Stimulus and Support

Last Updated: 01 Apr 2020 12:36pm

Last update: 07 Apr 2020 5:06pm

The health, safety and wellbeing of Tasmanians is our number one priority as we face the challenge of coronavirus. Our social and economic support package will help Tasmanian businesses and jobs as we deal with the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supporting Businesses and Jobs

Government fees and charges

For businesses and jobs the Government will freeze, waive or cap fees and charges for small businesses, including:

  • Water and electricity bills will be waived for the first quarterly bill received after 1 April this year for small business customers on Tariff 22, 94, 82 or 75, including those small businesses on market contracts that could access those tariffs.
  • Electricity prices will be capped, and water prices will be frozen next financial year.
  • The Government will freeze all fees and charges subject to the Government Fee Units Act 1997.

The Government will also waive the roads component of motor tax and vehicle registration where that business has been significantly impacted by measures taken to manage COVID-19.

The Government will also waive land tax for 2020- 21 for commercial property owners financially impacted by COVID-19, where the land tax is paid by the business owner.

Payroll tax relief

The Government will extend the previously announced Payroll tax waivers for the hospitality, tourism and seafood sectors and for Tasmanian businesses with payrolls less than $5 million which have been impacted by coronavirus to ensure that these businesses will pay no payroll taxes for the entire 2019-20 year. This measure will be delivered through a combination of payroll tax refunds and waivers.

Additional funding to help our workforce

The Government will boost funding for the Rapid Response Skills Initiative with an additional $6.3 million. Through this program, up to $3,000 will be available for individuals to gain skills or licences to help them into a new role.

Businesses that have immediate job needs and opportunities available, will be able to access a job-ready pool, including to match people to our immediate priority skills needs, such as in health and food retail industries.

Local Government Loan Scheme

The Government has extended the Local Government Loan Scheme from $50 million to $150 million to encourage local councils to upgrade local infrastructure and employ Tasmanians in the process.

Additional support for small businesses

For small businesses, the Government will also:

  • Increase the Small Business Interest Free Loan Scheme from $20 million to $50 million, which is available for businesses with turnovers of less than $10 million;
  • Provide a new $40 million to the Small Business Grants Program with $20 million set aside for emergency grant support and $20 million for larger grants payments;
  • Provide a Digital Ready for Business Program will be boosted with $150,000 to assist businesses who want to take their business online;
  • Provide business continuity advice with $750,000 in funding made available for businesses to seek cashflow and continuity advice. This includes a $50,000 grant to the Small Business Council of Tasmania;
  • A further $200,000 will be provided to the THA to provide business continuity and cashflow advice, increasing the funding for this initiative up to $250,000;
  • A further $200,000 will be provided to Rural Business Tasmania for the extension of its Rural Financial Counselling service; and
  • Provide $100,000 to support our local Chamber of Commerce’s as they themselves assist businesses manage COVID-19.

Supporting Industries

Primary healthcare grants

Grant funding of up to $10 000 is available to eligible general practices and community pharmacists to support continued delivery of primary health services. Find out more about the Primary Healthcare Grants Program.

Tourism and hospitality support

A further $200,000 will be provided to the THA to provide business continuity and cashflow advice, increasing the funding for this initiative up to $250,000.

Seafood and fishery support

The Government will provide an additional $1.8 million for fisheries fees and licence relief for 12 months. This will include:

  • $604,000 for fee relief for a range of wild fisheries licence fees, including commercial dive, scallops and fishing vessels;
  • $427,000 for licence and rental fees relief for shellfish farming; and
  • $770,000 for ShellMAP Program Fee Relief.

This initiative is in addition to the 12 month waiver for annual fees for Rock Lobster, Giant Crab, wild capture Fin Fisheries and Abalone Divers which has a full cost of $3.7 million and brings total Government support to the fishing industry to $5.5 million.

See more on fisheries assistance.

Creative and cultural industries

The Government will provide $1.5 million to support the Creative and Cultural Industries. The programs to be funded include:

  • $500,000 for an Arts and Screen Digital Production Fund. This Fund will enable Arts and Screen Tasmania to commission excerpts of digital versions of cancelled or postponed performing arts events and supporting recording projects of music ensembles;
  • $250,000 one-off funding for script and other development activities which are able to continue under the current restrictions;
  • $250,000 to support contemporary musicians to record music and video for digital distribution and business relaunch; and
  • $500,000 to support additional Arts organisations not currently funded.

The Government will also extend arts organisation contracts due to expire by one year, supporting 19 organisations to manage through this period of disruption, manage cashflow and continue to employ their staff wherever feasible.

See more on assistance to the creative and cultural industries.

Critical air freight for industry and our islands

The Government will provide $2.6 million towards air freight services for time sensitive freight, including seafood, as well as providing access to our Bass Strait Islands.

Taxi license fees

The Government will waive annual taxi licence fees for the calendar year 2020 at a cost of $240,000.

Government Leases

For Government leased property (to private/commercial tenants) we will waive rents for six months.

In regard to Elizabeth Street Pier period of waiver will be up until settlement (May 1) - which is the date the Government retains ownership until - by that stage a national approach to commercial tenancies will have been established.

Last update: 09 Apr 2020 4:06pm

Business Support Loan Scheme

Loans from $20,000 up to $250,000 are available to assistant eligible businesses for the purposes of supporting business continuity, viability and sustainability during the Coronavirus period.

This may include for:

  • Purchase of business plant and equipment;
  • Improving distribution channels and online shopping accessibility;
  • Implementing initiatives to improve the sustainability and viability of the business;
  • Ensuring that essential business continuity is maintained.

Generally, loans will be considered for eligible businesses in Tasmania that operate in the hospitality, tourism, seafood export sectors, related supply chain businesses, as well as businesses in other sectors of the economy that can demonstrate they have been materially impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

Visit the Business Tasmania website for more information and to apply.

Last update: 09 Apr 2020 3:45pm

To ensure that we continue to be responsive to the current gaps and needs of Tasmanian small businesses, further support is available for Tasmanian businesses through the extension of the Small Business Emergency Grants.

Round 2 of the Emergency Support Grants with grants of $2,500 available to those businesses under severe hardship and who have not yet received funding under the first round.

For the purpose of this Round, the definition of small business has been lifted to having less than 25 FTE employees, and the eligibility is no longer limited to targeted areas but is available to any business experiencing severe hardship that meets the criteria of a loss in revenue of greater than 30 per cent.

Visit the Business Tasmania website for more information and to apply.

Last update: 09 Apr 2020 3:45pm

Grants of $15,000 will be available and applications will be accepted from businesses that employ fewer than 50 FTEs.

Grants of will be available to those businesses that:

  • can meet the hardship test, and
  • can demonstrate an ability to continue to operate in the current environment and provide products or services necessary for the Tasmanian or Australian community, or
  • may need to temporarily cease operation but can demonstrate strong prospects for future jobs sustainment or growth.

Applications will be competitively assessed on an as need basis and at the discretion of the Department of State Growth.

Visit the Business Tasmania website for more information and to apply.

Last update: 07 Apr 2020 5:08pm

To support significantly impacted Tasmanian small businesses, $9.75 million in business vehicle registration savings and deferrals is available.

Registration freeze for light and heavy vehicles

Small businesses looking to suspend activity due to the COVID-19 business downturn and trading restrictions can apply to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles to freeze their business vehicle registrations for both light and heavy vehicles.

Registrations can be reactivated at no cost to them when the business restarts. The maximum period that a registration can be frozen is 12 months.

Heavy vehicle registration and motor tax waivers

For heavy vehicles of over 4.5 tonnes the Government will waive fees for registration and the road component of motor tax for 12 months.

Operators will still need to pay the regulatory component of motor tax which goes to fund the operations of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).

Applications

Significantly impacted business owners can apply for the Registration freeze for light and heavy vehicles or the Heavy vehicle registration and motor tax waivers. Apply using the Transport Tasmania's Registration Business Support Package form.

You will need to provide details on your business registered for tax purposes in Australia and your Australian Business Number (ABN) and make a declaration that your business activities have been ceased or suspended.

Approval will be at the discretion of the Registrar of  Motor Vehicles.

Last update: 07 Apr 2020 5:10pm

As part of our new stimulus package, we will deliver new funding of $1.5 million and introduce new operational measures of over $2 million to support the individuals and organisations leading Tasmania’s renowned cultural sector. The package has been designed to specifically address the challenges facing our artists, screen practitioners and organisations.

Arts and Screen Digital Production Fund

To support screen practitioners, artists and arts organisations whose work has been cancelled, postponed or disrupted by COVID-19, grants of up to $10,000 for individuals and $50,000 for organisations is available to enable the arts and screen sectors to work together.

This funding will help artists and arts organisations to work with Tasmanian screen professionals to make content in Tasmania for digital distribution and promotion.

Eligibility

To qualify for funding under the Arts and Screen Digital Production Fund, you must be a Tasmanian artist, arts worker, or screen professional who has been resident in Tasmania for at least six of the last 12 months, or a Tasmanian arts or screen organisation.

Tasmanian organisations with multi-year government arts funding are also eligible to apply. Groups with interstate members can apply but only Tasmanian artists and professionals can be supported.

Eligible projects may include producing excerpts of work for digital distribution, show reels, materials for national and international market development, or adapting theatrical work or performances for a digital platform.

Organisations in receipt of administered funding from the Tasmanian Government (including the Theatre Royal Management Board) are not eligible to apply for support package funds.

Applications open: Friday, 27 March 2020
Applications close: Monday, 4 May 2020
Apply: www.arts.tas.gov.au/funding

Tasmanian Contemporary Music Fund

To support Tasmanian contemporary musicians whose engagements have been cancelled due to COVID-19 to record music and music videos for digital distribution and promotion, grants of up to $15,000 are available.

Projects must take place in Tasmania and support Tasmanian musicians to work with other Tasmanian artists and production professionals.

Eligibility

To qualify for funding under the Tasmanian Contemporary Music Fund, you must be a Tasmanian artists or arts worker who has been resident in Tasmania for at least six of the last 12 months or a Tasmanian arts organisation. Groups with interstate members can apply but only Tasmanian artists and professionals can be supported.

Contemporary music is defined as music that is currently being written, recorded and performed by Australians. Genres include (but would not be limited to) blues, country, electronic/dance, experimental, folk, funk, hip-hop, jazz, metal, pop, rock, roots, and world.

Organisations in receipt of administered funding from the Tasmanian Government (including the Theatre Royal Management Board) are not eligible to apply for support package funds.

Applications open: Friday, 27 March 2020
Applications close: Monday, 4 May 2020
Apply: www.arts.tas.gov.au/funding

Additional Screen Development Fund

To assist the Tasmanian screen industry both during and after the COVID-19 restrictions an additional $250,000 is available through the Additional Screen Development Fund.

To provide an injection of funds into the Tasmanian screen industry to undertake work easily and safely during the current COVID-19 emergency, additional grants are available for new projects through Screen Tasmania’s Project Development Program. This will assist screen practitioners in developing projects for production once restrictions have eased.

To allow more people to be involved in development tasks, funding caps for the Screen Tasmania Project Development Program have been increased to $30,000 for Advanced Stage Development and Short-form Series Booster, and $20,000 for Intermediate Stage Development.

Funding is also available through the existing Industry Development Program to provide for additional industry and professional development support to filmmakers and crews who are not able to work in production.

Eligibility

Eligibility for the Additional Screen Development Fund is unchanged from the existing Screen Tasmania programs 

Applications open: Thursday, 26 March 2020
Applications close: Monday, 13 April 2020
Apply: www.screen.tas.gov.au/funding

Additional arts organisations funding

To support the arts and cultural sector in Tasmanian impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, arts organisations that are currently on a single year funding package or those in the final year of agreements under the Arts Tasmania Organisations Program will have these contracts extended for another year.

This will support these 19 organisation to continue to operate through this period of disruption and plan activities in 2021.

Additional competitive funding will also be made available for arts organisations that will support additional employment and cultural activity.

This will be open to organisations based in Tasmania that are not already receiving support through Arts Tasmania’s Organisations (multi-year), Cultural Heritage Organisations, Cultural Heritage Organisations (multi-year) or those in receipt of annual funding extension.

Organisations in receipt of administered funding from the Tasmanian Government (including the Theatre Royal Management Board) are not eligible to apply for support package funds.

Applications open: Tuesday, 31 March 2020
Applications close: Monday, 6 July 2020
Apply: www.arts.tas.gov.au/funding

Contact and assistance

For advice on eligibility or for assistance with your application please call:

Arts Tasmania: 03 6165 6666 or email grants@arts.tas.gov.au

Screen Tasmania: 03 6165 5070 or email info@screen.tas.gov.au

Last update: 07 Apr 2020 5:11pm

The Tasmanian Government will provide an additional $1.8 million for fisheries fees and licence relief for 12 months.

This will include:

  • $604,000 for fee relief for a range of wild fisheries licence fees, for example commercial dive, scallops and fishing vessel;
  • $427,000 for licence and rental fees relief for shellfish farming for 12 months, and
  • $770,000 for ShellMAP Program fee relief.

This initiative is in addition to the 12-month waiver for annual fees for Rock Lobster, Giant Crab, Wild Capture Fin Fisheries and Abalone Divers, which has a full cost of $3.7 million.

This brings the total Government support to the fishing industry to $5.5 million.

The Government is taking action to support the shellfish industry and recognises that the state's growers and farmers are struggling with the impacts of COVID-19.

The fee relief is designed to help shellfish farmers to focus on getting through this difficult period.

What is being offered to Wild Capture Fisheries?

Payment waivers for licence fees for the next 12 months are being offered to licence holders in the following Tasmanian wild capture fisheries:

  • Abalone Dive
  • Australian Salmon
  • Automatic Squid Jig
  • Banded Morwong
  • Beach Seine A
  • Beach Seine B
  • Clam Georges Bay North
  • Cockle Ansons Bay
  • Commercial Dive
  • Danish Seine
  • Fish Processing Licence
  • Giant Crab
  • Introduced Marine Plant
  • King Island Kelp
  • Limited Danish Seine
  • Mackerel - Category A
  • Mackerel - Category B
  • Marine Plant
  • Native Oyster Georges Bay
  • Octopus
  • Pacific Oyster
  • Personal
  • Fish Handling
  • Purse Seine Net
  • Rock Lobster
  • Scalefish A
  • Scalefish B
  • Scalefish C
  • Scallop
  • Small Mesh Gillnet
  • Southern Calamari
  • Undaria
  • Venerupus
  • Vessel Wrasse

This initiative will reduce a significant cost for individual fishers and small to medium sized, often family-owned, fishery and processing businesses that provide direct and indirect employment for fishers and processors.

Fishing and processing industries require a highly skilled workforce and so, by investing in our workforce at this most challenging time, we are investing in the future resilience of the sector.

Who is eligible?

Commercial fishers and processors who hold the licence types listed above are eligible. The waiver is for 12 months and will take effect for those licences that are due for renewal after January 2020. Payments already made for those licence fees listed above in the new (2020-21) licence year will be refunded.

When will the initiative be available?

Fee relief will be automatic at the time of the next licence renewal. Note that renewal dates vary by fishery.

When will more information be available?

An update on how these waivers will apply, and procedures for refund of certain licence fees that have recently been paid, can be found on the DPIPWE website. Fishers can access more information by contacting the Department on 1300 368 550 or 03 6165 3000 or email fisheries.licensing@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

Can I register to receive more information?

Licensed fishers and processors in fisheries covered by these waivers will receive an email early next week from the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE). The email will outline the procedures that will be in place from Monday 30 March 2020.

Shellfish Industry

The assistance package for the shellfish industry totals nearly $1.2 million. Shellfish marine farm licence holders will have their licence and rental fees waived for the 2020/21 licensing period. The Government will also waive the 2020/21 Shellfish Market Access Program (ShellMAP) levy for these leaseholders, which equates to $770,000.

Who is eligible?

Licenced shellfish marine farmers.

When will the initiative be available?

This initiative will apply to all lease rental fees due for licensed shellfish farmers from 1 April 2020 for a period of 12 months and to shellfish licences for the 2020/21 licence period.

How do I apply?

Renewals of shellfish marine farming licences are due at the end of April and fee relief for licenced species and the ShellMAP levy will be automatic.

An application form to waive lease rental fees will accompany licence renewal notices, which will be sent out to all licence holders.

Where will information be provided?

Rural Business Tasmania also runs a Rural Financial Counselling Service that provides free, confidential and independent counsel to farmers and producers suffering financial hardship.

For information about Rural Financial Counselling, visit the Rural Business Tasmania website or call 1300 88 FARM (1300 88 3276).

Stay Afloat

TSIC and RAW Tas have commenced a project to address:

1. Dedicated on-the-ground support for seafood operators, delivered through the RAW Outreach Program; and
2. Relevant educational resources to encourage fishers to look out for other fishers, and mates to look out for their mates and to seek further support if needed.

Further details are available from the Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council website.

Last update: 07 Apr 2020 5:16pm

The Tasmanian Government recognises that our health professionals are working at the front line and need support during the unfolding COVID-19 situation.

We have made $5 million available to our primary healthcare sector to ensure GPs and pharmacists are supported so they can continue providing primary health services.

One Off Grant Funding

Grant funding of up to $10 000 is available to eligible general practices and community pharmacists to support continued delivery of primary health services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applicants can only submit one application for grant funding.

Eligibility

To be eligible to apply for grant funding the applicant must:

  • have an Australian Business Number and be registered for GST;
  • be a general practice or community pharmacy;
  • have been operating continuously since 31 January 2020 and be currently operating and providing services to Tasmanians within a community; and
  • not be subject to any legal disability, including bankruptcy or liquidation.

Funding criteria

Applications for funding need to identify expenditure to support continued delivery of primary health services during the COVID-19 pandemic.  This includes the following categories:

  • Equipment including general and personal protective equipment
  • Infrastructure including minor capital works and Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
  • Workforce including training, additional staffing support, specialist expertise, security staffing
  • Other – items must be specified and must be related to continuation of delivery of primary health services during COVID-19 pandemic

Apply now

To apply please visit: www.business.tas.gov.au

Further information

Further information is available in the Primary Healthcare Grant Guidelines.

To enquire about eligibility or seek assistance with the application process, please contact:

Amanda Daly
Department of Health
Phone 6166 1075 (business hours 8:30am to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday)
Email: primaryhealth.caregrants@health.tas.gov.au

Last update: 07 Apr 2020 5:19pm

The health, safety and wellbeing of Tasmanians is our number one priority as we face the challenge of coronavirus. Our second stimulus package will help Tasmanian households and individuals as we deal with the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supporting Households and Individuals

Fees and charges relief

For households and individuals the Government will:

  • Freeze the Community Fire Levy, which is part of rates collections, from the next financial year.
  • Waive or refund school levies for this year at a cost of $13 million this calendar year. For those who have already paid their schools levies, the Government will arrange for these to be refunded.
  • Cap electricity prices and freeze water bills for next financial year, at an estimated combined cost of $20 million. This is in addition to hardship funds and arrangements currently in place.

The Government welcomes news that:

  • Aurora Energy has established a $5 million fund to assist customers with bill relief, waiving fees or charges, freezing debt, payment plans, in addition to a range of other support measures
  • Aurora Energy has also advised it will not be disconnecting any residential or small business customers, without their agreement during this crisis.

Additional money for health

The Government has increased its primary health care fund from $2 million to $5 million to ensure that the sector can continue to deliver primary healthcare services during the COVID-19 pandemic. This will assist GPs, pharmacists and dentists to obtain the necessary supplies and take the necessary measures to protect themselves and our wider community in coming months.

The Government has also made an additional provision of $150 million for health to manage COVID-19.

Rent relief for social housing

The Government will not increase rent for social housing tenants, and will not count Federal and State Government emergency payments as income for the purposes of calculating rent contributions.

This will leave more money in the hands of low income households who need it in these difficult times, and in local economies at a cost of around $6.7 million.

See more on rent relief for social housing.

Additional housing for Tasmanians

The Government will also increase funding to the Private Rental Incentive Scheme to increase the pool of available houses by up to 200 this year, at a cost of $2 million for 75 additional homes. This will assist in meeting the needs of those on the housing register.

Supporting workers

The Government will do its part to help our workforce by providing casual workers in the state sector with two weeks special leave if they are required to self-isolate.

No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS)

The Government will provide an extra $1 million to increase the provisions of NILS to support low-income families obtain affordable finance for goods and services.

Emergency Support

Emergency accommodation and support is available for low-income Tasmanians who are required to self-isolate due to COVID-19 but who are unable to stay at their regular place of residence or are homeless.

Last update: 07 Apr 2020 5:20pm

The Government has provided $260,000 to make a one-off immediate $200 payment to foster and kinship carers for each child or young person in their care, so families can purchase essential cleaning or hygiene products and to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

Funds will be made available to carers though automatic deposit.

Children’s safety and wellbeing is our shared responsibility, and during this time it is very important that we all work together. We value those people who step in to care for children who cannot live at home and understand the additional challenges caused by the coronavirus.

For latest advice, information and resources
Go to: www.health.gov.au or www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au

Call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you  require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.

If you have concerns about your health, speak to your doctor

Last update: 07 Apr 2020 5:21pm

The Government will add 75 homes to the Private Rental Incentive Scheme (PRIS) scheme for two years with an investment of $2 million.

This will assist in helping to find more accommodation for those on the Housing Register, which is expected to increase given the economic situation arising from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The PRIS offers landlords an incentive to lease their homes for a two-year period at a rental that is set at affordable level for clients off the Housing Register.

Under the Affordable Housing Action Plan 2, there is a target of 100 homes under PRIS. This has been increased under the CSHA Debt Waiver by a further 50 homes over four years. A further 25 Homes has been added as part of the State of the State Address.

This initiative will see the number of households assisted through the program increase to beyond 200.

The Communities Tasmania website has more information on the PRIS.

Last update: 07 Apr 2020 5:22pm

The Government will not increase the rent for social housing tenants over the next six months, and will not count Federal Government COVID-19 emergency payments as income for the purposes of calculating rent contributions.

There are around 11,500 households across Tasmania in social housing. These households, who are managed  by Housing Tasmania and Better Housing Futures community housing providers, pay rent based on their  household income.

All of these social housing providers will not increase the rent for social housing tenants over the next six months,  nor include any of the COVID-19 payments (either one-off or the increased benefits) in their rent setting.

Furthermore, if a household experiences a decrease in their household income, their rent will be decreased based  on the Centrelink rates before the COVID-19 payments were established.

Any tenant whose income has been reduced as a result of the COVID-19 should contact their tenancy manager  and their rents will be adjusted immediately.  Other tenants do not have to do anything.

Over the next six months this initiative will save tenants more than $6 million.

Last update: 07 Apr 2020 5:25pm

Emergency accommodation and support is available for low-income Tasmanians who are required to self-isolate due to COVID-19 but who are unable to stay at their regular place of residence or are homeless.

Types of emergency support

Accommodation support

Emergency accommodation, such as hotel rooms, is available for vulnerable individuals and families on low incomes who are required by Public Health to self-isolate due to COVID-19 risk but who are unable to stay at their regular place of residence or are homeless.

Pandemic Isolation Assistance Grants

A one-off payment is available to low-income persons who are required by Public Health to self-isolate due to COVID-19 risk.

The amount depends on the size of your household:

  • $250 per adult
  • $125 per child
  • Maximum capped at $1000 per household

Emergency relief

Our Recovery Network Partners can help you with emergency food hampers, delivery of medications, provision of financial counselling and other essential support during your self-isolation.

Recovery Network Partners include Red Cross, Rural Business Tasmania and The Salvation Army.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for Emergency Support, you must be:

  • Required by Public Health to self-isolate (excludes travellers returning home who are required to self-isolate in government provided accommodation) as evidenced by a Letter of Isolation or other form of official advice; and
  • Must be low-income as evidenced by Centrelink Health Care Card or Pensioners Concession Card, or otherwise demonstrate genuine financial hardship; and
  • Are not able to self-isolate at your regular place of residence or with family and friends, as to do so, in the opinion of Public Health, would place vulnerable people at too great a risk.

An individual or household may be eligible to receive both Accommodation Support and Pandemic Isolation Assistance Grants.

Flowchart showing the eligibility for emergency accommodation funding. The funding is aimed at vulnerable Tasmanians.

Financial hardship

Retrenched casual and contract workers or low income international tourists are examples of people who may not have a Centrelink or pensioners card but who may demonstrate genuine financial hardship.

Homelessness

If a person is required to self-isolate in overcrowded housing or homelessness they will be considered as not able to self-isolate at home and will need emergency accommodation.

If you are not eligible for Emergency Support but you need emergency accommodation, then you can call Housing Connect on 1800 800 588.

Housing Connect can provide financial help to pay for emergency accommodation or they can tell you to contact an emergency accommodation provider. They can connect you to affordable private rentals or into Rapid Rehousing if you are affected by family violence.

Rapid Rehousing is a type of housing assistance.

How to seek assistance

All referring agencies and members of the public should ring the Public Hotline on 1800 671 738.

Last update: 07 Apr 2020 5:26pm

Emergency hotel accommodation is available for frontline workers who directly deliver essential health, welfare and biosecurity services if they need to stay away from home.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for emergency accommodation support, frontline workers must be:

  • Directly delivering essential health, welfare or biosecurity services and in close contact with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19; and
  • Their workplace is unable to provide reasonable prevention measures to stop close contact; and
  • Are not able to self-isolate at their regular place of residence because a household member is ‘high risk’ (e.g. people who are elderly or have chronic health conditions or a weakened immune system); or a household member is required by Public Health to self-isolate.

Ring the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 if you are a frontline worker seeking emergency accommodation support.

Flowchart of illustrating the eligibility criteria for emergency accommodation by frontline workers

Last update: 07 Apr 2020 5:28pm

The health, safety and wellbeing of Tasmanians is our number one priority as we face the challenge of coronavirus. Our social and economic support package will help vulnerable Tasmanians and our community as we deal with the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supporting Vulnerable Tasmanians and our Community

How to seek assistance – Public Health Hotline

The Tasmanian Coronavirus Hotline has been set up as the main point of contact for the Tasmanian Community on the coronavirus pandemic.

All referring agencies, members of the public and frontline workers who seek Emergency Support can ring the Public Hotline on 1800 671 738.

Additional funding for community organisations

The Government will boost its COVID-19 funding for community organisations to $5 million. This funding will enable NGOs to support vulnerable people, including:

  • an additional $1 million for emergency accommodation;
  • $100,000 to Foodbank to increase delivery and supplies;
  • $250,000 to support Meals on Wheels to assist in freezing meals for the elderly and vulnerable;
  • $156,000 for Loaves and Fishes to assist them to increase their production of ready-to-eat nutritious meals for delivery frequency across the state;
  • $100,000 to TasCOSS to ensure a joined-up and connected community sector response;
  • $250,000 in an Essential Technology Fund to be managed by TasCOSS to enable community sector organisations to access technology to continue to deliver vital support;
  • $130,000 for Volunteer Tasmania to assist in mobilising volunteers;
  • $144,000 for Hamlet in partnership with City Mission to provide food (400 meals per week for 24 weeks) for persons in hardship coming through the doors of the City Mission;
  • $65,000 to YNOT (the Youth Network of Tasmania) to develop an effective communication and marketing campaign for young Tasmanians in response to COVID-19;
  • $100,000 to the Waterbridge Food Co-operative to extend their delivery of food boxes;
  • $40,000 to Scrubby Hill Farm to ensure supplies at the Waterbridge Food Co-operative and the surrounding Huon Valley community;
  • $65,000 to COTA (Council of the Ageing) to develop an effective communication plan for older Tasmanians;
  • $65,000 to Tasmanian Men’s Sheds to help people stay connected;
  • $260,000 for Community Transport Services Tasmania to continue to maintain essential transport and deliveries for our most vulnerable;
  • $500,000 to commercial trading RSL sub branches and ex-serving organisations;
  • $700,000 for Neighbourhood Houses ($20,000 for each of the 35 Houses in the State) to support their local communities; and
  • $15,000 to National Disability Services to support those with disability face the additional challenges of COVID-19. This complements the support provided by the NDIS.

See Community Support Fund for more information.

Mental health support

The Government is investing $4 million into mental health support services to plan and respond to COVID-19. This includes:

  • $875,000 to establish a dedicated 1800 phone number to allow the Tasmanian community to call in and receive psychosocial support, and provide a reach-out service for older Tasmanians and industries significantly impacted;
  • $360,000 for increased capacity to provide mental health advice, support and referral for vulnerable Tasmanians living in rural areas;
  • $450,000 supporting providers to use technology to keep vulnerable Tasmanian’s connected;
  • $120,000 for targeted support for Tasmania’s migrant community regarding the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • $600,000 for increased capacity to provide mental health support for Tasmanian’s living in supported accommodation; and
  • $250,000 to adapt Tasmania’s pharmacotherapy program to the challenges of COVID-19.

Addressing family violence

The Government will provide an additional $2.7 million to address family violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specific measures include rapid rehousing, improved and increased services, and one-off packages to support those impacted.

See Family Violence Flexible Support Packages for more information.

Supporting our vulnerable children

The Government will provide an additional $2.5 million to enhance child safety and wellbeing, including:

  • a $260,000 ICT Fund to ensure children and young people in care have internet access and mobile technology for communication and home learning;
  • $200,000 to establish an informal kinship carer liaison and support function, providing grandparents and other informal kinship carers with access to necessary advice and support when they require it;
  • $53,000 to extend the Carer Support Hotline hours to 9 am to 8 pm weekdays and at other times over the weekend and public holidays;
  • $260,000 to provide a one-off immediate $200 payment to foster and kinship carers for each child or young person in their care, so families can purchase essential cleaning or hygiene products;
  • $70,000 for the Flexible Active Families Fund to support children and families receiving family preservation or family restoration support through Child Safety Services or Intensive Family Engagement Services;
  • $50,000 to CREATE that will allow enhanced engagement and advocacy for children and young people in foster care, kinship care and residential care;
  • $480,000 to provide financial support to CatholicCare’s Therapeutic Residential Care Service to keep one additional house open for a six-month period; and
  • $1.2 million for an enhanced After Hours Response Service to deliver additional after hours support to children and families at risk.

No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS)

The Government will provide an extra $1 million to No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS) to support low-income families obtain affordable finance for goods and services.

Supporting our sporting clubs

The Government will provide $2 million for a grants program to support the ongoing viability and operation of sporting clubs and associations impacted by COVID-19 closures.

Last update: 07 Apr 2020 5:30pm

$260,000 for a Child and Young Person in Care Fund to ensure children and young people in care have internet access and mobile technology for communication and home learning.

Children’s safety and wellbeing is our shared responsibility, and during this time it is very important that we all work together to support children in out of home care to continue to be connected to their friends, family, school and Child Safety Officer. We also understand it is important for families to know their children are safe and being well cared for.

Further details about how to access this fund will be available in the coming days.

Technology can help improve relationships and people can stay psychologically close when face-to-face contact decreases if other ways of communicating are implemented instead. During this time of social distancing, there are a range of tools such as calls, texting, video chat and social media that can support communication. Video calls, when possible, can be useful to support the exchange of nonverbal cues such as tone of voice, facial expressions and eye gaze to improve the quality of communication.

Last update: 07 Apr 2020 5:32pm

The Government will provide an additional $310,000 to our community-based specialist family violence support services to increase the services operational capacity.

At times of increased community stress and anxiety the Government knows that families are under pressure. Those individuals who live in violent and stressful relationships and households are increasingly vulnerable.

This is why we are providing community based family violence services funding to increase their capacity to deliver support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yemaya, Engender Equality, Houn Valley Domestic Violence Service, Anglicare RAIN and Safechoices will be able to further support their communities through technological solutions with this additional funding.

This additional funding will enable virtual support to community members in this time of social distancing to ensure services' staff and the community are kept safe.

Last update: 07 Apr 2020 5:33pm

An additional $4 million will be provided to the Community Support Fund (the Fund), bringing the total Fund allocation to $5 million.

The Fund will provide support to Tasmania’s most vulnerable through food relief, emergency accommodation, essential transport and effective communication to ensure those Tasmanians susceptible to being disconnected stay connected and aware of the ever-changing environment.

The Department of Communities Tasmania will administer the funding by the way of grant agreements with individual organisations, and is in the process of contacting each organisation to make arrangement for the payment of funding.

What is included?

Emergency accommodation

$1 million to ensure Tasmanians that have been displaced due to COVID-19 have a safe place to sleep.

Food relief

$790,000 to assist with the acquiring, production and disbursement of food to those Tasmanians unable to access healthy and nutritious meals. This will include:

  • $396,000 to Foodbank of Tasmania, Loaves and Fishes and other providers of emergency food relief to ensure ongoing operations during a time of increased pressure and need;
  • $250,000 to Meals on Wheels to assist in freezing meals for the elderly and vulnerable Tasmanians to ensure basic nutrition needs are met; and
  • $144,000 for Hamlet to provide 400 meals per week for 24 weeks through City Mission to persons experiencing hardship.

Volunteering

$130,000 will be provided to Volunteering Tasmania to assist in mobilising volunteers in Tasmania. Volunteers play an important role in the Tasmanian community and, during times of added stress, it is important to support Tasmanians to enrich their lives through volunteering and organisations to build their capacity to recruit volunteers.

Neighbourhood Houses

$700,000 will be provided to Neighbourhood Houses so that each of the 35 Houses can receive an additional $20,000 to ensure they are able to continue to support those people within their communities who are isolated and need extra support.

Tasmanian Men’s Sheds

$65,000 will be provided to Tasmanian Men’s Sheds to help people stay connected with their local Shed.

Transport

$260,000 will be provided to Community Transport Services Tasmania to continue to maintain essential transport for Tasmania’s most vulnerable to ensure each member of our community has access to basic services.

Disability support

$15,000 will be provided to National Disability Services Tasmania to support those with disability to face the additional challenges caused by COVID-19. This will complement the support provided by the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Information for individuals

To ensure this support reaches individual Tasmanians as soon as possible, the Tasmanian Government is closely working with community organisations for the delivery of services related to their funding.

For individuals who could benefit from any of the above stimulus funding, please continue to check back on our website for additional information.

Community sector support

$480,000 has been committed to community sector organisations to ensure equality in Tasmania is continued to be achieved by supporting ongoing coordination and effective communication and dissemination of information to the community sector. This includes;

  • $100,000 to TasCOSS to ensure a joined-up and connected community sector response, including helping ensure frontline community sector staff can keep services open or adapt their business models to continue to deliver services;
  • $250,000 in an Essential Technology Fund to be managed by TasCOSS to enable community sector organisations to access technology to continue to deliver vital support services to vulnerable Tasmanians by phone or online, and work from home; and
  • $130,000 ($65,000 each) to the Youth Network of Tasmania and the Council of the Ageing to develop purposeful and informative information to their respective cohort groups in response to COVID-19.

A one off payment of $65,000 will be provided to the Council of the Ageing to develop an effective communication plan for older Tasmanians. The Department of Communities Tasmania will work with COTA on providing this funding.

Last update: 07 Apr 2020 5:35pm

$480,000 to provide financial support to enable the Therapeutic Residential Care program to keep one additional house open for a six-month period.

$50,000 to CREATE to enable enhanced engagement and advocacy for children and young people in foster care, kinship care and residential care.

$1.2 million for an enhanced After-Hours Response Service to deliver additional after hours support to children and families at risk.

This additional funding will provide enhanced capacity to support and advocate for children and young people who may be feeling anxious and uncertain; provide additional capacity and crisis accommodation for young people in residential care requiring a specialist service; and ensure that the Child Safety Service has capacity to manage increased demand after hours.

Communities Tasmania will work with our sector partners to administer this additional funding.

Last update: 07 Apr 2020 5:37pm

Flexible Support Packages are designed to provide a holistic response to people experiencing family violence by assisting them to access supports when leaving an abusive relationship.

In combination with the Keeping Women Safe in their Homes program which funds property security upgrades like security screen doors and sensor lights, Flexible Support Packages of up to $3,000 will be available to purchase basic items like food, clothing, and some bills (utilities, phone), medical or pharmaceutical costs not covered by Medicare or the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, relocation costs, furnishings and whitegoods to support stability and safety at home.

Applications need to be prepared by service providers working with the victim, and submitted to the Safe at Home Coordination Unit for consideration. As part of the application process, the service provider must undertake a family violence risk assessment and develop a safety plan with the victim.

Who will be the provider?

The Safe at Home Coordination Unit will administer the Flexible Support Packages.

Service Providers working with family violence victims can apply for packages. The service provider must undertake a family violence risk assessment and develop a safety plan with the victim to be eligible to apply for a Flexible Support Package.

Who is eligible?

Flexible Support Packages will be targeted to:

  • Victims leaving abusive relationships; and/or
  • Have recently experienced family violence; and/or
  • Are planning to leave an abusive relationship, and the perpetrator has been removed from the home as a result of a PFVO or FVO.

Priority will be given to:

  • Victims and children at high risk of experiencing family violence.
  • Victims experiencing significant financial hardship.

Flexible Support Packages are not accessible to victims who wish to continue their relationship with the perpetrator of the abuse.

How do I apply/access?

Application forms will be sent to service provider networks, and are otherwise available from the Safe at Home Coordination Unit.

How do I find out more?

Further information will be available from 6 April 2020. Application forms will be sent to service provider networks, and are otherwise available from the Safe at Home Coordination Unit.

Information about the program will be published on the Department of Justice website www.safeathome.tas.gov.au

Last update: 07 Apr 2020 5:38pm

$100,000 is dedicated to family violence primary prevention awareness raising efforts to communicate that coronavirus (COVID-19) is no excuse for family violence.

The campaign will be developed in consultation with Family Violence Consultative Committee and the Tasmanian Our Watch Officer.

Last update: 07 Apr 2020 5:39pm

$260,000 to increase the rapid rehousing pool by an additional 20 properties to make available for transitional housing for up to 12 months for those experiencing family violence.

Family Violence Rapid Rehousing is designed to quickly help vulnerable households experiencing family violence into safe and affordable homes.

This initiative supports the expansion of the Rapid Rehousing Program which provides supported housing options for families affected by family violence allowing them to access safe and affordable rental homes. Perpetrators can also access the program to enable victims/survivors to remain in their own home when it is safe to do so.

This will provide an additional 20 properties from the private rental market.

Who will be the provider?

Family Violence Rapid Rehousing is a housing assistance initiative funded by the Tasmanian Government and administered by Housing Tasmania. It will be delivered in partnership between the Tasmanian Government (Housing Tasmania and the Department of Premier and Cabinet), registered Community Housing Providers and Housing Connect.

Who will be eligible?

Suitable applicants are:

  • Families and individuals who are leaving a violent relationship.
  • Perpetrators who need alternative housing so the family can remain in the family home can also be assisted. In general, perpetrators may have a police order or court order in place; however, discretion can be exercised to determine appropriate assistance within the program.
  • All applicants must be 16 years of age or over and be able to live independently. They must meet the minimum eligibility requirements for social housing, with the exception that there are no income or asset eligibility requirements for Family Violence Rapid Rehousing.

Families and individuals with goals towards reunification should work with services on achieving those goals through an alternative program. Where a family or individual reunites with the perpetrator of family violence, Housing Connect and the Community Housing Provider will work with relevant services, including Safe at Home, police and support services, to transition the family or individual to alternate accommodation.

For further information on this initiative read the Fact Sheet on the Communities Tasmania website or contact Housing Connect on 1800 800 588.

Last update: 07 Apr 2020 5:41pm

$70,000 for the Flexible Active Families Fund to support children and families receiving family preservation or family restoration services or Intensive Family Engagement Services, to access essential cleaning and hygiene products and mobile communication technologies.

Children’s safety and wellbeing is our shared responsibility and it is everyone’s business, more so now than ever. During this time, it is very important for our communities to focus on support for children, young people and their families.

The Tasmanian Government has announced the availability of additional support for those families who are working with the Child Safety Service to safely keep their children at home or to have the children returned safely to the family home.

Information on accessing this fund will be provided to families through the Child Safety Service.

Last update: 07 Apr 2020 5:43pm

$200,000 to establish an informal kinship carer liaison and support function, providing grandparents and other informal kinship carers with access to necessary advice and support when they require it

Informal kinship carers play an essential role in the care and wellbeing of many children who are unable to live with their immediate family. These relatives have often made significant sacrifices to ensure their kin receive the love and care they need and don’t enter the out-of-home care system.

The establishment of a liaison and support function will assist informal kinship carers have access to advice and support to assist them in their essential role.

We know that many informal kinship carers are grandparents, and the impact of COVID-19 may be felt more acutely within this community. That’s why we are bringing forward these measures of support and committing $200,000 to the liaison and support function for informal kinship carers.

Details of how this liaison and support function will be rolled out are currently being developed and further information will be provided shortly.

Last update: 07 Apr 2020 5:45pm

The Government will provide an extra $1 million to increase the provisions of NILS – No Interest Loans. This increase in funding will enable further loans to be provided to healthcare card receipts and ensure that NILS has the capacity to meet the anticipated demand for loans as the full impact of COVID–19 pandemic unfolds.

At a time of financial hardship the Government is providing additional funding to NILS No Interest Loans to broaden their capacity to provide no interest loans to people who are on Healthcare cards.

This additional funding will ensure NILS is able to ensure that they have volunteers and delivery partners to meet the anticipated demand as people who are in financial stress, at times of increased unemployment due to sudden job losses.

We know that data from across Australia shows Payday loan use is growing most rapidly in Tasmania, with a growth rate of 15.5% between January and July 2019. 18% in 2017 and 16% in 2018. This has been a trend for the last three years. We need to ensure those people who find themselves in financial stress, and suddenly without a job, know that they may be able to access a NILS loan.

There is an obvious benefit of loans being provided through NILS to local economies. NILS Tasmania purchases regularly from over 350 suppliers throughout Tasmania. Last year close to $3 million dollars was spent in local appliance retailers, mechanics, dental surgeries and hardware stores in small and large communities across the State. The flow on economic benefit from the loans provided by NILS being spent in Tasmania will continue to support our local businesses.

The additional $1 million will be provided to NILS to build the capacity of the network, to support the administration of loans, and to expand the number of loans that will be available.

Last update: 07 Apr 2020 5:47pm

$2 million in grants to support the ongoing viability and operations of sporting associations.

The initiative will keep those people employed undertaking sport related duties in their jobs. It will provide continuity for those employed and for the sporting organisations who employ them.

The funding will be administered by the Communities, Sport and Recreation Division within the Department of Communities Tasmania, It is anticipated that there will be two tranches of funding with the first of two tranches available by the end of April. The second tranche of funding will be available early in the 2020-21 financial year.

The intent of the first tranche is to provide income replacement to enable organisations facing immediate dislocation of competitions and therefore revenue streams due to COVID-19. This would retain paid staff employed in sports associations undertaking sport related duties in Tasmania. The funding will be based on evidence of demonstrated need, including an assessment/validation of revenue and expenditure.

The second tranche continue to support associations in their readiness to revitalise participation through promotion and marketing, encouraging new and returning participants and ensuring the sport has the expertise and skill to support participation (coaches, umpires, officials, administration and management).

Who is eligible?

State sporting organisations that meet the Sport and Recreation State Grants Program’s eligibility requirements.

When will the initiative be available?

By the end of April 2020.

How do I apply/access?

State sporting organisations will be able to apply directly through a process that will entail evidence of demonstrated need and an assessment/confirmation of revenue and expenses.

When will the guidelines be available?

By 9 April 2020.

Where will information be published/provided?

It will be provided by direct email/communication with eligible organisations.

How can I register to receive more information?

Information will be provided to all eligible organisations. If you need to update contact details, this can be done via Communities, Sport and Recreation at sportrec@communities.tas.gov.au

Last update: 08 Apr 2020 12:37pm

The Tasmanian Government is providing $500,000 to commercial trading RSL sub-branches and ex-serving organisations impacted by COVID-19 to assist them to find stability through these times of uncertainty and continue to support their veteran community.

The health, safety and wellbeing of Tasmanians, including veterans, is a priority of the Tasmanian Government as we face the challenge of COVID-19. Ex-services organisations provide valuable assistance, support and advocacy for veterans and their families.

The Tasmanian Government is committed to helping veterans and ex-serving organisations affected by trading restrictions to maintain viability during the current COVID-19 situation and continue to provide care and support to veterans and ex-serving personnel.

The Government will provide $500,000 in funding through grants of up to $10,000 to commercial trading RSL sub-branches and ex-serving organisations impacted by the coronavirus.

Eligible organisations are encouraged to contact the Department of Communities, Communities Sport and Recreation division for more information.

Phone: 03 6165 8388

Email: csr@communities.tas.gov.au