5676.0.55.003 - Business Indicators, Business Impacts of COVID-19, July 2020  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/07/2020   
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Support measures used by businesses

Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure

Commencing from 28 April 2020, the Australian Government provided temporary cash flow support to businesses and not-for-profit organisations that employ staff. More information on the measure, including eligibility, can be found in the Australian Government’s fact sheet and on the Australian Tax Office website.

Businesses were asked whether they were aware of the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure, whether they had received support from the measure and if so, what the funds had been used for. Businesses that had not received support reported reasons why this was the case.

Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure, summary information

Flow chart of Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure, proportions receiving, how it was used or reasons for not receiving

More than half of all businesses (54%) reported that they have received support from the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure. Businesses that received a cash flow boost most commonly used it to support employees (i.e. pay wages/salaries) (61%) and to pay fixed costs (56%).

For the 20% of businesses that reported they had not received support from the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure, the most common reason given was that the business was not eligible (69%).

By employment size, the proportion of businesses that reported they had received support from the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure were:

    • 54% of small businesses (i.e. 0-19 persons employed)
    • 63% of medium sized businesses (i.e. 20-199 persons employed)
    • 21% of large businesses (i.e. 200 or more persons employed)

Use of Boosting Cash Flow for Employers support, by top reporting industries(a)(b)

Cash flow boost use
Top reporting industries

To support employees85% Mining
85% Electricity, gas, water and waste services
78% Manufacturing

Pay fixed costs81% Other services
79% Accommodation and food services
74% Administrative and support services

To service loans or debt52% Accommodation and food services
47% Retail trade
45% Transport, postal and warehousing

Capital investment42% Mining
31% Financial and insurance services
27% Professional, scientific and technical services

Put into savings or cash reserves45% Rental, hiring and real estate services
41% Retail trade
38% Information, media and telecommunications

(a) Proportions are of businesses that received support from the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure
(b) Businesses could provide more than one response to the question
(c) For example, paying wages or salaries

    Current use of available support measures and expected business actions when they are no longer available

    Two in five (42%) businesses reported they were currently accessing available business support measures such as wage subsidies, deferring loan repayments or renegotiating rent or lease arrangements.

    By employment size, the proportion of all businesses that reported they were currently accessing available business support measures were:

      • 42% of small businesses
      • 53% of medium businesses
      • 38% of large businesses

    Businesses operating under modified conditions (e.g. changes to products and services and how they are provided to customers, workforce changes, new hygiene protocols, changes to suppliers and limiting occupancy) were more than twice as likely to report they were accessing business support measures compared to those operating as normal (51% compared to 20%).

    Expected actions when the support measures are no longer available

    Businesses also provided information on actions they expect to take when the support measures are no longer available.

    Expected business actions when support measures are no longer available, by employment size(a)(b)

    Small
    (0-19 persons)
    Medium
    (20-199 persons)
    Large
    (200 or more persons)
    All businesses

    %
    %
    %
    %
    Reduce the workforce
    13
    18
    11
    13
    Change product or service options
    12
    9
    7
    12
    Change quantity of orders of inputs (e.g. stock, raw materials)
    14
    16
    10
    14
    Change payment terms with customers or suppliers
    10
    13
    8
    10
    Increase prices
    7
    10
    3
    8
    Defer or cancel investment plans
    16
    20
    11
    16
    Seek additional funds
    10
    17
    10
    11
    Close the business
    10
    6
    2
    10

    (a) Proportions are of all businesses including those not currently accessing support measures
    (b) Businesses could provide more than one response to the question

    Expected business actions when support measures are no longer available, by top reporting industries(a)(b)

    Expected action when support measures are no longer available
    Top reporting industries

    Reduce the workforce28% Accommodation and food services
    21% Arts and recreation services

    Change product or service options32% Information, media and telecommunications
    22% Education and training services

    Change quantity of orders of inputs22% Information, media and telecommunications
    21% Accommodation and food services

    Change payment terms with customers or suppliers22% Information, media and telecommunications
    20% Electricity, gas, water and waste services

    Increase prices18% Arts and recreation services
    16% Education and training services

    Defer or cancel investment plans33% Accommodation and food services
    33% Information, media and telecommunications

    Seek additional funds26% Wholesale trade
    23% Manufacturing

    Close the business23% Accommodation and food services
    18% Transport, postal and warehousing

    (a) Proportions are of all businesses
    (b) Businesses could provide more than one response to the question
    (c) For example, stock or raw materials