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Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Service providers and businesses

Workers and business

Indigenous businesses and organisations, including not-for-profit entities and charities, can access support through the government’s economic stimulus package.

  • If you are an Indigenous business that employs people you may be eligible for the Boosting cash flow for employers measure. Visit the boosting cash flow page for more information.
  • If you are a sole trader and do not employ any staff there are a range of possible support options, including access to credit, income support and tax relief. Visit the support page for more information.
  • If you have a trainee or apprentice, the Government is supporting small businesses to retain their apprentices and trainees. Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Visit the apprentices and trainees support page for more information.
  • If you are an Indigenous business experiencing financial distress you may be eligible for support through temporary relief for financially distressed businesses. Some measures under the financial distress package also apply to Indigenous corporations registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) (CATSI) Act 2006. Visit the financial distress page for more information.
  • The Government is allowing individuals affected by the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. Visit the Treasury website for more information.
  • The Government is introducing JobKeeper Payment to support employees and businesses, including sole traders and not-for-profit organisations. The Government will provide $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee for up to 6 months. Eligible businesses include those whose turnover has reduced by more than 30 per cent if they have a turnover of less than $1 billion or by more than 50 per cent if they have a turnover of more than $1 billion.
  • The Australian Government has produced a fact sheet to assist businesses and employees to determine if they are eligible for the payment and to explain the process.

Grant recipients/Service providers

NIAA recognises that some services provided by funded organisations may have to be limited, may have to be suspended or have to be delivered in a different way during the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have adopted a pragmatic and flexible approach to ensure that funded organisations are supported and remain viable during this time and to limit the impact on organisations and Indigenous Australians.

Our aim is to support organisations to continue to deliver services to Indigenous communities where feasible and safe to do so, or where service activities need to be suspended, help organisations to return to full service delivery as soon as it becomes safe to do so.

NIAA is contacting funded organisations to talk through current grant agreements. On a case-by-case basis and where required, the NIAA will work with organisations to review and if appropriate, adjust current grant schedules.

We will also work to support organisations to maintain employment arrangements wherever possible and will discuss assistance options where there are concerns about keeping on employees.

For organisations enquiring about applying for a new grant, the nearest NIAA Regional Office is available on 1800 079 098.

Indigenous Business Australia

In addition to wider economic stimulus measures announced to support businesses, the Government through Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) is providing $50 million to specifically help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses over the coming months.

Through this package, IBA will provide important services to Indigenous businesses:

  • Access to specialist advice to navigate the COVID-19 crisis, including a rapid assessment of business positioning, cashflow management and assistance to access available stimulus measures such as the Job Keeper Payment or the Boosting Cash Flow measures; 
  • Working capital assistance of up to $100,000 via a loan/grant package (assessed on a needs basis), consisting of:
    • A grant of up to 50% of the package amount;
    • For the loan component, concessional repayments and interest rates terms including zero repayments for the first 12 months.

The assistance is available to all Indigenous businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis, whether they are IBA customers or not. Indigenous businesses who may not be eligible for any other government stimulus packages will be prioritised for working capital stimulus assistance.

Business that are 50% Indigenous owned with active Indigenous management and have been established for at least 6 months are eligible to apply.

Support will be available from 9 April 2020 for 12 months, subject to funding.

IBA will deliver support through its network of partners and a range of business advice specialists, including Indigenous consulting firms.

Indigenous jobs initiatives

An additional $25 million will be provided through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy for an employment initiative targeted at regions and industries facing labour shortfalls as a result of COVID-19.

The initiative is available to place Indigenous job seekers (both recently and long-term unemployed) in jobs created by labour market disruptions caused by COVID-19. It will be delivered in four regions initially and seek to fill up to 400 job placements over the next 6 months.

It will provide employment support and incentive payments for employers and will help identify job opportunities across different sectors in select regions.

Seasonal work in the agriculture sector has been identified as an important source of job opportunities particularly where there might have been disruptions to the traditional labour source, such as backpackers, as a result of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

There will be scope to expand the initiative to other regions in response to labour market demands.

Other economic measures

  • The Government is increasing the instant asset write-off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanding access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million). Visit the instant asset write-off page for more information.
  • The Government is introducing a time limited 15 month investment incentive (through to 30 June 2021) to support business investment and economic growth over the short term by accelerating depreciation deductions. Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million will be able to deduct 50 per cent of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset’s cost. Visit the backing the business investment page for more information.
  • The Government is introducing a guarantee of 50 per cent to small and medium enterprise (SME) lenders for new unsecured loans of up to $250,000 to be used for working capital. SMEs with a turnover of up to $50 million will be eligible to receive these loans. Visit the SME guarantee page for more information.
  • The Government will set aside $1 billion to support regions most significantly affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. These funds will be available to assist during the outbreak and the recovery. In addition, the Government is assisting our airline industry by providing relief from a number of taxes and Government charges estimated to total up to $715 million. Visit the Treasury website for more information.
  • Treasury has established a Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit, which will engage with peak business and industry groups on systemic issues arising from Coronavirus to ensure these are being brought to the attention of Government. More information on the Unit can be found at the Treasury website. The Unit can be contacted directly via email:
  • There will be a moratorium on evictions over the next six months for commercial and residential tenancies in financial distress who are unable to meet their commitments due to the impact of coronavirus.
  • Commercial tenants, landlords and financial institutions are encouraged to sit down together to find a way through to ensure that businesses can survive and be there on the other side.

More information on the Australian Government’s support for businesses is available on the Treasury website and