Coronavirus Update: Where to find assistance


Coronavirus Update: Where to find assistance

13 April 2020

Dear Australian Jockeys and Apprentices,

Some of you would be concerned about the current situation whereby (outside of Tasmania) we see Racing continuing, but you feel you have ended up in a position where your rides appear to have dried up and, as a result, your income is significantly reduced.

This might be because of various separations of where you can ride, cancelled meetings, zonings within your state and other restrictions that that your PRA has introduced in order to give Racing the best chance of continuing throughout this period.

So, if this is your situation, you must be wondering, “what can I do?”

The answer is that it’s vital that you’re aware of how to access any benefits or entitlements that are being provided by the Federal Government’s COVID-19 stimulus packages.

There are two Federal Government packages available to you. You can apply for both, BUT you can only receive the benefit of ONE of them at any one time.

The first and probably the most relevant for Jockeys and even Apprentice Jockeys is:


What is JOBKEEPER about:

Firstly, it will provide a payment of $1500 per fortnight for a maximum of six months.

Back on Monday 30 March, the Federal Government announced this new JOBKEEPER payment.

Sole Traders are able to apply for it. Jockeys and Apprentice Jockeys are registered with the ATO as SOLE TRADERS.

This means that if you meet the criteria, you SHOULD be able to access a set amount of $1500 per fortnight from this package for a maximum of 6 months (at this stage).

The key criteria is you must be able to prove that your income is reduced by 30% or more on a comparable month from 2019.

The payment will be backdated to the day you register your interest to apply.


When you do that, YOU WILL NEED TO BE ABLE TO PROVIDE YOUR AUSTRALIAN BUSINESS NUMBER (ABN). If you do not know your ABN, then click on the link below and type in your full name and your ABN should be listed.

Write it down so you have it with you.

In the unlikely event you do not have an ABN, it is very easy to apply for one on-line, just click on the link below:

So, now you have your ABN, the next step is to click on the link below and then click “Register Now for JobKeeper Updates”. Completing the form will take 5 minutes and then click the SUBMIT button.

As of 13 April, the Government has not announced EXACTLY what you will be required to provide by way of additional information to the ATO, but please check your emails and text messages from the ATO once you have registered your interest.

It seems certain that one thing you will need to prove is that a comparison of your earnings from the month of March 2019 and March 2020 will need to show your earnings are reduced by 30% or more. If that is the case, you will qualify. Same will go for the month of April, and so on.

We imagine you will need to provide this evidence to the ATO each month while this situation continues. You may well need your accountant’s help in providing what’s needed to the ATO, but as stated, once you have registered your interest, you should expect to be contacted by the ATO with exactly what information will need to be required.

Note, no payments under JOBKEEPER will be made until early May, but payments will be backdated to the date of your application.


What is the package called JOBSEEKER about?

JobSeeker is the old Newstart and provides a payment of approx. $1100 per fortnight.

Even though we think nearly all riders will be eligible for the larger amount provided through JobKeeper, given the likely delay in the payments starting (even though they will be back-dated), some riders whose earnings have basically ceased altogether may wish to apply for the JobSeeker package, where there should be no waiting time for commencement of payments.

  • Note the payment for JobSeeker (approx.. $1100 per fortnight) is LESS than the payment for JobKeeper (which is set at $1500 per fortnight).
  • Oddly, the payments for JobKeeper may actually require less information to be provided.
  • If you need financial support immediately, you can apply for JobSeeker through CENTRELINK, then later change over to JobKeeper which is managed by the ATO.
  • This link below provides information regarding JobSeeker.

If you want to apply, it’s through the MyGov website.

  • Step One: You simply must create a Customer Reference Number (CRN).
  • You may or may not be aware if you have a Customer Reference Number already (you may have already created one either through previous dealings with Centrelink, ATO, Medicare, Child Support, etc.).
  • If you DO have a CRN and know the number, then this link will assist you in accessing government financial assistance through Centrelink.
  • If you do NOT have a CRN, or don’t know the number, then it is just essential you establish one.
  • So, if you think you do not have one, or can’t remember it, you need to ring 132 850 and you can easily create one over the phone.
  • Make sure you have either your Drivers Licence or your Australian Passport with you before you ring.
  • One person told me “I rang and got my CRN last Sunday afternoon. I was on hold for less than 30 minutes and once I got through to the person, it was a breeze. So have a pen and paper ready to go when you ring and please be patient!
  • The person who helps you get your CRN will also give you a “Link In Code”.
  • Then you GOOGLE MyGov, create an account and follow the prompts and link “Centrelink” to your MyGov account.

Important additional information, not related to JobKeeper and JobSeeker

  • Remember, mortgage and other loan relief may be available: the four major banks (ANZ, NAB, Commonwealth and Westpac) are offering mortgage relief to customers where needed. Please contact your accountant, financial advisor or your bank regarding this.
  • If you have a mortgage/s not through one of the “big four” banks, then we suggest you again contact your accountant, financial advisor, mortgage broker or lender and get their advice.
  • Superannuation - we advise that you speak to your accountants and financial advisers as they will know your unique individual circumstances. You can now access $10k from your Super this financial year (before 30 June) and another $10k from your Super after 1 July this year, but we strongly advise you seek the advice of your accountant or financial advisor before doing this.
  • Renting during the Coronavirus: There has been a lot of talk but nothing concrete put in place to assist renters who have lost part or all of their income. The following link is NSW specific, but a lot of the information is transferable to any state or territory
  • For jockeys and apprentices in South Australia and Victoria, you may have funds available to access through your Career Benefit Fund or your Voluntary Savings Fund. SA and NT riders, please contact Kevin Ring and Victorian riders, please contact RV’s Ron Hall 0411 646 160 or Matt Hyland.
  • For those of you who are structured to operate as a “small business”, we strongly recommend you speak to your accountant and/or financial adviser (as they will know your unique individual circumstances). They should be able to guide you regarding any relief options offered to small businesses (e.g., possible deferment of loans, payroll tax relief or any other options provided by government and ATO).

Please remember

Supports are available to you throughout this process by contacting your state association representative or the AJA’s Martin Talty 0409 101 012, Kevin Ring 0409 852 990 or Des O’Keeffe 0412 554 155.

If you need support dealing with the effects of the CO-VID 19 virus, please remember free and confidential counselling support is available through your Jockey Assistance Program Sports Psychologist. Please text them in the first instance:

VIC: Lisa Stevens 0413 616 152 (ring or text)

QLD: Kai Morris 0467 544 980

NSW: Oliver Brecht 0406 977 290

WA: Neil McLean 0400 200 063

NT: Kim Groves (08) 8941 5369

SA: Emma Mattey 0407 600 038 or John Baranoff 0421 428 953

TAS: Emma Harris 0409 195 628 or Sabina Lane 0417 379 774

Medical Advice: If you become unwell, you should contact your own personal GP or your State JA’s Sports Medical Officer (if using the mobile number provided, please text first in preference to calling)

QLD: Dr Peter Friis (07) 3834 6635

NSW: Dr David Duckworth 0408 613 197

WA: Dr Gerard Taylor (08) 9382 9600

VIC: Dr Gary Zimmerman 0418 320 838

NT: Dr Tony Brownjohn (08) 8981 4233

SA: Dr Steve Kennett 0414 981 136

TAS: Dr David Humphries (03) 6231 9225

Apps such as “Smiling Mind” are amazingly useful to help us keep calm, reasoned, clear-minded and properly rested. You might also download the ABC LISTEN app to your phone and tap into the “MINDFULLY” programs available through it.

Most important of all, take care, look after yourself and your family and don’t hesitate to access all the supports available to you. Practicing self-care will be essential as we work together through this pandemic over the coming months.

Kind regards,

AJA CEO Martin Talty 0409 101 012

AJA NATIONAL OH&S OFFICER Kevin Ring 0409 852 990

AJA CHAIRMAN Des O’Keeffe 0412 554 15 and all your State Jockey Association representatives.