Support and financial services available during COVID-19

There are services and support to help you keep your business operating through the COVID-19 crisis.

Financial assistance

SA Jobs Rescue Package

The government has a new Jobs Rescue Package to help save South Australian jobs and support key industries and local businesses.

Read the media release.

Economic Stimulus Package

The Australian Government announced on 12 March 2020 a $17.6 billion economic plan in response to coronavirus COVID-19:

  • Support business investment.
  • Provide cash flow assistance to help small and medium sized business to stay in business and keep their employees in jobs.
  • Target support for the most severely affected sectors, regions and communities.
  • Household stimulus payments that will benefit the wider economy.

On 22 March 2020 a second stimulus package was announced for:

  • small to medium enterprises
  • individuals
  • directors of distressed businesses
  • early access to superannuation.

JobKeeper package

The Commonwealth has announced its JobKeeper package, which has two components:

Job Keeper Payment for employers and employees to enable businesses to continue to pay their employees. This temporary scheme is also available to the self-employed.

JobKeeper Payment for sole traders. Sole traders are described as a business structure where the individual owner is legally responsible for all aspects of the business including any debts and losses and day-to-day business decisions. A sole trader may or may not employ other people in their business.

Visit the links above for for eligibility and application information.

Extension of time to enrol for the JobKeeper scheme

The Australian Commissioner of Taxation has extended the time to enrol for the initial JobKeeper period, from 30 April 2020 until 31 May 2020. Enrolments are open through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) online services, the ATO’s Business Portal using myGov ID or through registered tax professionals. If businesses enrol by 31 May, they will still be able to claim for the fortnights ending in April and May provided they meet all the eligibility requirements for each of those fortnights. This includes having paid their employees by the appropriate date for each fortnight. Read more information.

Fee and rent relief for nature-based tourism businesses including fishing

The South Australian Government will provide fee and rent relief for nature-based tourism businesses (including boating experiences and fishing) who have been significantly impacted in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

Read the media release.

Small SA businesses to receive $10,000 payments

The South Australian Government has announced it will provide one-off, $10,000 emergency cash grants to small businesses and not-for-profits across the state that have suffered a significant loss of income or been forced to close as a result of coronavirus-related restrictions. For more information, conditions and to register your interest, businesses are urged to visit Growing South Australia on the SA Treasury website.

Applications for the grant will open shortly and be available until 1 June 2020.

Read the Premier’s media release.

Export assistance

Australian exporters impacted by the COVID-19 crisis will now have access to business-saving loans between $250,000 and $50 million under a new $500 million capital facility to be administered by Export Finance Australia.

The new COVID-19 Export Capital Facility will target loans to established and previously profitable exporters who, due to COVID-19, are unable to gain finance from commercial sources. For more information read the fact sheet or the media release from Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham.

More information

Stimulus measures to support businesses and the community impacted by COVID-19 – State Government announcement

Economic response packages – Business SA

Exports – air freight support and Recovery Taskforce

Airfreight route opens for South Australian exporters

A new direct airfreight route between Adelaide and Singapore will start from next Wednesday 6 May 2020 as part of the $110 million International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM). South Australian airfreight exporters of high-value perishable produce such as seafood, meat and dairy will be able to export their products to international markets following successful negotiations with Singapore Airlines. To ensure this dedicated exclusive Adelaide flight continues beyond the initial two weeks, exporters are encouraged to immediately speak with their freight forwarder to get their exports booked on this dedicated service.

See the Department for Trade and Investment website for the latest information on support for South Australian exporters.

Read the media release.

New air freight network to boost agricultural and fisheries exports

A new network of 15 air freight service providers and freight forwarders has been established by the Commonwealth Government to accelerate delivery of agricultural and fisheries exports into key overseas markets.

In the first three weeks of its operation, over 560 Australian businesses have registered their interest in utilising the International Freight Assistance Mechanism and agreements for 55 freight flights have already been secured.

For more information, please read the Fact Sheet or visit the Austrade website.

Read the media release.

Air freight support for essential agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries

A new $110 million initiative will back Australia’s agricultural and fisheries sector by helping them export their high-quality produce into key overseas markets. Return flights will bring back vital medical supplies, medicines and equipment.

The aim is to help restore key freight routes for farmers until commercial capacity can be restored.

Read the media release and factsheet.

You can also have your say about the initiative and register your interest.

Export Recovery Taskforce

Supporting South Australian exporters throughout COVID-19 will be the focus of a new expert industry taskforce. The Export Recovery Taskforce will work to identify the effects of the COVID-19 crisis across export sectors and to coordinate government intervention and support for affected businesses.

The Taskforce consists of representatives from key freight organisations such as the SA Freight Council and Adelaide Airports. It's looking for input from air, sea and freight businesses, as well as exporters with a particular focus on fresh food.

Read the media release.

Additional air freight capacity available for Australian exporters

To support Australian exporters, Qantas and Virgin Australia are offering air freight capacity on repatriation international passenger services to Auckland, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and London, from Thursday 9 April 2020.

While these services are limited, this will give Australian producers a way to obtain valuable inputs for their businesses. The return flights to Australia will bring in vital medicines, medical supplies and equipment to support Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The best way to access these flights is to utilise your standard freight operations channels, including your freight forwarder.

For more information on the repatriation flights including schedules, visit:

International Freight Assistance Mechanism

All food exporters are encouraged to register on the Commonwealth website to access the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM). The Commonwealth Government is currently in the process of selecting a national freight forwarder to deliver IFAM and an announcement is expected this week.

Exporters interested in a freight consolidation option out of Adelaide should speak with Becky Houston, Market Development Manager, Department for Trade and Investment at or 0407 734 052.

Advice for exporters of perishables that either use, or may use airfreight

Make sure you register your interest in air freight through the Commonwealth’s International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM). This is particularly important to get access to flights leaving the hubs announced (Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth). Register online or call (02) 6272 2444. No due date is set by the Commonwealth, but we strongly advise that you do this immediately to be considered as part of the early consolidated flights and benefit from the subsidisation available. Whilst the IFAM will initially only focus on the key markets of China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UAE, please still register if you have other target markets, as this list may be expanded if there is sufficient demand and commercial opportunity.

There is opportunity through IFAM to consider proposals for flights direct from Adelaide, and the South Australian Government is working on this with freight forwarders and the SA Freight Council. Please indicate your interest and give the details of your potential air freight needs directly to the TradeStart adviser for your region, so the Government can make sure these are considered if any ex-Adelaide options can ultimately be facilitated.

Please keep close contact with your existing freight forwarders, as they too will become aware of air freight opportunities. Businesses should also continue to look at options via other cities (Melbourne is the most common), but consider the ex-Adelaide option when and if it becomes available. Whilst the focus is on perishables at this stage, there is potential that non-perishable or less perishable items might be eligible, provided they are high value (eg. wine). At this stage, the South Australian Government is not considering subsidising road freight to other states.

Export Fundamentals Program

The State Government has launched a new Export Fundamentals Program to help emerging and existing exporters successfully market their products and services internationally, and drive local jobs growth. The program - designed by the Department for Trade and Investment - will be delivered in partnership with the national employer association and provider of trade and export development services, the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) and South Australian firm Hydra Consulting. The training program will support South Australian exporters by giving them the tools, connections and confidence to successfully move into international markets.

See the Department for Trade and Investment website for more information about the program and registration links for upcoming sessions in May.

Read the media release.

SA exporters get a boost to sell products online

South Australian exporters will receive a boost from the State Government to go online and sell their products to the world as part of a new eCommerce Accelerator Program (eCAP).

The $500,000 eCAP program comes after COVID-19 related restrictions have seen consumers embrace online platforms to purchase goods. This program will allow eligible small to medium exporters to apply for up to $10,000 in grant funding to diversify their business model to include an online platform to generate more revenue and create new jobs.

Read the media release.

Keeping your business operating

The Department for Innovation and Skills has advice and support to help you respond to COVID-19 while keeping your business running. You can find information on:

Navigating your business through the COVID-19 pandemic

Business SA has partnered with the South Australian Small Business Commissioner to help SMEs navigate the current COVID-19 pandemic, take practical actions and build strategies to become more resilient against current and future threats to their businesses and marketplace.

See the Business SA webinar for SMEs to assist them in working through the threats to their businesses. There are also a range of other webinars and resources available to support small businesses through the COVID-19 crisis on the Department for Innovation and Skills website.

Mentoring Support for Startups and Scaleups Impacted by COVID-19

The Office of the Chief Entrepreneur and the Department for Innovation and Skills are inviting South Australian startups and scaleups to register their interest in an informal mentoring service. The mentorship program will directly connect them with highly experienced business people where they can have a confidential conversation about their circumstances and receive unbiased insights and advice to help them navigate through these uncertain times. Read more information.


The National Farmers Federation has advised that FarmHub has launched three dedicated pages to help our farming community access relevant information in one central location. The new additions aim to provide users with:

Managing your staff visas

Visa extension for overseas employees

The Commonwealth Government is making temporary changes to visa arrangements to help farmers access the workforce they need to secure Australia’s food and produce supply during COVID-19. The changes will allow those within the Pacific Labour Scheme, Seasonal Worker Program and working holiday makers to continue to work in agriculture and food processing until the coronavirus crisis has passed.

If you employ overseas visitors in your operation, your employees may be able to apply for visa extensions, depending on their circumstances. Check the Home Affairs website regularly for updates to visa eligibility.

Wellbeing support

It’s normal to feel stress and worry when there is a health event happening in the community.

If you or your business has been affected by coronavirus, it is important to look after your mental health as well as your physical wellbeing.

If you notice a change in the way you, or others around you, are thinking or feeling, here are some resources so you can maintain positive mental health.

SA Health

For mental health support by phone and video in relation to COVID-19, contact the SA COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line by calling 1800 632 753, available 8.00 am to 8.00 pm, 7 days a week. This service can also provide follow-up calls.

SA COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line: 1800 632 753
Mental health emergency hotline: 13 14 65
Website: Mental health services
Read the SA Health Mental Health impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) factsheet.

Mental Health Triage

Phone: 13 14 65
Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (country and metropolitan areas)

Beyond Blue

Phone: 1300 22 46 36

Lifeline Australia

Phone: 13 11 14

Regional Access Program

Phone: 1300 032 186
Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Rural Health Connect

Speak to a psychologist online via video conferencing.

Phone: 0427 692 377

Lived Experience Telephone Support Service (LETSS)

Phone: 1800 013 755
A peer mental health support line, available 5 pm – 11.30 pm

Youth Beyond Blue

For people under 25 years of age.

Phone: 1300 224 636


For people under 25 years of age.

Phone: 1800 650 890

Page Last Reviewed: 04 May 2020
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