COVID-19 advice and support for automotive repair businesses

UPDATED: June 2, 2020 with NZ resources and AAAA webinars

The below advice is largely based on information produced by the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association and as such is relevant to Australian businesses only.

AAAA has also kindly agreed to share with VASA members its excellent, informative series of webinars designed to help automotive businesses navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and related government support. These webinars can be accessed through the members-only section of the VASA website. VASA will update this page every time a new webinar is posted.

No equivalent for the NZ automotive industry appears to be published, although MTA NZ has kindly provided VASA with market-specific information that can be found at the end of this page under the heading NZ Resources. Otherwise, official guidance for NZ businesses and the NZ alert system guide. However, New Zealand has published a list of essential businesses on its official government COVID-19 response website.

In Australia:

  • With the exception of public (as opposed to online) vehicle auctions, the entire Australian automotive industry remains open for business, from sales of any vehicle type to the most minor repairs.
  • All businesses operating must meet social-distancing guidelines — keeping people 1.5 metres apart, and ensuring 4 square metres per person — and not have gatherings of more than 100 people indoors.
  • Businesses are encouraged to adjust work practices around these guidelines in order to keep operating, such as arrange for staff to work from home.

Apprentice and trainee support plus cashflow assistance for automotive businesses in Australia

For NZ latest, visit the NZ Work & Income web page for employer support

UPDATED WITH STIMULUS ROUND TWO MEASURES: 27/03/2020

UPDATED WITH JOBKEEPER PAYMENT AND BUSINESS INVESTMENT STIMULUS: 03/04/2020

This information is sourced from the AAAA. NZ financial stimulus information is on the official government COVID-19 response website.

The Australian federal government has announced a significant stimulus package to assist business most likely to face significant financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including those in the automotive sector.

There are two cash flow assistance options available; it is essential for small and medium automotive businesses to review eligibility and access to available funding.

Small business with fewer than 20 full-time employees that employ and wish to retain an apprentice or trainee (as of March 1 2020)

 You can apply for up to 50 per cent of their wage for nine months with a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee or $7000 per quarter. Registrations open in early April, so be ready as you will be required to apply for the wage subsidy.

Small and medium business (under $50 million turnover)

By submitting your Business Activity Statement (BAS) on time, you may be eligible for between $10,000 and $50,000 cashflow assistance back into your business (up from $2000-$25,000).

JobKeeper Payment

This is a fortnightly payment of $1,500 before tax per employee, per fortnight, for up to six months. It is targeted at businesses affected by the shutdowns in response to the spread of COVID-19, including self-employed sole traders.

Businesses and sole traders turning over less than $1 billion annually are eligible if experiencing more than a 30 per cent reduction in trade lasting more than a month compared with the year prior. For those turning over more than $1b, the reduction in trade must be more than 50 per cent. 

Increased instant asset write-off

The instant asset write-off threshold has been increased from $30,000 to $150,000 and now includes businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (previously $50m). This applies from March 12 2020 until June 30 2020, for new or second‑hand assets first used or installed ready for use in this timeframe.

Backing Business Investment

For depreciation deductions that do not fall within the increased instant asset write-off, BBI is a 15-month investment incentive for items that exceed the $150,000 threshold or will not be first used or installed ready for use by June 30.

Download a PDF with full details of Stimulus Part 1 from the AAAA

Downlaod a PDF with full details and examples of Stimulus Part 2 from the AAAA

More details of the JobKeeper Payment from the AAAA

Download a PDF of information about increased instant asset write-off and BBI from the AAAA

AAAA COVID-19 advice webinars (members only)

Advice for employers affected by COVID-19

The AAAA has produced a bulletin in partnerships with Industry Legal Group to help businesses navigate their obligations and options with regard to health and safety, isolation and quarantine, employee leave entitlements and the implications of work shortages and stoppages.

Download the guide direct from AAAA

NZ members refer to official guidance for NZ businesses

Bank assistance for Australian small businesses

Depending on individual circumstances, assistance available from Australian banks varies and includes loan repayment breaks, debt consolidation and waived or reduced fees.

Full details from the AAAA

Reserve Bank of New Zealand information about COVID-19 measures to help the financial system assist those experiencing hardship


Most motor trades associations publish up-to-date COVID-19 advice for the automotive sector in their state or territory, which can be reached at the links below:

MTA ACT and MTA NT do not appear to have yet published COVID-19 advice online.


Below is a list of all COVID-19 related information published by AAAA as of April 27, 2020:

NZ resources

12-week wage subsidy – $585.80 for full-time staff or $350 for part-time staff for businesses experiencing a revenue drop of at least 30 per cent: https://www.employment.govt.nz/leave-and-holidays/other-types-of-leave/coronavirus-workplace/wage-subsidy/

Business finance guarantee scheme – 80 per cent of risk guaranteed by the government, 20 per cent by the bank: https://www.business.govt.nz/covid-19/business-finance-guarantee-scheme/

Small business cash flow loans – A loan of $10,000 plus $1,800 per employee. No interest if paid back in one year, otherwise it is 3 per cent per annum: https://www.ird.govt.nz/covid-19/business-and-organisations/small-business-cash-flow-loan

Increase in provisional tax threshold from $2,500 to $5,000: https://www.ird.govt.nz/covid-19/business-and-organisations/provisional-tax

Temporary loss carry-back scheme – Businesses expecting to make a loss in either the 2020 or 2021 financial year can use that loss to offset profits made the year before: https://www.ird.govt.nz/covid-19/business-and-organisations/temporary-loss-carry-back-scheme

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