Stimulus and Support

Last update: 22 May 2020 4:34pm

Business Vehicle Registration Relief Package

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).


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.

Cultural and Creative Industries

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.

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

Contact and assistance

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

Arts Tasmania: 03 6165 6666 or email

Screen Tasmania: 03 6165 5070 or email

Fisheries Assistance

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

Abalone DiveAustralian SalmonAutomatic Squid JigBanded Morwong
Beach Seine ABeach Seine BClam Georges Bay NorthCockle Ansons Bay
Commercial DiveDanish SeineFish Processing LicenceGiant Crab
Introduced Marine PlantKing Island KelpLimited Danish SeineMackerel - Category A
Mackerel - Category BMarine PlantNative Oyster Georges BayOctopus
Pacific OysterPersonalFish HandlingPurse Seine Net
Rock LobsterScalefish AScalefish BScalefish C
ScallopSmall Mesh GillnetSouthern CalamariUndaria
VenereupusVessel Wrasse  

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

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 refunding 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

Licensed fishers and processors covered by these waivers will receive an email outlining the procedures from the Department.

Shellfish Industry

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.

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.

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.

See the Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council website for more information.

Local Government Loans Program

The Local Government Loans Program has been developed to assist local governments to invest and employ more staff to upgrade, renovate and to do necessary maintenance to improve existing local government infrastructure.

See the Department of Treasury and Finance website for more information.

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 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applicants can only submit one application for grant funding, except in cases where multiple service locations are being operated under a single ABN.


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 the Business Tasmania website.

Further information is available in the Primary Healthcare Grant Guidelines or contact:

Amanda Daly
Department of Health
Phone: 6166 1075 (8:30am to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday)

Rapid Response Skills Initiative

The Rapid Response Skills Initiative (RRSI) provides up to $3000 towards the cost of training for people who have lost their jobs because they have been made redundant, the place they worked has closed, or the employer had to let staff go.

See the Skills Tasmania website for more information.

Train Now Fund

The Train Now Fund will provide subsidised training to:

  • ensure employers who have urgent training needs can access funding support
  • improve the likelihood of businesses remaining sustainable
  • increase the future productivity of the business to support economic recovery and growth
  • increase the skill level and future employability of employees who remain with their employer, through completion of nationally recognised training.

See the Skills Tasmania website for more information.

Enterprise Centres Tasmania

Free advice and support is available from Enterprise Centres Tasmania a state-wide network of independent business advisors. To access this assistance contact Business Tasmania on 1800 440 026 or

For more information about specific support available visit the Business Tasmania website.

Last update: 04 Jun 2020 12:27pm

Family Violence Rapid Rehousing Program

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.

Family Violence Rapid Rehousing 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.

Eligibility criteria

  • 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.

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

Family Violence Flexible Support Packages

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 and will be administered by the Stay at Home Coordination Unit.

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.

Eligibility criteria

  • 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.

For more information visit the Safe At Home website.

Local Government - Council Support Measures

Local Government is ensuring essential services continue to be delivered to communities by offering a range of measures that may include flexible payment options, rates discounts, rates rebates, rate relief, grants and other hardship provisions.

For more information about the support measures being offered by local councils visit the Local Government Association of Tasmania’s COVID-19 webpage.

Disability support

National Disability Services Tasmania supports those with disability to face the additional challenges caused by COVID-19.

National Debt Helpline - 1800 007 007

Financial counsellors provide free, independent and confidential advice to help you manage your debts or negotiate with creditors. Visit the National Debt Helpline website for step-by-step guides and useful information on how to deal with specific types of debts.

Last update: 04 Jun 2020 12:23pm

Emergency support for vulnerable Tasmanians

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

Recovery Network Partners (Red Cross, Rural Business Tasmania and The Salvation Army) can help vulnerable Tasmanians with emergency food hampers, delivery of medications, provision of financial counselling and other essential support during quarantine.

Eligibility criteria

  • Required by Public Health to self-isolate (excludes travellers returning home who are required to quarantine 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 quarantine 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.


If a person is required to quarantine in overcrowded housing or is homeless, they will be considered as not able to quarantine 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 provide details of an emergency accommodation provider. Individuals affected by family violence will be provided details of affordable private rentals or referred to Rapid Rehousing, 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.

Emergency accommodation for frontline workers

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 quarantine 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 quarantine.

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

Private Rental Incentives Program

The Private Rental Incentives Program helps eligible low income Tasmanians access affordable private rental properties.

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

See the Communities Tasmania website for more information.

COVID-19 Rent Relief Fund

A COVID-19 Rent Relief Fund has been established to assist tenants suffering from extreme hardship, with support of up to $2,000 or four weeks rent available. More information on the Fund is available from the Communities Tasmania website.

Residential rent relief for social housing

The Tasmanian 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.

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.

Additional support for foster and kinship carers

A one-off immediate $200 payment will be made 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.

Supporting casual workers

Casual workers in the state sector will be provided with two weeks special leave if they are required to quarantine.

National Debt Helpline - 1800 007 007

Financial counsellors provide free, independent and confidential advice to help you manage your debts or negotiate with creditors. Visit the National Debt Helpline website for step-by-step guides and useful information on how to deal with specific types of debts.

Last update: 13 May 2020 4:50pm

Emergency relief services are delivered by community organisations and help people address immediate basic needs in times of crisis. Emergency relief can act as a safety net for people experiencing financial distress or hardship and who have limited means or resources to help them alleviate their financial crisis.

The organisations delivering emergency relief build strong networks within their local communities to assist individuals to minimise potential dependence on assistance.

Emergency relief organisations provide immediate financial and/or material support to people in financial crisis. The type of assistance offered by each organisation varies, however may include one-off assistance such as:

  • food, transport or chemist vouchers
  • part-payment of utility account/s
  • food parcels or clothing
  • budgeting assistance and/or
  • referrals to other services that help to address underlying causes of financial crisis.

The Salvation Army (Tasmania) Property Trust

The Salvation Army Doorways Centres provide Emergency Relief and case management for clients across Tasmania. Assistance includes food parcels, clothing, vouchers, payment of utility and phone bills, rental assistance, referral and assessment and advocacy.

To find out more, visit the website or call (03) 6228 8400.

Uniting (Victoria and Tasmania) Limited

The Uniting Emergency Relief program supports individuals and families experiencing financial crisis across Tasmania. The organisation provides nutritious food, personal care items, transport assistance, social inclusion programs, financial support, advocacy and referrals.

To find out more, visit the website or call (03) 6234 1296.

Youth, Family and Community Connections Incorporated

YFCC coordinates and delivers Emergency Relief in the NW and West coast region of Tasmania. The organisation offers assistance with food, transport, clothing, chemist vouchers, part payment of utilities and assistance with specialist needs (eg education and health costs)

To find out more, visit the website or call (03) 6423 6635.

The Helping Hand Association

The Helping Hand provides emergency relief for the Longford area and surrounds.

The organisation provides food parcels, food vouchers and material aid.

To find out more, visit the website or call (03) 6391 2498.

The Hobart City Mission Incorporated

Hobart city mission helps clients in Southern Tasmania with providing food packs, food vouchers, personal hygiene packs, clothing and furniture. They also assist clients in the payment and management of electricity, gas or phone bills.

To find out more, visit the website or call (03) 6215 4200.

CatholicCare Victoria Tasmania

CatholicCare provides emergency relief across Tasmania for anyone who is experiencing financial hardship for any reason. CatholicCare can assist with food/fuel vouchers, bill payments and material assistance.

To find out more, visit the website or call 1800 819 447.

The Launceston City Mission Inc.

Emergency Relief assistance can help families and individuals living in Launceston and the North West who are experiencing financial hardship and are unable to meet basic living costs. The organisation can help with basic food packages, advocacy with electricity and Telstra bills, emergency fuel or transport needs. They can also help with referrals to other services as required. In some circumstances, Launceston City Mission may also be able to help clients gain access to medical advice, purchase medications or provide vouchers to purchase furniture, household goods and clothing.

To find out more, visit the website or call (03) 6335 3000.

Launceston Benevolent Society

The Launceston Benevolent Society provides support services for families and individuals in Launceston and surrounding areas. Services include food support, bill and expense support, clothes and other products and support.

To find out more, visit the website or call (03) 6344 4213.

St Vincent de Paul Tasmania

St Vincent de Paul Society continues to provide Emergency Relief through its Regional Centres, providing food and payment of other essentials.

As part of this service, the Society also supports other services and community members that may require urgent assistance with clothing or household items.  There may be limited stock at the moment, but all efforts will be made to assist those in need.

To find out more, visit the website or call your local St Vincent de Paul Regional Centre:

Wyndarra Centre Incorporated

Wyndarra provides emergency relief in the Circular Head region. The organisation provides money, Woolworths vouchers, food parcels, cheques, electricity hardship payments, Telstra vouchers, NILS support and other support.

To find out more, visit the website or call (03) 6452 2722.

Last update: 26 May 2020 3:40pm

To assist Tasmanian businesses with sourcing the essential Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needed to keep operating safely, the Department of State Growth has established a PPE manufacturer and supplier register.

If you are a business in need of PPE, Click here to view the register.

If you are a manufacturer or supplier of PPE you are welcome to register your business by completing the online form.

It is recommended users of the register undertake their own due diligence to ensure products meet their requirements.

Any business purchasing PPE should ensure products meet the relevant standards and requirements of their industry as well as the guidance of health and work safety authorities before purchase.

Last update: 11 May 2020 9:21am


The health, safety and wellbeing of Tasmanians is the Government’s highest priority. The Government receives daily advice from health professionals in relation to COVID-19 and is acting on that advice. It will continue to manage the risk of the virus based on the best and latest evidence and medical advice available. In addition to the health impacts, the necessary actions taken to slow the spread of the disease is resulting in significant economic and social consequences across Tasmania.

The Tasmanian Government’s social and economic support packages are unprecedented in the history our State. The two packages total $1 billion, complementing the Federal Government’s multi-billion dollar response, are of a scale not seen in the history of our State in both the amount of funding and the breadth of measures. The Package comprises initiatives to support health, businesses and jobs, households and individuals, and the community.


As at 30 April 2020, the Government has provided practical supports to households and individual, communities and businesses:

  • 6,725 applications have been received for assistant grants, including:
    • 1,403 applications from individuals or households; and
    • 15,322 applications from businesses;
  • 20 eligible loan applications for $111.6 million have been received from Local Government;
  • 221 loans under the NILS program to Tasmanians to enable them to purchase essential products and services at no interest have been provided;
  • 298 applications have been submitted for the Small Business Interest Free Loan ($42 million in business support requested);
  • 11,500 households across Tasmania in social housing have been provided with rent relief;
  • 1,500 Government property leases impacted by COVID-19 have been provided with rent relief to the value of approximately $4.8 million;
  • 137 businesses with 440 vehicles have applied for Heavy Vehicle Fee Relief by extending their registration for 12 months. The amount of revenue forgone is $499,000. In addition, 291 businesses with 2,141 vehicles have applied to freeze the vehicle registration;
  • 3,181 calls to support people in need has been provided by the Red Cross, Salvation Army and Rural Business Tas;
  • 149 Tasmanian businesses have taken advantage of their free two-hour session with a Digital coach since January 2020; and
  • In the week 24 April – 1 May 2020 10,738 ready to eat meals have been delivered and this represents a 330 per cent increase from pre COVID-19 numbers. In the same period 1,022 food hampers by Loaves and Fishes, Foodbank and Volunteering Tasmania have been delivered which represents a 69 per cent increase from pre COVID-19 numbers.

Households and Individuals

Pandemic Isolation Assistance Grants

As at 30 April, 267 grants have been paid to Tasmanians totalling $108,895, with 118 grants issued in the South, 81 grants issued in the North and 68 grants issued in the North West.

To date 652 Pandemic Isolation Assistance Grants have been paid to temporary visa holders totalling $221,150. Emergency relief and assistance will be provided through partnered non-government organisations where required as well. A survey has been undertaken to identify gaps and advice will be provided on the allocation of this funding to NGOs in the next week.

The Tasmanian Government is working with industry sectors or employers who want to retain their employees because of their specialist skills for when their business is able to start up again. Additional support will be provided under partnership arrangements to them so that we don’t lose skilled workers that we need.

Fees and charges relief

For households and individuals the Government as at 30 April 2020, has refunded approximately $5.5 million through the School Levy Relief to 11,300 parent’s bank account (just over half of eligible parents) with the remaining $3.5 million to be refunded in May 2020. In addition, the Government will not require parents to pay approximately $5 million in outstanding levies.

Utility costs

In order to assist households and businesses on regulated electricity tariffs, the Government will cap regulated electricity prices for 2020-21 to ensure that they do not increase over 2019-20 prices. The cost of this measure will be dependent on market conditions at the time. Approximately, 244,500 households will benefit from this measure.

Rent relief for social housing

The Government has not increased 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 provide around 11,500 households across Tasmania in social housing with more money in their hands. This will continue to support people in these difficult times, at a cost of around $6.7 million.

Additional housing for Tasmanians

The Government has increased funding to the Private Rental Incentive Scheme to increase the pool of available houses under that program. This will assist in meeting the needs of those on the housing register. The additional $2 million will allow a further 75 properties to be provided under the scheme. There have been seven households assisted into Private Rental Incentives since the COVID19 Stimulus Package was announced.

As at 30 April 2020, the Government has committed:

  • $2.62 million to expand the current Safe Night Space pilot, which currently provides a safe, overnight place for those sleeping rough in Hobart. We extended the program to cover Hobart, Launceston and Burnie, and from an overnight service into a 24/7 full wrap around support service. These funds will go to Hobart City Mission, the Salvation Army Tasmania and Launceston City Mission as the partners delivering the expanded Safe Night Space service;
  • $1.13 million towards uncapped brokerage to assist Housing Connect’s capacity to provide statewide brokered emergency accommodation, including increased mental health and wrap around support services during the emergency period; and
  • $513,760 to support young people who are under 16 and at risk of homelessness by increasing capacity to deliver services.

Halt on residential evictions for a 90-day period and Rent Increases

The Residential Tenancy Act 1997 was amended for an ‘emergency period’ to put in place a moratorium on the eviction of tenants for failing to be able to pay their rent. The Government has also prevented any rent increases until at least 30 June 2020. A relief fund is also being established to assist renters suffering from severe hardship.

Code of Conduct for commercial tenancies

The Government has developed the COVID-19 Disease Emergency (Commercial Leases) Bill 2020 which gives effect to the national Code of Conduct for commercial tenancies agreed upon by National Cabinet. The purpose of the Code is to govern the conduct of commercial tenants and landlords, and provide additional protections and rent reductions for tenants experiencing financial hardship. The Government has also prevented rent increases and evictions of commercial tenants.

No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS)

During April, NILS Tasmania issued 221 loans to eligible Tasmanians to enable them to purchase essential products and services at no interest. This is a six per cent increase on an average month. Of the loans provided 29 per cent went to North-West Tasmanians; 40 per cent went to Southern Tasmanians; and 31 per cent went to Northern Tasmanians. The total value of loans issued for April was $246,000.

Emergency support

Assistance has been provided to over 444 people so far to access food hampers, financial counselling, and psychosocial and mental health support as required through the Government. This support has been provided by community sector organisations such as Salvation Army, Rural Business Tasmania and Red Cross. In addition, as at 30 April 2020, there have been 39 instances of emergency accommodation assisting 50 people.

The Red Cross has provided over 3,000 calls to support people in mandatory government quarantine. As at 6 May 2020, the Salvation Army has received 174 referrals and Rural Business Tas have received seven.


Community Support Fund

As at 30 April 2020, the Department of Health has reached agreement with Community Transport Services Tasmania and is finalising additional support for Meals on Wheels.

The Department of Communities Tasmania coordinates the emergency food relief response through a network of the larger providers. As at 30 April 2020, the Department of Communities Tasmania has:

  • entered into grant deeds with TasCOSS, Loaves and Fishes, Foodbank and Volunteering Tasmania and had paid approximately $1.2 million to these organisations; and
  • is finalising agreements with Youth Network of Tasmania, COTA Tasmania, Hamlet, Scrubby Hill, Tas Men’s Sheds Association and Jordan River Waterbridge.

Under these agreements for the week 24 April – 1 May 2020, 10,738 ready to eat meals have been delivered and this represents a 330 per cent increase from pre COVID-19. In the same period 1,022 food hampers by Loaves and Fishes, Foodbank and Volunteering Tasmania have been delivered which represents a 69 per cent increase from pre COVID-19.

930 volunteers have responded to the call to mobilise Tasmania’s very own volunteer army for the pandemic response, on top of more than 1200 emergency volunteers who had already registered to respond to natural disasters.

COTA is working with the PIU to develop communications materials for older Tasmanians – including ensuring that critical information is provided in multiple formats such as by paper, over the phone, and radio. COTA has also been part of the development of a national hotline for older people.

Mental health support

The new Lifeline Service (1800 98 44 34A Tasmanian Lifeline) commenced on 1 May 2020. This new service will provide information on the resources available to support those impacted by the unprecedented changes in the way Tasmanians go about their daily lives, including social isolation, loss of employment, impact on mental health, financial challenges and, in the case of health professionals, working in a high-risk environment.

Agreements are in place with Rural Alive and Well and the Migrant Resource Centre to provide additional non-clinical services statewide in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on migrant Tasmanians or people in rural and remote areas who require additional support.

The Mental Health Council of Tasmania (MHCT) is administering the Technology Grants program. Assessment of the 51 applications received for the $450,000 grant funding is currently being finalised.

Work is underway as part of the Government’s Housing and Homeless Support Package announced on 30 April 2020 to increase clinical and non-clinical supports for Tasmanians who are homeless and need to isolate as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The $600,000 will support increased non-clinical support services, while a further $826,500 will allow for additional extended hours clinical services.

Funding is also supporting the Alcohol and Drug Service (ADS) to develop options to support the continued delivery of the State’s Pharmacotherapy program during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the use of alternative dosage options to meet the needs of pharmacists and consumers.

Family violence

Safe at Home is the Tasmanian Government’s integrated criminal justice response to family violence. It involves a range of services working together to protect and support victims of family violence, including young people and children, while making offenders responsible for their behaviour. The Government has provided $1.9 million to expand this program.

The Rapid Rehousing program is an existing Government policy under the Affordable Housing Action Plan and the Safe Homes, Families, Communities: Tasmania’s action plan for family and sexual violence 2019-2022. The additional $260,000 will allow a further 20 properties to be available by 30 June 2020.

For community-based specialist family violence support services, $310,000 has been provided to Yemaya Women’s Support Service, Engender Equality, Huon Domestic Violence, Anglicare (Relationship Abuse of an Intimate Nature) and Safe Choices. The Flexible Support Packages were launched on the 27 April 2020, and as at 30 April 2020 three applications had been received: one each in the North, South and East. The applications received totalled $14,790. In addition, $105,000 has been spent dedicated to family violence primary prevention awareness raising efforts.

Supporting vulnerable children

As at 30 April 2020:

  • ICT Fund approved 38 applications worth $6,000. Thirteen are yet to be assessed by the Assessment Panel. The majority of the applications have requested laptops or iPad;
  • 1,141 foster and formal kinship carers have received the $200 payment, worth $228,200;
  • a review into the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Program is scheduled to commence mid-May. A grant for Foster and Kinship Carers Tasmania (FKAT) to deliver additional supports and training to informal carers is being finalised and the payment of the $70,000 will occur shortly;
  • planning has been completed to extend the Carer Support Hotline and the After Hours Response Service to service additional demand. Current demand for after-hours support is being monitored to ensure an appropriate response can be provided when required. To date there has not been an increase in demand that is unmanageable;
  • $260,000 has been provided through 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 products;
  • 12 applications have been received for the Flexible Active Family Fund. Six have been assessed with $1500 funding approved; and
  • we engaged with CREATE ($50,000) and the CatholicCare’s Therapeutic Residential Care Service ($480,000) to finalise grant deeds and outcomes.

The Department of Education, partnering with the Department of Communities Tasmania, is providing students who do not have access to a computer or internet access with a computer and sim card/internet dongle. As at 30 April 2020, over 2,700 devices have been loaned to students and 400 internet dongles have been provided for distribution to students through schools.

Neighbourhood Houses

$700,000 has been provided to Neighbourhood Houses ($20,000 for each of the 35 Houses in the State) to ensure they are able to continue to support people within their communities who are isolated and need extra support.

Sport and recreation support

Applicants had until 30 April 2020 to submit applications, with grants being assessed on a rolling basis and within 10 days of application. As at 6 May 2020, $570,000 has been paid with a number of applications still being considered. Grants that have been approved include $150,000 to Basketball Tasmania to support 12 jobs, $150,000 to Football Federation Tasmania to support 15 jobs, just under $100,000 to Swimming Tasmania in support of four jobs, $150,000 to Netball Tasmania to support 17 jobs, and further monetary support for jobs at Triathlon Tasmania and Motorcycling Tasmania.

Racing industry

The Tasmanian racing industry has been ordered to cease operations since the 2 April 2020. In response, the Government, through Tasracing, has announced a support package of $2 million per month, which is broadly equivalent to the continuation of the full value of stakes money foregone. As at 1 May 2020, payments have been made for 2,240 racing animals in work over all three codes via 70 thoroughbred trainers, 105 harness trainers and 106 greyhound trainers.

National parks and wilderness areas

The rental relief provided for crown assets also applies to all commercial and private lessees and licencees on reserved and crown land managed by the Department of Primary Industries, Park, Water and Environment, and equates to six months rental waiver for over 1,160 businesses.

Returned Service League support

The Tasmanian Government’s Supporting Veterans – COVID-19 Grants program is providing up to $500,000 to eligible RSLs and ex-servicing organisations. Grants of up to $10 000 are being provided to individual commercial trading RSL sub-branches and ex-serving organisations impacted by the coronavirus with grants of up to $25 000 available to help RSLs and other organisations provide a new service or program to meet identified needs because of COVID-19 restrictions. Applications opened on the 27 April 2020.

Driver's licence renewal

For those whose driver’s licences and learner licenses are due for renewal between 1 April and 30 September 2020, this can now be done from home using BPAY through Service Tasmania on 1300 13 55 13 or by email.

Accommodation for frontline workers

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. To date, 26 frontline workers have been assisted, totalling 162 accommodation nights.

Business and the Economy

Government fees and charges for small business

The Government has frozen, waived or capped fees and charges for small businesses including waiving the roads component of motor tax and vehicle registration where a business has been significantly impacted by measures taken to manage COVID-19. Businesses looking to suspend or are experiencing significant trading restrictions due to the COVID-19 can access the Business Vehicle Registration Relief Package. For heavy vehicles they can apply to freeze or extend for 12 months and for light vehicles apply to freeze the vehicle registration.

As at 6 May 2020, 137 businesses with 440 vehicles have applied for Heavy Vehicle Fee Relief by extending their registration for 12 months. The amount of revenue forgone is $499,000. As at 6 May 2020, 291 businesses with 2,141 vehicles have applied to freeze the vehicle registration. The estimated cost is approximately $700,000.

Registrations can be reactivated at no cost to the business when it restarts. For heavy vehicles (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.

Utility costs for small businesses

The Government has put in place measures to waive the payment of the first quarterly electricity (or the first three monthly electricity bills) issued on or after 1 April 2020 to the customer, in respect of energy use in the relevant billing period. Eligible businesses will be provided the bill waiver through arrangements between the Government and electricity retailers. It is estimated that the waiver will apply to approximately 34,000 small businesses. The total estimated cost is expected to be between $22 million and $27 million.

Arrangements have been made with TasWater to waive the payment of the first quarterly water and sewerage bills issued on or after 1 April 2020 of small business customers that are eligible for the electricity waiver. The eligibility criteria is the same as that for the small business electricity bill waiver. The estimated cost of the bill waiver and the price freeze for 2020-21 is expected to be $25 million.

Payroll tax relief

At at 30 April 2020:

  • 245 applications had been received by the State Revenue Office for the payroll tax waiver for Tasmanian employers with wages of up to $5 million with a total refund of approximately $6.1 million paid to date; and
  • 45 applications had been received by the State Revenue Office for the payroll tax waiver for Tasmanian hospitality, tourism, and seafood industry employers with to a total refund of approximately $5.4 million paid to date.

Relief for commercial property owners and tenants

The Government announced that it will 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. The Government has subsequently agreed to extend the waiver to all commercial property owners impacted by COVID-19. The actual reduction in revenue will be identified when land tax assessment notices are calculated throughout the 2020-21 financial year with an estimate of $20 million. The Commissioner of State Revenue will also consider deferring outstanding land tax due for 2019-20 until 30 June 2020 and will provide other payment arrangements if a taxpayer is experiencing financial hardship. No interest will apply to the 2019-20 debt. As at 30 April 2020, 259 applications for deferral of land tax due to financial hardship have been received, of which 256 have been processed.

Government leases

For Government leased property (to private/commercial tenants) we will waive rents for six months. The rent waiver will apply to almost 1,500 leases impacted by COVID-19, providing rent relief to the value of approximately $4.8 million. The waiving of rent is applied from 1 March 2020 for a period of six months with refunds for rent already paid across the state.

Additional support for small businesses

As at 30 April 2020:

  • 298 applications have been submitted for the Small Business Interest Free Loan;
  • $150,000 has been allocated over two years to highlight successful Digital Ready for Business program.
    In addition, 149 Tasmanian businesses have taken advantage of their free two-hour session with a
    Digital coach since January 2020;
  • 323 Small Business Hardship Grants of $15,000; (as at 5 May 2020, 429 grants have been approved
    and paid). This program has closed to new applications at midnight 4 May 2020;
  • 10,355 Emergency Grants of $2,500 had been approved to support businesses (as at 5 May 2020,
    11,999 grants have been approved and paid). This program has closed to new applications at midnight
    4 May 2020;
  • 2,076 grants have been approved and paid for business Continuity Grants of $750 to support
    businesses to access continuity planning. This program has closed to new applications at midnight 4
    May 2020;
  • $100,000 has been allocated to Rural Financial Counselling services, with the remainder to be paid in
    July 2020; and
  • $100,000 is being provided to our local Chambers of Commerce.

The Government has provided funding of $60,000 for the online Agfest portal (Agfest in the Cloud).

Local Government Loans Program

As at 29 April 2020, 20 Local Government Authorities had applied for assistance of $111.6 million that meet all the eligibility criteria of the Program. Applications received at that date include infrastructure projects such as upgrades to roads, bridges and jetties, stormwater improvements, and car park redevelopments. The cost of individual projects ranged from $10,000 to $6 million. Applications have also been received to fund rates relief programs for the business and community sectors. It is anticipated that all eligible applications will be processed by 15 May 2020.

Primary Healthcare Grants

As at 30 April, 276 applications had been received. Of these applications, 263 had been successful, five were under assessment and eight had been declined as ineligible. As at this time, $2.47 million of the grants pool had been allocated. The Department of Health is continuing to process applications to the grants program as they are received.

Telehealth capacity

Increase to Telehealth capability, with 20 virtual rooms having been expanded to now accommodate up to 5,000 virtual appointment bookings.

Tourism and hospitality support

2,226 Tourism and Hospitality Business have been contacted as part of this program with 850 business either receiving a one-on-one consultation, attending a webinar or receiving a business continuity guide. A substantial number of applications for small business support have been from the Tourism and Hospitality sector.

Seafood and fishery support

There are 680 wild fisheries licence holders that are eligible to receive fee relief from the $4.3 million of stimulus support for the wild fisheries sectors. Letters of advice and required claim documentation were sent directly to all 680 eligible licence holders on 9 April 2020. Approximately 400 claims have been received and the first refunds were expected to be distributed by the beginning of May 2020. The balance of the stimulus package of licence fee waivers will roll out in August 2020.

All 119 eligible shellfish marine farming licence holders have already received annual renewal notices with all fees waived as their licence fees were due for renewal on 30 April 2020. This equates to $172,270 of fee relief. As of 30 April 2020, fee waiver applications had been lodged for a total of 96 marine farming leases held by eligible shellfish marine farm lease holders.

Every shellfish marine farming licence holder, subject to the ShellMAP levy, has received advice that the levy for the coming year has been waived. This amounts to over $7,000 in levy waivers per licence and collectively this relief amounts to $770,000 across the shellfish marine farming industry.

The annual accreditation fee required under the Primary Produce Safety (Seafood) Regulations 2014 will also be waived for the 2019-20 financial year. The estimated cost of waiving the fee is approximately $39,000 and it will benefit seafood producers including approximately 66 bivalve mollusc producers and 65 abalone divers.

Cultural and creative industries

As at 30 April 2020, the Arts and Digital Production fund had 77 applications received and applications closed on 4 May. These applications will be assessed in mid-May 2020. For the Screen Development fund 25 applications have been received to the program. Applications are currently being assessed and will be considered by the Screen Tasmania Expert Advisory Group in late May 2020. For the contemporary musician fund to record music and video, applications closed on 4 May with 96 applications received. These will be assessed in mid-May. All remaining funds will be allocated by July 2020.

Critical air freight for industry and our islands

Sharp Airlines is now receiving direct support of up to $112,577 per week to maintain freight and passenger services to the Bass Strait Islands. The financial support provided to Sharp Airlines is subject to an agreed flight schedule and passenger revenue.

A proposal is being prepared to provide support to TasFast for air services between Melbourne, Tasmania and King Island for essential health supplies and live seafood; and work is continuing to seek a direct international freight connection from mainland Tasmania, with a focus on a link between Hobart and Sydney to support live seafood exports through the $110 million International Freight Assistance Mechanism.

Taxi license fees

The Government has waived annual taxi licence fees for the calendar year 2020 at a cost of $240,000. As at 28 April 2020, 275 licenses fee refunds have been processed to a value of approximately $180,000.

In addition, a number of additional taxi support initiatives have been adopted by the Government including Taxi free rebates which has seen administration fees contained in the Taxi and Hire Vehicle Industries Act 2003 have been waived and not payable for 2020. Refunds of fees already paid are sustainably progressed.

The Taxi Industry registration relief enables vehicle registration falling between 1 March and 30 September 2020, taxi operators can either 1) continue operating a vehicle or apply to have their vehicle registration extended for a 12 month period, at no charge or 2) to ‘pause’ the registration of their taxi and later reinstate the registration at no cost, with the ‘paused’ period being added to the reinstated registration period. Taxis will not be required to pay Public Passenger Vehicle safety inspection (around $130).

The Government has also implemented a deferral of 193 accreditation audits (typically costing $350 each) that were due between 1 April and 30 September 2020, for six months.

Public building maintenance program

As part of the Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, $50 million has been allocated to fund critical maintenance on public buildings and other publically owned assets, in an effort to the construction sector.

As at 30 April 2020, the Tasmanian Government has allocated $10 million to the Department of Education for maintenance in Tasmanian Government schools to improve public facilities and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. The Inland Fisheries Service (IFS) has been allocated $595,000 to expedite works to support jobs in the local community. In addition, Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens will receive $302,000 for essential maintenance projects and the Parks and Wildlife Service has been allocated $1.5 million to undertake a wide range of building and asset maintenance activities in parks and reserves across the state, including accommodation; visitor centres; roadworks and signage. The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery has been allocated $3 million to bring forward urgent maintenance activities.

Liquor and gaming response measures

As at 30 April 2020, the Department of Treasury and Finance has received 857 completed refund applications for liquor and gaming licence and permit refunds and 138 permits have been issued at no costs. Support totals $776,494.

Rapid Response Skills Initiative

Over 236 applications for subsidised training have been received in the period 1 March to 4 May, and 150 have been assessed and approved to date. To help more workers into new jobs as quickly as possible, Searson Buck has been engaged. Since 17 April, Searson Buck has supported 109 job seekers.