Supporting the Norfolk Island economy through COVID-19

The Australian Government is ensuring Norfolk Island businesses and residents financially affected by coronavirus have access to a range of economic support measures.

The support is provided in recognition of the significant impact the pandemic is having on the local Norfolk Island economy.

A range of these economic support programs are already flowing to Norfolk Island, including the JobSeeker payment and special Child Care Relief through Banyan Park.

Norfolk Island businesses also have access to the JobKeeper payment scheme. As some of you will already be aware, a requirement of the JobKeeper scheme is that businesses have an Australian Business Number (ABN), and that the ABN was in place on 12 March 2020. In recognition that a number of Norfolk Island businesses do not currently have an Australian Business Number (ABN), the Taxation Commissioner has been given flexibility to allow Norfolk Island businesses additional time to get an ABN.

I encourage those businesses without an ABN to apply for one as soon as possible. Information on this process can be found at www.abr.gov.au/business-super-funds-charities/applying-abn.

This will allow businesses impacted by coronavirus to access a subsidy to continue paying their employees. The Australian Government will provide a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee until 27 September 2020. For employees, this means they can keep their job and earn an income, even if their hours have been cut. This measure is designed to help businesses keep people in their jobs and re-start when the pandemic is over.

Further information on the JobKeeper application process for the external territories will be included in an economic measures FAQ which will be available shortly on the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications’ Norfolk Island website. Updated information will be provided as needed.

For further information on the income support measures that are available, please contact your on-Island Services Australia agent –

Norfolk Island Business Solutions

Phone: 22368 (between 0900 and 1300 Monday to Friday)

Email: belinda@businesssolutions.nf

As mentioned, the early childhood education and care relief package is available to the Norfolk Island community. This will provide Banyan Park with 50 per cent of childcare fees up to 28 June for eligible families. Families will not be charged childcare fees during this time. Further information can be found at www.dese.gov.au/covid-19/childcare.

The Administrator continues to work with the Council and others to ensure we progress projects on Norfolk Island that we can, and maximise the local employment opportunities associated with them. Naturally, this needs to be done within the social distancing and gathering restrictions. An example of this is the resealing of the Norfolk Island airport runway. This project, as well as others, will be important as the economy starts to recover.

The measures implemented to protect the community from the coronavirus have had a significant impact, but they have been necessary to keep the community safe. Thank you for your willingness to adopt and abide by the necessary measures required to protect the Norfolk Island community from the risks of COVID-19. Please continue to support each other and to work together to keep the community safe.

I would like to thank the Administrator of Norfolk Island, Eric Hutchinson, for his hard work in advocating for the community and commitment to continued long-term planning in the response to this crisis.

A fact sheet on the range of assistance measures available to the Norfolk Island community will be posted on the Department’s website shortly (www.regional.gov.au/territories/norfolk_island/index.aspx).