COVID-19 Update 7 April 2020
Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
The Australian Government is temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company, and the time companies have to respond to statutory demands they receive. The package also includes temporary relief for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent, and provides temporary flexibility in the Corporations Act 2001 to deliver temporary and targeted relief from provisions of the Act to deal with unforeseen events that arise as a result of the Coronavirus health crisis.
The Australian Tax Office will tailor solutions for owners or directors of business that are currently struggling due to the Coronavirus, including temporary reduction of payments or deferrals, or withholding enforcement actions including Director Penalty Notices and wind-ups.
Department of Primary Industries
Each State Department of Primary Industries has a dedicated website with specific information for producers within the state jurisdictions. Emergency powers in each State operate under State legislation, so it is important for all producers to understand the regulations and requirements of the State they operate in. We encourage you to familiarise yourself with the regulations in the State/s you operate in:
The Department of Primary Industries SA (PIRSA) have advised what the restrictions mean in South Australia, regarding the Directive for Non-Essential Business and Other Activities relating to wineries and cellar doors.
Food products and beverages, including things like jars of olives, salts, sauces, jams etc. can be sold by a winery as long as they are not picked up by the consumer at the winery or cellar door, and not consumed on premises. Online and telephone sales of these products can continue provided the delivery is made to the purchaser through a winery representative or a commercial courier service.
We have had a lot of questions about border control information. The States and Territories are currently in various positions of preparedness with regard to their individual border controls, however the agricultural supply chain is expected to continue trading across borders.
The Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud, has also announced that Australia’s food production and supply chain will not be affected by coronavirus shutdowns, deeming food production and supply as an essential service.
Currently, the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia have border restrictions in place.
Infrequent exporters can save money by delaying licence renewals
Wine Australia is encouraging exporters who don’t export wine frequently to let their export licences lapse when they are due for renewal, deferring the $700 renewal fee until they are ready to export.
Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer, Andreas Clark, said that there was no downside for exporters in letting their licence lapse and then applying for a 12-month licence 2 weeks before their next shipment is set to sail.
‘In this financially challenging time, we want to help businesses to manage their costs’, Mr Clark said.
‘If an exporter allows their licence to lapse, we will ensure that their previous licence details, including information about products and shipments, are carried over to their next licence’, he said.
All exporters need to do to defer their renewal fee is to not respond to the licence renewal invoice sent by Wine Australia. Then, two weeks before they need their export licence, they apply to Wine Australia for a 12-month licence.
Importantly, this subsequent application will not be considered as a new licence application, so it will not incur the new licence application fee of $1084 for non-levy payers.
For details on other Wine Australia activities in relation to COVID-19 see here.
Wine Australia Webinar
Webinar – Crisis recovery and preparing for the ‘new reality’
Date: Thursday 16 April
Time: 12.00pm–1.00pm ACST
Presenter: Chris Savage, The Savage Company
2020 has been a difficult year for many Australian wineries and growers who have been impacted by drought, fire, smoke and now COVID-19. But there is a way forward in this time of crisis. Join Chris Savage from The Savage Company, a business growth specialist and crisis management expert who will share insights on how businesses can respond positively and proactively to the challenges we face.
Chris Savage has been part of teams that successfully led organisations through the 1987 crash, 1990’s recession, the tech bubble burst of the early 2000’s, and the 2008 global financial crisis (GFC). Chris is an expert in crisis management and is considered to be one of the Asia Pacific’s pre-eminent public relations, marketing communications and professional services industry leaders. His passion is helping leaders and businesses accelerate growth … growth in profits, courage, momentum, capability, reputation and stature.
Registration: This webinar is free - Register here