the Government which enable banks to support new and existing clients.

The Government is advising exporters to contact their banks in the first instance to determine what assistance may be available to them.

The eligibility criteria apply to Australian businesses who are exporters or operating in an export supply chain who:

  • Have been trading for at least two years.
  • Have had profitable operations in either of the two financial years prior to markets being impacted by COVID-19.
  • Are unable to secure finance from the private market because of COVID-19.
  • Have an annual turnover of at least $250,000.

For more information visit https://www.exportfinance.gov.au/covid19/

SA clarifies guidance on cellar doors

The South Australian Government today eased sales restrictions on wineries, breweries, cellar doors and distilleries allowing these businesses to sell alcohol, food or other products on a take-away basis.

Previous directives issued in March and reiterated in April, prevented these premises from trading on a click-and-collect basis allowing online or telephone sales only if the delivery was made to the purchaser.

The new direction, which became effective from 11.00am on Wednesday, 15 April aligns cellar doors with hotels, restaurants and cafes.

Tastings of any kind are still not permitted and consumption of any produce, alcohol or food is not permitted on site.

Social distancing restrictions for people attending wineries, cellar doors, breweries and distilleries remain unchanged and must be complied with.

Further information can be found on the SA Government website or their FAQ download.

For details on restrictions for cellar doors in other states see here.

Think carefully about social media posts

It’s important that as everyone lifts their social engagement, to continue to connect with their communities during COVID-19, we remember to engage appropriately.

The media is increasing its interest in advertising around alcohol during the COVID-19 crisis and the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC) committee, Australia’s quasi-regulatory system for alcohol marketing, has already received two complaints about social media posts by an alcohol retailer, which assumed that excessive alcohol consumption was a prop to deal with stress, or that alcohol hoarding was an appropriate response to the crisis.

ABAC is the centrepiece of Australia’s quasi-regulatory system for alcohol marketing which provides guidelines for marketing negotiated with government. Consumer complaints are handled independently, but all costs are borne by industry.

The ABAC Scheme is administered by a Management Committee which includes industry, advertising and government representatives. Australian Grape and Wine is represented on this committee.

An independent adjudication panel considers each complaint received against the ABAC standards for responsible alcohol marketing and general standards administered by Ad Standards for all marketing (not just alcohol) that are required to meet prevailing community standards for health and safety.

A key concern during the COVID-19 crisis is social media advertising that in any way shows or encourages irresponsible use of alcohol.

ABAC recently received two complaints about social media advertising by an alcohol retailer that relates to the pandemic and its impacts. A key concern during the COVID-19 crisis would be that the advertising shows or encourages irresponsible use of alcohol. Two complaints have been received to date.

The first has been considered by the Panel, found to breach ABAC standards and was removed.

The complaint was in relation to placement and content of Thirsty Camel WA Facebook posts using humour arising from self-quarantine and hoarding of alcohol.

The complaint was that the posts breached the ABAC standards that alcohol marketing cannot:

  • show or directly imply excessive alcohol consumption; or
  • be directed at Minors through a breach of a Placement Rule. 

The Panel found:

  • available age restriction controls had been activated for the Facebook account and therefore there was no breach of the ABAC placement rules;
  • both posts are light-hearted and would not be seriously taken as advocating excessive alcohol consumption;
  • the humour, however, is based upon an assumed shared experience that alcohol and excessive alcohol use could be a response to the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic; and
  • it is this assumed shared understanding that excessive alcohol use is a prop to deal with stress or that it is an essential item to be 'hoarded' in huge amounts, which makes the posts contrary to the ABAC standard.

The posts were removed on receipt of the determination.

More information on the posts and the decision can be found here.

 

For previous updates and fact sheets and operational guidelines visit AG&W COVID-19 page here.