COVID-19 Update – 27 April 2020

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Update on JobKeeper payment for not-for-profits

Thank you to everyone who has given us feedback and those who completed the ACOSS survey on how the current COVID-19 pandemic is affecting your organisation.

We are pleased to see the Federal Government’s announcement on changes to JobKeeper Payments for not-for-profits and charities late last week.

The changes will allow charities (other than schools and universities) to elect to exclude government revenue from the JobKeeper turnover test.

This will allow employing charities receiving revenue from government to use either their total turnover or their turnover excluding government revenue, for the purposes of assessing eligibility for the JobKeeper Payment. This will help to ensure that the eligibility of charities is not adversely affected where they are delivering significant services that are funded by government.

The deadline to enrol for the initial JobKeeper Payment has also been extended to 31 May 2020.

You can find out more about the changes on Community Door.

While these changes are welcome, we know that not all community organisations will be eligible for the payments. We will continue to advocate alongside our Councils of Social Service Network colleagues, for the whole of the community sector to be supported at this time when our services are vital.

Protections for residential tenancies impacted by COVID-19

QCOSS has long been advocating for better protections so that all Queenslanders who rent can make their house a home. This is more important than ever in the current environment with many renters experiencing severe financial hardship due to the impacts of COVID-19.

In early April, we welcomed the Queensland Government’s announcement on the renter protection package. While some of the protections announced have been subsequently watered down, QCOSS will continue to urge the government to protect all Queenslanders who rent. The prospect of not having a roof over their heads should not be something they lay awake at night worrying about, nor should they be worrying about amassing an unmanageable amount of debt.

Amendments to protect tenants include:

  • Tenants who are suffering or have suffered excessive hardship because of COVID-19 who cannot meet their rent commitments cannot be evicted or listed in a tenancy database for rent arrears.
  • Fixed term agreements due to expire during the COVID-19 pandemic will be extended to 30 September 2020 unless the tenant requests a shorter term.
  • Property owners can only end COVID-19 impacted tenancies with approved reasons and required notice periods.
  • New approved reasons to allow property owners and tenants to end their tenancy agreement if they need to during the COVID-19 emergency period, including if they are experiencing domestic and family violence with protections in place to limit their liability for end of lease costs.

The government has released a draft Residential Tenancies Practice Guide which provides guidance for negotiating arrangements for people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It sets out the steps for tenants and property owners to negotiate variations to residential tenancy agreements, including rent adjustments and breaking leases.

Read more about the changes here and view a copy of the draft practice guide on the Residential Rental Hub.

Keep in touch

Please continue to keep in touch by emailing us at [email protected] or call QCOSS on 07 3004 6900.

27 April 2020