How to Build a Sustainable Home

If you’re thinking of building a new home, there are many reasons why you should make it a sustainable one. A sustainable home is not only beneficial for the environment, it will also decrease your energy consumption and help save money long term. There is often a misconception that building a sustainable home is way beyond most people’s budget. We can understand why people may think that, however, it doesn’t have to be that way. Building a sustainable home means using sustainable materials, improving energy and water efficiency, and taking measures to improve your indoor air quality. Here are some factors to consider when building a sustainable home.

Smart Design

Consulting with sustainable design professionals early in the building process will greatly benefit homeowners, to ensure they are getting everything they have envisioned. The design of your home can make a major difference in how much energy you will consume. During the design stage, a sustainable home should be positioned in a way that it takes advantage of its environmental surroundings. This means building it to be heated by the sun and cooled by the breeze, so you’ll be less reliant on expensive heating and cooling technologies.

Natural lighting:

Utilising natural lighting and incorporating large windows and skylight features in your home, can greatly lower energy consumption.

Be thoughtful of the space:

No matter how sustainable you’re planning to be, an excessively large home will not be as energy efficient and carbon friendly as a small home. Smaller buildings are generally more environmentally friendly and cheaper to run and maintain. However, it doesn’t mean that you have to restrict yourself in terms of size. Instead, take advantage of space and ensure it is being used efficiently. For example, by creating zoned areas of rooms with similar uses, will save on heating and cooling costs. It’s important to keep this in mind when planning and building your home.

Sustainable Building Materials

Utilising sustainable and innovative materials is another important factor to consider when building a home. It’s not just about the layout, the materials you choose are also important. For example, using resources that provide better insulation will automatically lower the energy used on heating.

Cross-laminated timber is a lightweight, durable and prefabricated product that can bring extra thermal benefits to a building and also speed up construction.

Hempcrete is another product that is both fire and termite resistant made from hemp and lime. It offers superior insulating and soundproofing properties, keeps the air in the building healthier and can even prevent humidity and mould.

Reusing old materials where possible is another way to save money and reduce environmental impacts. Recycled wood, plastic, and glass are also less damaging than buying new. It is also important to consider where the resources are coming from. Whenever possible, try to locally source building materials, rather than purchasing items that are being freighted long distances or from overseas.

Renewable Energy

The sun is the ultimate source of clean, low-cost energy. When you’re building a new home, you have the unique opportunity to plan and consider the overall design to maximise the benefits of solar power. How you situate your home and where the solar panels are placed, can have a significant impact on the power that is collected. This is an important factor to consider during the design process.

You could also pair your solar energy unit with a battery storage system. This will allow you to strive for carbon neutrality while gaining the financial rewards of self-sufficiency. Investing in renewable energy solutions for your home can protect you against future electricity prices. If this isn’t incentive enough, I don’t know what is!

Energy Efficient Products

While every new home must meet minimum energy efficient standards, there is potential to take it a whole lot further. Energy efficient homes are no longer just trendy; they are a lifestyle. It is important to think about the:

Lighting:

Installing energy efficient products is a significant method to make your home more sustainable. LED lights are more energy efficient and better value for money than incandescent and halogen light bulbs. They generally use about 75% less energy and last 5-10 times longer than traditional light bulbs [i]. This will greatly reduce the replacement costs and the number of light bulbs ending up in landfill.

Heating and cooling:

Before you consider heating and cooling appliances, ensure your home is as thermally efficient as possible:

  • Install ceiling and wall insulation.
  • Seal gaps around doors, windows to stop draughts.
  • Close internal doors so you’re only heating and cooling rooms you’re actually in.
  • Use passive heating and cooling (opening the windows to let the breeze in).

Installing fans as well as reverse cycle air-conditioning will also save energy. When choosing the best heating and cooling systems for your home, ensure you compare energy ratings.

Hot water systems:

When it comes to choosing the best hot water system, make sure you do some research to ensure it meets the specific requirements for your home, including:

There are four main types of hot water systems:

  1. Gas: Gas hot water systems have energy efficiency star ratings, so choose the one with the highest rating you can afford. They generally have a high-medium purchase, installation and running costs.
  2. Electric: Electric storage systems are generally the most common type. They are usually cheaper to buy, but more expensive to run. However, if you’re powering your home with solar, you can install a timer to power your electric hot water system with free energy from the sun.
  3. Solar: Solar hot water systems are generally the most energy efficient option and can save you a lot of money. If you don’t plan on installing a solar system but still want to save money and energy, they are the way to go.
  4. Heat Pump: Heat pump water heaters are highly efficient and use 30% of the energy of a conventional electric hot water system. This option uses renewable energy by absorbing heat from the surrounding air to heat water.

Keep in mind, however, that buying a hot water system is often a trade-off between initial upfront costs and long-term energy savings.

Cooking

  • Oven: When choosing an oven, here are some factors to consider:
      • Choose fan-forced:Fan-forced ovens circulate hot air evenly, which keeps the temperature constant and cooks food quicker than conventional ovens.
      • Choose triple glazed doors:Triple glazed doors and a high standard of insulation will retain heat better.
      • Consider dual purpose ovens:Dual purpose ovens can function as a steam oven or a conventional oven [ii].
  • Cooktop: When it comes to cooktops, induction is considered to be the most energy efficient, in comparison to gas and electric. Induction stovetops use electromagnetic technology to heat the cookware and its contents without wasting energy heating the cooking surface. Energy is delivered directly to the pot or pan, making it twice as efficient as gas and electric stovetops where the energy must first be converted into heat.

Smart homes:

Smart home systems and devices provide better energy efficiency by allowing the user to monitor and control energy usage in new ways. They incorporate innovative technology that have automatic decision–making skills such as:

  • Automated lighting;
  • Smart thermostat;
  • Manages home device; and
  • Disconnects standby appliances when not in use.

There are many ways that sustainable design and technology can be explored when you are building a new home. From using sustainable building materials, utilising renewable energy, or selecting energy efficient products for your home. There are many variables that can be adjusted to customise a sustainable home that you’re proud of.

[i] https://www.energy.gov.au/households/lighting

[ii] https://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/You-and-your-home/Save-energy/Appliances/Cooking-appliances

Top Easter Activities for Isolation

There is nothing quite like being together with family for the holidays, and Easter is no exception. But this year, Easter is going to be a little different. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, you may not be able to travel and be with loved ones on this holiday. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it. We want to help make this difficult time a little easier, by suggesting some fun activities for you and your family. Here are our top activities:

Easter Breakfast

Start your Easter fun with the most important meal of the day – breakfast! How about bunny-shaped pancakes? This is a great way to get the kids involved and creative. Here are some more egg-cellent baking ideas that will keep you busy:

Easter Egg Hunt

This one is for all ages! Let’s face it – you’re never too old for an Easter egg hunt! Set one up around the house and in the yard for some true Easter fun. This is one of the most exciting Easter traditions and no COVID-19 is going to stop the fun! It will keep the whole family entertained.

Virtual Family lunch

Missing the extended family? We know these times can be tough, especially if you’re unable to spend it with family. So, to make your day eggs-tra special, organise a virtual family lunch.  Jump on FaceTime or Zoom and enjoy a meal together for Easter. It’s a great way to keep in contact and catch up.

Craft

If you find yourself bored or wanting to get a little crafty, why not paint and decorate some eggs to pass some time? If you have kids, this is a great way to get involved and help keep things fun this Easter. Get your paints and food colouring ready! Here are some of our favourite Easter craft ideas:

Play Easter Games

There are so many fun games that can get the whole family involved. From pin the tail on the bunny, egg and spoon race or even bunny potato sack races, there is so much fun to be had.

Movies

After you’ve enjoyed your Easter baking, lunch, egg hunt, craft and games, snuggle up with the kids and enjoy a movie together. If you’re struggling to find some Easter movies for the whole family, here are our top picks:

  • Hop
  • Peter Rabbit
  • Rise of the Guardians
  • Ice Age: The Great Egg-Scapade

Camp in the backyard

  • The annual Easter camping trip with family and friends might have been cancelled; but if you have a backyard, don’t pack away the camping gear yet! Why not set up a tent and enjoy your night under the stars at your own home. Make some pizzas, toast some marshmallows and share some stories with your family.

For Mum and Dad: Make Easter themed cocktails

Probably the most exciting one on the list… for Mum and Dad! Take some time to relax and enjoy a nice Easter Cocktail. Here are our top three suggestions:

We hope these ideas will help you and your family have an egg-cellent weekend. Horan & Bird wish you a very happy and safe Easter.

How to Become ‘Business Fit’ Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the way a lot of us live and work has drastically changed. Many businesses, big and small, are feeling the effects of the outbreak. By using this global pandemic as an opportunity to reflect on your business, it can help you recognise any inefficiencies to create solutions for improvement. In times like this, we learn what components of our business are successful and where we need to make changes to become more adaptable in the long-term.

Becoming More Efficient

Resources

As businesses are changing the way they operate, this is the time to recalibrate and take advantage of the available opportunities that could benefit your business. During the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses may realise that they can “do more with less”, such as:

  • Reduce Outsourcing: Does your business spend an arm and leg on outsourcing? Maybe you’ve noticed that your business is quite capable completing tasks in-house, rather than spending so much money on outsourcing? By recognising what can be done ‘in-house’ with employees you already have, could benefit your business. It can also give you more control over the quality of work that’s produced and the ability to better define and preserve your company culture.
  • Don’t Purchase Unnecessary Items: Before working remotely, did you notice that your store room is filled with so much extra stock and equipment that you never end up using? This is the time to recognise what cuts need to be made to ensure your business is not wasting money.

Services

It’s easy to get swept up in expansion. Many businesses make the mistake of expanding their products or services beyond what is necessary. This is the perfect opportunity to assess your offerings and get back to basics. Providing services and offering products that you only sell every now and then could be costing you more money. If you need help working out what is making you money, download our e-book ‘How to Measure up Your Business for Ultimate Success’.

Importance of Technology

Businesses can no longer devalue the importance of technology, they must embrace the benefits. In times like this, if it wasn’t for technology, we simply wouldn’t be successful in coordinating our employees. When working remotely, it goes without saying that technology becomes the heart of every interaction. It has allowed flexibility among employees to work sufficiently from home and remain connected with colleagues. Also, with the rapidly changing market conditions, technology has enabled us to communicate with our customers like never before.

Going Digital

Have you noticed that you’re using a lot less paper since working from home? Switching to digital is not only better for the environment, it also has many benefits for businesses; such as saving resources, space, time, and boosted security. Paper may be cheap, but once you add the costs of printers, ink, postage and office space, it can get very costly.

Digital documents are easier to store, send and more accessible and versatile than paper. Have you ever tried making the switch to digital and have staff complain they can’t because they need paper for this and that? Well, we get it! However, now that most businesses are being forced to go digital, staff are realising that it can definitely be done.

Importance of Social Media

Technology has allowed businesses to stay connected to employees, as well as their consumers. This pandemic has made many businesses realise the importance of marketing and being active on social media. Business owners are now understanding that if your brand doesn’t have a digital presence, you don’t exist in the modern world. This is especially crucial in times like this, as many people are relying on social media. It allows them to reach out and gain attention from both current and potential consumers. Staying connected is fundamental, as you need to continue to engage with your consumers in one way or another.

Save Time

By cutting down on unnecessary resources, services and even staff meetings, it is amazing how much time you can save. We’ve all been in some really great meetings; the kind where everyone contributes and leaves feeling energised and excited to tackle their responsibilities. But let’s be serious, how often do you attend meetings like that? The easy answer is not enough. Too often, you leave a meeting thinking “that could have been an email!” – and it probably should have been. While we certainly don’t want to eliminate personal contact altogether, save it for the instances when it’s most beneficial.

Business Travel

During the current pandemic, travel restrictions have been put in place, making businesses rethink the need for business travel. Now that things have slowed down, they have been able to stop and think “do I really need to travel? Can this be done online instead?” There are so many online platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, that businesses can utilise for conferences and meetings. This is a more sustainable approach and will also save time and money for the business.

We Have Never Been More Connected

If there is one thing that we have learned during this pandemic, it’s that communication is fundamental! As the impact of COVID-19 intensifies globally, it has become clear that employees are communicating more efficiently with managers and other colleagues now more than ever. This pandemic has made us realise just how disconnected we were before.

We understand how easy it is to get caught up in other things and forget to check in with one another. However, it’s important for businesses to learn from this experience by communicating wins and losses with each other, now and in the future. This is going to teach us the importance of maintaining a connection and how to care and support each other long-term.

Learn from Your Mistakes and Become Stronger

Warren Buffet stated, “it is only when the tide goes out that you discover all the people who have been swimming naked.” Now is the perfect time to put on the wetsuit and protect your business from the impending economic low-tide. We need to take advantage of this global challenge and invest more time and thought in exploring where the business may face other risks.

Although this is a difficult time for everyone, especially small businesses and sole traders; there have been some positive outcomes for businesses who have implemented change. By shifting our focus to search for opportunities to improve, it will allow for a stronger return following the crisis. While it can be very tough to go through something like this, sometimes it can be a huge benefit and the wakeup call your organisation needs. This is the time to identify mistakes and become a stronger business and more successful in the future. It is amazing to see to many businesses, with their true Australian fighting spirit, adapting for the better during this global pandemic.

As we work through this rocky start to the new decade, it is crucial that we remember the central importance of staying committed to our long-term goals. Adjusting to an altered reality has much to teach us when we inevitably emerge from this crisis.

Top Seven Tips for Budgeting Your Home Business

Let’s be honest, sticking to a budget is not an easy task! However, it is a rather rewarding one when done correctly. By creating a sustainable, yet realistic budget for your business, it allows you to:

  • Manage money effectively;
  • Determine a plan to meet future objectives;
  • Monitor performance; and
  • Identify any potential problems before they arise.

So, is reaching your financial goals with ease something that appeals to you? Keep reading for some invaluable tips about how to budget your business from home.

1. Research Costs

Before creating a budget, it is important to understand where your money is currently going, where it needs to go and where cuts need to be made. Your budget should account for both fixed, variable and start-up costs (for new businesses).

  • Fixed costs: include rent, utilities, phone/internet, accountant, legal fees, salaries, marketing and communications and technology.
  • Variable costs: include the costs of goods sold and labour costs.
  • Start-up costs: include business plans, research expenses, borrowing costs, technology, advertising, promotion and employee expenses.

By researching costs thoroughly, you will be able to create a detailed budget that caters for all expenses to operate your business.

2. Create a Contingency Plan

As mentioned above, researching costs is one of the most important steps. To ensure your business is prepared and on track to accomplish goals, it is important to always overestimate your expenses. This will allow for any future contingencies. An added bonus of creating a budget around worst case scenarios, is that there is always a surplus. Although it is not always possible to predict when something will go over budget, it is important to allow for any unforeseen contingencies.

3. Understand Economic and Industry Trends

Whether you’re working at home or not, your business will have to accommodate factors of the economy and the occurrences that happen within its industry. In order to prepare for any economic and industry trends, you should consider the following:

  • General industry growth;
  • Wider economic growth; and
  • Review predictions from reliable industry experts.

4. Review and Update Your Budget

It is important to prioritise a mid-year or quarterly review of your budget. This will help with acquiring a clearer representation of your business finances. It will also allow flexibility to set your business up for success. Your budget should change and evolve in accordance to growth and profit. By reviewing it throughout the year, it could give your business a huge advantage on your competitors.

5. Set Reasonable and Detailed Financial Goals

It is so important to ensure that your budget plan is both realistic and easy enough to adhere to. If you set too many unrealistic goals all at once, you’re going to become very overwhelmed and the chance of succeeding will be very slim. So, when listing all of your goals you want to achieve, ensure you set both short-term and long-term goals – but make sure they’re obtainable!

6. Look for Tax Deductibles

Another factor to keep in mind when running a business from home, is that you might be eligible to claim certain tax deductions.

This could include:

  • Occupancy expenses – including mortgage, rent, council rates, land taxes and house insurance premiums.
  • Running expenses – including gas and electricity, business phone, decline in value of office equipment and cleaning.
  • Vehicle expenses – including travel to and from your home for business purposes.

For more information, read our Top 5 Tax Deductions When Working from Home blog.

7. Don’t Eliminate Marketing from Your Budget

Last, but definitely not least, do not neglect marketing costs from your budget! In order to succeed, you need to advertise your business and create a positive brand image and awareness. Marketing strategies don’t have to cost an arm and leg, but they do need to be part of your business plan in order to be successful.

Remember: The overall concept of a budget is simple – spend less than what you make. By implementing these budgeting tips to your home business, it will ensure that your business is on the road to rapid success.

Top Activities for School Holidays in Isolation

Whether you’re choosing to self-isolate due to Coronavirus, or simply have no choice; you might be looking for some fun activities to keep the kids entertained. This is no-doubt a very scary and difficult time for many people – and reasonably so. Self-isolation is an uncommon experience for many of us. It is an unsettling and stressful time for families, and especially children – even if they don’t understand what is happening. We all know how hard it can be to try give children a new ‘normal’. However, your kids are going to look back and cherish the time they have spent with their family.

With school holidays fast approaching, here are some of our top ideas to keep kids and families entertained during isolation:

Get Creative in The Kitchen

Cooking or baking is a great way to get the family involved. Keep meals simple for the kids and even make it into a competition! Who can make the best pizza? You can be the judge! Plus, there is an added bonus – you don’t have to cook dinner!! Here are some delicious recipes that will keep the kids entertained:

Have an Indoor or Backyard Picnic

Get the kids in the kitchen and make up a picnic basket with lunch and some healthy treats. If you’re able to, set up a rug in your backyard and enjoy some fresh air and vitamin D.

Bring Out the Art Supplies

From drawing, painting or creating other arts and crafts is a great idea for kids to get creative. If you have access to your backyard, get the kids to collect some leaves and print them on some paper using paint. Here is an example:

With Easter approaching, try creating some Easter Bunny decorations. Here are two great ideas:

Learning at Home

Try to make learning fun by creating some interactive games or teaching your kids some new skills. There are many educational apps for different age groups that can be quite fun!

Play Some Games

You know that cupboard crammed full of board games? It’s time to pull those out and have some fun! Board games are a brilliant way to focus children’s minds and is the perfect indoor activity. Here are some of our suggestions:

  • Monopoly
  • Connect 4
  • Guess Who
  • Celebrity Heads
  • Card games – UNO, Go Fish and Snap!

Have a Movie Marathon

This one is for the whole family. Prepare some yummy snacks, get your pyjamas on and have a movie marathon. Use this time in isolation to catch up on Netflix and spend time with family.

Build an Indoor Fort with Blankets

Kids love to build their own little hideaways. To limit the chaos, give them some supplies and limit them to one room. Make sure they’ve got lots of big blankets and cushions. This will keep them entertained for hours! At night time, you could read them a bed time story in there as a special treat.

Have A Dance Party

Whatever age they are, kids love music! Put on some music, turn up the volume and let them dance around the room. Have the whole family join in and play musical statues or musical chairs! This is a great way to let them burn off some energy during isolation.

Indoor Treasure Hunts

Yes, that’s right! You don’t have to be outside to have the kids searching for treasure! Why not set them off on a scavenger hunt around the house! You might even get a bit of time to relax while they’re busy searching.

Find Some Photos and Reminisce

Dust off some old photos and home videos and reminisce with your family. Your kids will love hearing about all of the memories from when they were growing up. I can guarantee there will be some laughter with this one!

Tip for Mum: Don’t forget to take some time to self-indulge and put on a face mask or give yourself a pedicure – you deserve it! We hope these tips help keep the family happy, active and healthy over the isolation period.

Please remember to check on your friends, family members and colleagues during this time. We’re all in this together.

Where to go for support?

In times like this, it is very important to seek out help if you, or someone you know need it.

  • Lifeline:

What COVID-19 Means for Households and Small/Medium Businesses

As the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to evolve, it can be quite a concerning time for households and businesses. On the 12th of March 2020, the Australian Government announced their first economic stimulus package worth $17.6 billion, to support the most affected sectors. This first package has four sections:

  • Supporting business investment;
  • Providing cash flow assistance to help small and medium sized business to stay in business; and keep their employees in jobs;
  • Targeted support for the most severely affected sectors, regions and communities; and
  • Household stimulus payments that will benefit the wider economy [i].

Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, stated “our targeted stimulus package will focus on keeping Australians in jobs and keeping businesses in business so we can bounce back strongly” [i]. On the 22nd of March, the Commonwealth Government released the second stage of its economic plan to “cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus and help build a bridge to recovery” [ii]. An additional economic support package of $66.1 billion has been announced. In summary, this package includes:

  • Support for households (including casual workers, sole-traders, retirees and those on income support);
  • Assistance for businesses to keep people in a job; and
  • Regulatory protection and financial support for businesses to stay in business [ii].

This is an incredibly harrowing time, where many people and businesses are becoming overwhelmed. We understand that a lot of new information is being released daily, and can be quite difficult to process. We wanted to share some important information recently issued by the Australian government, to give a little piece of mind.

The first package includes incentives for small and medium sized businesses, to keep them afloat and employees in work during this trying time.

Tax Incentives for Business Investment

Instant Asset Write-off Increased:

  • Increase in the instant asset write-off threshold of $30,000 to $150,000
  • The higher threshold is in place from March 12th – June 30th 2020
  • Applies to new and second-hand assets installed in businesses during these dates
  • Eligible businesses will have an aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up to $50 million) [iii].

Backing Business Investment Incentive:

  • 50% accelerated depreciation for investments
  • Temporary 15-month investment incentive available through to January 30th 2021
  • Supports business investment and economic growth (short term)
  • Eligible businesses will have a turnover of less than $500 million that are purchasing new depreciable assets [iii].

Cash Flow Assistance for Businesses

Boost Cash Flow Payments for Employers:

  • Cash flow payment of up to $25,000 for employers
  • A minimum payment of $2,000 may be available to businesses that pay wages but are not required to pay tax.
  • Eligible businesses will have a turnover of less than $50 million that employ staff between January 1st 2020 and June 30th 2020 [iv].

Supporting Apprentices and Trainees

  • Businesses can apply for subsidy of 50% of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for up to 9 months from January 1st – June 30th
  • Eligible businesses will have fewer than 20 full-time employees who retain apprentice or trainee [iv].

Other Measures:

  • Tax-free, one-off $750 stimulus payment to individual income support recipients and eligible concession cardholders from March 31st
  • Targeted regional and community support aimed at businesses and communities particularly affected by economic downturn due to coronavirus.

Tax (ATO) Relief

  • Deferring up to 4 months the payment of tax amounts due
  • Allowing affected businesses on a quarterly reporting cycle to opt into monthly GST reporting to get faster access to any GST refunds.

The second stimulus package builds on the measures announced within the previous package.

Support for Workers and Households

Coronavirus Supplement

  • The Australian Government is temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments and establishing a new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight.
  • This payment will be made to both new and existing recipients of the JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.
  • The Coronavirus supplement will be paid for the next 6 months. Eligible income support recipients will receive the full amount of the $550, as well as their payment each fortnight [ii].

Payments to Support Households

  • In addition to the $750 stimulus payment announced on 12 March 2020, the Government will provide a further $750 payment to:
    • Social security and veteran income support recipients
    • Eligible concession card holders (except for those who are receiving an income support payment that is eligible to receive the Coronavirus supplement [ii].

Early Release of Superannuation

  • Affected individuals will be able to withdraw up to $10,000 from their superannuation funds in 2019-2020 and a further $10,000 in 2020-2021.
  • To apply for early release, a fund member must satisfy one or more of the following requirements:
    • They are unemployed; or
    • They are eligible to receive a Jobseeker Payment, Youth Allowance for Jobseekers, Parenting Payment (which includes the single and partnered payments), a special benefit or Farm Household Allowance; or,
    • On or after 1 January 2020:
      • They were made redundant; or
      • Their working hours were reduced by 20 per cent or more; or if they are a sole trader — their business was suspended or there was a reduction in their turnover of 20 per cent or more [iv].

Temporarily Reduce Superannuation Minimum Drawdown Rates

  • The Government is temporarily reducing superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products by 50% for 2019-2020 and 2020-2021.
  • This will benefit retirees by providing them with greater flexibility in how they manage their superannuation assets [ii].

Assistance to Business to Keep in a Job

Boosting Cash Flow for Employers

  • The Government is providing up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium sized businesses and not-for-profits (including charities) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000.
  • These payments will assist businesses’ and not-for-profits’ cash flow, so they can continue operating, pay rent, electricity and other bills, as well as, retain staff.

Regulatory Protection and Financial Support for Businesses to Stay in Business

Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme

  • The Government will provide tax-free payments of up to $100,000 for eligible small and medium sized enterprise entities (SMEs). These are businesses with an aggregated annual turnover under $50 million that employ people with a minimum payment of $20,000.
  • This will assist with cash flow so businesses can continue to operate, pay expenses and retain staff [iv].

Providing Temporary Relief for Financially Distressed Businesses

  • The Government is temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company and the time companies have to respond to statutory demands.
  • Temporary relief will also be provided for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent.
    • The Corporations Act 2001 will be amended to provide temporary and targeted relief for companies to deal with unforeseen events that occur as a result of COVID-19.

This concludes the summary of the important information regarding both stimulus packages in regard to COVID-19.

We hope this important information released by the Australian government can help your business in these hard times. Here at Horan & Bird, we are actively following all advice issued by the Australian Government, and ensuring all team members are supported with clear health and hygiene protocols. During this tough time, it is important to continue supporting local businesses. This is when they need your support the most.

It is understandable that during times like this, people may be feeling afraid, worried, anxious and overwhelmed. If you need someone to talk to, Lifeline are available 24hrs, 7 days a week.

To Contact Lifeline: 

Phone: 13 11 14 (24hrs/7 days)

Text: 0477 131 114 (6pm – midnight AEDT, 7 nights)

Chat online: https://www.lifeline.org.au/crisis-chat (7pm-midnight, 7 nights)

 

[i] https://www.pm.gov.au/media/economic-stimulus-package

[ii] https://www.pm.gov.au/media/supporting-australian-workers-and-business

[iii] https://www.smallbusiness.wa.gov.au/blog/coronavirus-stimulus-package-small-business

[iv] https://www.bdo.com.au/en-au/insights/tax/technical-updates/australian-economic-stimulus-package-in-response-to-coronavirus-includes-tax-measures

5 Ways To Become a More Sustainable University Student

For a busy university student, it can sometimes feel like an added pressure to lead a more sustainable life – I get it! However, it does not have to be like that. Living sustainably does not mean that you have to give up things you enjoy! It simply means seeking more sustainable options and making a few small swaps. You are probably thinking where to even begin! Well, here are 5 simple things you can do to become a more sustainable university student.

1. Reduce printing

We all know that feeling of becoming overwhelmed at the start of semester and falling into the trap of printing everything that is given to us – and more! If you are wanting to practice more sustainable habits, try making the switch to taking notes on your laptop. To cut down on paper waste, remember to only print when necessary and ensure you use both sides of the paper. Another tip for cutting down on paper wastage, is purchasing an e-book version of your textbooks or borrowing it from the library.

2. Reduce Plastic Waste

One of the biggest challenges to becoming a sustainable student is reducing single use plastic. Being a fast-paced environment, most campus’ build their products around convenience. Fortunately, reusable alternatives are much more accessible than they once were.

  • Bring Lunch from Home to avoid buying products with unnecessary plastic and packaging;
  • Say no to plastic straws;
  • Bring a reusable water bottle from home; and
  • Buy some good quality pens with refillable ink (available from Officeworks).

3. Bring a Reusable Coffee Cup

Did you know that Australians use an alarming 1 billion disposable coffee cups each year? This means that approximately 2,700,000 being thrown away each day, ending up in landfill [i]. Like many other students, does your day start off with a takeaway cup of coffee from your local campus cafe? There is one easy switch you can make to eliminate disposable coffee cups – bring your own reusable cup! There are plenty of options available from brands such as Keep Cup, rCup, Bryteka and many more. Most cafes are now jumping on board for a more sustainable future, by offering a discount to people who bring their own cup! What a great incentive.

4. Start Walking or Cycling

By walking, cycling or even carpooling for those longer trips, it reduces air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Do you ever struggle getting in your 10,000 steps per day? Try walking to your classes or dust off that bike of yours! By driving less, there is also the added bonus of saving money on fuel! 

5. Ditch Fast Fashion

How many times have we convinced ourselves that we need a new outfit for every event and occasion? I’ve lost count! Why not make a day of it and go thrift shopping with your friends? You will be surprised with what you can find!

There are also so many incredible Australian brands that are doing their part for the environment. Check out:

  • Ocean Zen – create swimwear out of recycled plastics and fishing nets that have been retrieved from the ocean.
  • Spell Byron Bay – a bohemian brand focusing on creating clothing out of sustainable fibers and organic cotton.

To avoid becoming overwhelmed by all the things we can do to lead a more sustainable life, let’s take it one step at a time. Remember, it is the small changes that can make a BIG impact. If we all contribute by committing to these changes, we can really make a difference and encourage a happy and healthier environment.

[i] Coffee Cups – University of Melbourne https://sustainablecampus.unimelb.edu.au/a-z/c/coffee-cups