We're here for you
As many of our members deal with the growing health and financial challenges caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19), our priority is clear: to support you where we can.
We are open for business and will continue operating as we did through the Global Financial Crisis and other challenges since 1959.
What is financial hardship?
Financial hardship refers to a situation where an individual has difficulty in maintaining their living expenses and paying their debts when they are due. Everyday events causing financial distress may include:
- injury or illness
- reduction of income due to unforeseen circumstances
- relationship breakdown
- domestic violence or financial abuse
- natural disasters such as a bushfire, flood or drought
- pandemics such as COVID-19
- depression or recession would impact employment or reduction of income due to unforeseen circumstances
Financial hardship is more common than you might think. Statistics from the National Financial Capability Strategy show that one in five Australians don’t have access to $2000 in an emergency[i].
How we can help
Our members are a valued part of our community, and we are here to support you during uncertain times. If you experience financial difficulties, we encourage you to contact us quickly so we can work through your options together.
What you need before you start
We’ll need details about:
- your account information
- your situation, which you can provide using our Statement of Financial Position Form, which is available here
To make sure your application is processed quickly, complete the Statement of Financial Position Form as precisely as you can, and provide any supporting documents to assist our team assess your circumstance.
How to apply
There are several ways to apply for financial hardship assistance:
- Call Community First Direct on 1300 13 22 77, Mon-Fri 8am - 8pm (AEST/AEDT) or 8am-3pm on Saturdays.
- Submit a request through our online Call Back form.
- Send an email to email@example.com
- Attend any of our stores
What happens next?
Generally, we can process your financial hardship assistance application over the phone.
Occasionally we’ll need you to provide supporting documentation. If this is the case, please provide this as quickly as possible and allow up to 21 days from the date you provide this information, for us to process your request.
Steps you can take yourself
Claim against your loan protection, or income protection insurance policy
Access available redraw on your loan
Chances are if you’ve made a habit of paying more than your minimum scheduled repayments, then you’ll have money available for redraw from your loan. If you have internet banking, you can view how much funds you have available to redraw.
Sometimes fixed-rate loans have restrictions. However, at Community First, our fixed and variable rate home loans come with the ability to redraw.
Note: You must have paid ahead by more than $500 to access your redraw online. Fees apply
Loan repayment pause
If you are ahead in your repayments you could consider pausing your repayments, the duration of the pause will be dependent on how many months in advance your repayments are.
Request interest only repayments
Switching to interest only repayments on your home loan for a term may provide you with some cash flow relief. Your repayments will be lower as you are only repaying the interest, not the principle amount borrowed. Keep in mind that this is only a temporary measure, and you need to remember that at the end of the interest only term, your repayments could increase as you’ll need to repay the remaining loan amount over a shorter period.
Call Community First Direct on 1300 13 22 77, Mon-Fri 8am - 8pm (AEST/AEDT) or 8am-3pm on Saturdays to request a repayment pause.
Support for businesses
For Community First Credit Union April 2020
Currently, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can utilise a range of government support to weather the storm of COVID-19. We look at what’s available nationally – and in your state/territory.
Federal Government support
Cash Flow Boost payment for employers
A Cash Flow Boost is available for eligible SMEs that employ staff. The payment is designed to help businesses with their cash flow, so they can keep operating and retain staff.
Increased instant asset write-off
The Government has increased the instant asset write-off threshold and is expanding access to include further businesses with lower annual turnover, until 30 June 2020.
JobKeeper Payment for employers and employees
Eligible businesses will be able to claim a fortnightly payment for eligible employees, for a maximum period of six months.
To register for this subsidy, jump onto the ATO’s website: ato.gov.au
JobKeeper Payment for sole traders
Sole traders may be eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment.
To register for this subsidy, jump onto the ATO’s website: ato.gov.au
To stay up to date with Federal Government support for small business: Refer to the ATO’s Covid-19 page
State and territory stimulus packages
New South Wales
- Waiver of payroll tax for eligible businesses for the remainder of the current tax year. This will enable businesses to save a quarter of their annual payroll tax bill in 2019-20.
- Waiver of a range of fees and charges for small businesses including bars, cafes, restaurants and tradies.
- SMEs such as cafes, restaurants, corner stores, gyms and small accommodation providers with a payroll below the 2019-20 payroll tax threshold may also be eligible for a government grant. Applications will soon be available through Service NSW and will remain open until 1 June 2020[i].
For more details: Call 13 28 46.
To stay up to date with the NSW Government’s support for small business: Refer to the preview.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/financial-support
Australian Capital Territory
- Eligible businesses can defer their 2020-21 payroll tax obligations, interest-free until 1 July 2022.
- Licenced venues and off licenced venues will receive a 12-month waiver of their food business registration and liquor licencing fees from 1 April 2020
- Electricity rebates for businesses with electricity usage below 100 megawatts annually.
For more details: Call 13 28 46 for more information or jump onto www.covid19.act.gov.au
- All small and medium businesses in Queensland will be eligible for a two-month refund of payroll tax.
- SMEs can also claim a three-month payroll tax holiday and they can defer all payroll tax payments for the rest of 2020.
- Relief for businesses renting government premises.
- Rebates on electricity bills for all Queensland small and medium-sized businesses that consume less than 100,000 kilowatt-hours. This will be automatically applied to electricity bills.
To stay up to date with the Queensland Government’s support for small business: Refer to qld.gov.au/industryrecovery.
- Full payroll tax refunds for the 2019-20 financial year to small and medium-sized eligible businesses.
- A business will be able to defer any payroll tax for the first three months of the 2020/21 financial year until 1 January 2021.
- Commercial tenants in government buildings can apply for rent relief – a move private landlords are also being encouraged to undertake – and 2020 land tax payments will be deferred for eligible small businesses
To stay up to date with the Victorian Government’s support for small business: Refer to: www.business.vic.gov.au
- Payroll tax liabilities will be waived for hospitality, tourism and seafood industry businesses for the last four months of 2019-20. Other businesses, based on the impact of the virus, to have their payroll tax waived for April to June 2020. Contact the State Revenue Office on (03) 6166 4400 for more information.
- Interest-free loans to eligible small businesses in the hospitality, tourism, seafood production, and exports sectors. The loans will be available to companies with a minimum turnover to purchase equipment or restructuring business operations and will be interest-free, for three years. For more details, contact Business Tasmania on 1800 440 026.
To stay up to date with the Tasmanian Government’s support for small business: Refer to: https://www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/
- Eligible businesses will receive a six-month payroll tax waiver. Eligible business groups will not be required to pay any payroll tax in the months of April to September 2020.
- A Business and Jobs Support Fund is available to businesses impacted by COVID-19.
To stay up to date with the South Australian Government’s support for small business: Refer to: www.treasury.sa.gov.au
- Small businesses that pay payroll tax will receive a one-off grant.
- Small and medium-sized businesses affected by COVID-19 can defer payment of their 2019-20 payroll tax until 21 July 2020.
- Electricity bills for around small businesses will be reduced, with a one-off credit.
- Payroll tax will be waived for four months between 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2020, for eligible small-to-medium sized businesses. To stay up to date with the Western Australian Government’s support for small business: Refer to www.wa.gov.au
- Businesses will be able to apply for an Immediate Survival Payment to help offset the immediate costs pressures on businesses.
- Businesses can also apply for a Rapid Adaption Payment to assist them in adapting to the new operating environment created by COVID-19.
- All Territory businesses can access a Business Improvement Grant, followed by an additional grant if they contribute with their own money.
For more details:
- On payroll tax visit https://treasury.nt.gov.au/dtf/territory-revenue-office/payroll-tax
- On Business Improvement grant contact Department of Trade, Business and Innovation on 1800 193 111
To stay up to date with the Northern Territory Government’s support for small business: Refer to https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/community-advice/business
Disclaimer: Prepared by Community First Credit Union for general information purposes only. Information current as at April 2020. You should not rely upon the material or information as a basis for making any business, financial or any other decisions. For the latest updates on support for small business, please refer to the Federal, state and territory government websites.