COVID-19 EFFECTS BEING FELT WORLDWIDE
The AAAA is committed to supporting members throughout this unprecedented emergency
The aftermarket industry, along with the whole of Australia and the world, is facing a critical juncture in history right now with the health and subsequent economic crisis caused by COVID-19 touching more and more of our lives and our livelihoods with each passing day.
As discussed by AAAA Chief Executive Officer, Stuart Charity, here, the AAAA is working around the clock to provide concise and accurate information to AAAA members to assist them in making decisions as well as providing services that will help cushion the impact.
This information is being distributed regularly via EDMs and newsletters and is also being loaded on the news section of www.aaaa.com.au
Information sessions utilising webinar technology are also being held, and invitations to these will be distributed via email to all AAAA members.
One such webinar was held recently with nearly 500 attendees and focused on the following: whether the auto industry will be deemed an ‘essential service’ in the event of a full government shutdown of business and what Government assistance is available.
Also discussed was your legal obligations and options regarding health and safety, leave entitlements and temporary business closures (see here for more on this topic courtesy of Industry Legal Group).
“In relation to automotive repair and parts being deemed an essential service, our team – led by Lesley Yates – has been chasing every rabbit down every hole to ensure this happens,” Stuart said.
“This has included letters and follow up phone calls to the offices of State Premiers and key Ministers as well as the PM and key Federal Ministers and agencies. We have also reached out to other automotive associations to encourage them to join the push.
“The position we are taking is to advise Government that in our view the supply of automotive parts and repair is a very important service and that we will be advising our members to remain trading until the Government tells us otherwise.
“While Government does need to make a lot of very difficult decisions on the closure of businesses, they also need to ensure we can continue as a country to provide the basic necessities in life and in our view, our industry keeps other industries moving. Without parts supply and automotive repair, other services will suffer: emergency vehicles, medical supply, food and other transportation all require time critical replacement parts and urgent repair.
“While it is likely that the list of essential services will only be published in conjunction with the announcement of a full shutdown, we are cautiously optimistic our sector will be included on this list. This is based on the positive discussions we have been having with Governments as well as international precedent – recently we have seen the USA, Canada, the UK and New Zealand all classifying auto parts and repair as an essential service.
“I will however say that even if we do secure this exemption from closure, it will not be a silver bullet to shield our industry from the impact of this situation. The lockdowns on activity and movement will have a dramatic effect on demand and each business will need to work through issues such as the heath and safety of employees and customers while also making individual judgements on if you remain open and in what capacity.
“We do however believe that it is a far better outcome to be in a position as a business owner to make that decision yourself rather than the Government mandating a full shutdown of our industry with 24 hours’ notice.”
While working hard to ensure aftermarket businesses have the choice to stay open or to close, the AAAA has also been working on advising members regarding the Government assistance available to businesses.
“The amount of government support announced to date is significant – particularly for small and medium sized businesses – and an understanding of what is available and how to access it is vital to help you make informed decisions about your business operations in the weeks and months ahead,” Stuart said.
“The Federal Government support announced to date falls into two main categories – payments that will be made to you automatically when you lodge your monthly or quarterly BAS statement; and those you need to apply for.
“Detailed information on these support options is featured here.”
If you have questions or need support during this difficult time, please contact the AAAA at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Industry Legal Group member hotline is also available on 1300 735 306 or email@example.com
All information in this COVID-19 feature was correct at the time of printing; however, with this situation changing so rapidly AAAM cannot guarantee that all information remains correct and relevant.
We recommend that you obtain independent expert advice before making any decisions based on this information. AAAA Employer Assist can be reached on 1300 735 306