17 April 2020

Key takeaways

  • A wide range of support programs are available from federal and state governments, including direct cash payments, wage subsidies, and other forms of relief
  • Consider how to best combine outside support with your own business continuity planning
  • Your accountant, business adviser or banker can help you understand the options available to you and your business

Help for your business and your employees

With federal support packages now totalling $320 billion1 and the states offering billions more in support, the government response to coronavirus (COVID-19) is unprecedented. In this guide, we’ve briefly summarised some of the programs most relevant to real estate businesses and their teams.

Remember, each package has eligibility conditions, and every business is different. Talk to your accountant or business adviser about whether you’re eligible, and how much you stand to benefit, before you make any decisions.

1. Cash flow support

JobKeeper payment

  • What is it?
    A six-month wage subsidy of $1,500 per fortnight for eligible employees
  • Who’s eligible?
    Businesses with an annual turnover less than $1bn, whose turnover is estimated to have fallen 30% or more, compared to the same month or quarter in the previous year, or businesses with annual turnover of $1 billion or more (or is part of a consolidated group for income tax purposes with turnover of $1 billion or more),whose turnover is estimated to or is likely to have fallen by 50 per cent or more; and is not subject to the Major Bank Levy
  • How do you apply?
    Register on the ATO website or read more on the Treasury website

Boosting cash flow for employers

  • What is it?
    A tax-free cash boost of $20,000 – $100,000, delivered as a credit against future BAS payments
  • Who’s eligible?
    Businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $50m who pay salaries or other eligible payments, such as directors’ fees
  • How do you apply?
    You don’t need to apply. You’ll automatically receive the applicable credit when you lodge an activity statement after 28 April 2020

Support for trainees

  • What is it? 
    A 50% wage subsidy for trainees, up to a maximum of $21,000 per employee for the 9 months to 30 September 2020
  • Who’s eligible? 
    Businesses with less than 20 staff who employed a trainee, as at 1 March 2020
  • How do you apply?
    Contact an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider for an eligibility assessment

2. Credit and insolvency

The Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme

  • What is it?
    A federal government guarantee for 50% of new, unsecured loans to small and medium businesses
  • Who’s eligible?
    Businesses with turnover less than $50m, borrowing a maximum of $250,000 for up to three years, with a 6-month repayment pause
  • How do you apply?
    Talk to your financial institution

Temporary relief for distressed businesses

  • What is it?
    Temporary changes to bankruptcy laws, including increases in the threshold for creditors to issue statutory demands or start bankruptcy proceedings, and protection from directors’ personal liability for trading while insolvent
  • Who’s eligible?
    Businesses and individuals in financial distress
  • How do you apply?
    Applies automatically

3. Rental relief for commercial tenants

This scheme was announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on 7 April 2020, with some details yet to be confirmed.

  • What is it?
    Mandatory rental waivers and deferrals for businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19
  • Who’s eligible?
    Businesses with turnover less than $50m that are eligible for the JobKeeper program
  • How do you apply?
    Talk to your landlord. Binding mediation schemes are set to be rolled out in each state and territory

4. Tax relief

  • What is it?
    A range of tax relief options will be offered by the ATO on a case-by-case basis, including deferring payments and remitting interest and penalties
  • Who’s eligible?
    Businesses with turnover of less than $50m that are eligible for the JobKeeper program
  • How do you apply?
    Ask your accountant or talk to the ATO

5. State-based and local programs

  • What is it?
    A range of measures from state and local governments – from direct grants to loan guarantees and payroll tax assistance
  • Eligibility and applications
    See the resources below for details


Federal government programs




Department of Industry

ATO programs

Additional support during COVID-19

State government programs


New South Wales

Northern Territory


South Australia



Western Australia

Australian Local Government Association

How Macquarie can help

The Macquarie Real Estate team is here to support you throughout the COVID-19 crisis, with personalised support. To find out more, contact your Macquarie Relationship Manager, call 1800 442 370, or visit macquarie.com.au/business-banking/real-estate-industry.html

Additional information


Federal Treasury, Economic response to the Coronavirus, March 2020.

The information on this page has been prepared by Macquarie Business Banking, a division of Macquarie Bank Limited AFSL & Australian Credit Licence 237502 ("Macquarie") for general information purposes only, without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this general information, you must consider its appropriateness having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs. The information provided is not intended to replace or serve as a substitute for any accounting, tax or other professional advice, consultation or service.