Department of State Development

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Your questions answered 1 April 2020

On 24 March 2020, the US Food & Drug Association (FDA) issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to allow use of respirators approved under standards used in other countries that are similar to NIOSH-approved N95 respirators. Under this EUA, the FDA will accept the Australian standards for the N95 face mask, which are similar to NIOSH.

If staff have a role in R&D then they should be eligible for the JobKeeper payment. JobKeeper is a Commonwealth assistance measure in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

  • The JobKeeper Payment is a payment paid to employers, for up to six months, for each eligible employee that was on their books on 1 March 2020 and is retained or continues to be engaged by that employer. Employers will receive a payment of $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee. Every eligible employee must receive at least $1,500 per fortnight from this business, before tax.
  • The program will commence 30 March 2020, with the first payments to be received by eligible businesses in the first week of May as monthly arrears from the Australian Taxation Office. Eligible businesses can begin distributing the JobKeeper payment immediately and will be reimbursed from the first week of May. Eligible employers will be those with annual turnover of less than $1 billion who self-assess that have a reduction in revenue of 30 per cent or more, since 1 March 2020 over a minimum one-month period.

There are other forms of assistance available that may have relevance to your company and its R&D activity.

State Government support:

Commonwealth assistance:

  • The instant asset write-off threshold has been increased from $30,000 to $150,000, and access has been expanded to include businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million). This applies from 12 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.
  • Backing Business Investment is a time-limited 15-month investment incentive to support business investment and economic growth in the short term, by accelerating depreciation deductions. This applies to eligible assets acquired from 12 March 2020 and first used or installed by 30 June 2021. Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million will be able to deduct 50% of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset cost.


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