$1.3bn support package for small businesses in response to coronavirus

A $1.3 billion support package from the Federal Government to keep 117,000 apprentices and trainees employed will become available for up to 70,000 small businesses.

The investment, which comes under the Government’s Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program, is part of a broader $17.6 billion initiative to keep Australians employed in response to the coronavirus.

Small businesses that employ less than 20 full time employees will be eligible for a 50 per cent wage subsidy worth up to $21,000.

Employment, skills, small and family business minister Michaelia Cash said apprentices and trainees were critical to meet the skills required by Australian employers.

“We want them to keep learning, keep getting those essential skills that our economy needs to keep business turning over, not just now, but well into the future,” she said.

Vocational education, training and apprenticeships assistant minister Steve Irons said the new measure will ensure the viability of a skilled workforce.

“We know that industry needs more workers with technical, trade and practical skills,” he said.

“We are backing Australians through incentives, funding and reform to ensure that the sector can deliver the skilled and responsive workforce to meet these needs.”

The apprentice or trainee must have been training with a small business as at March 1, 2020.

Businesses can register for an eligibility assessment from April 2, 2020.