Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced the federal government will provide an economic support package for New South Wales as it stares down the reality of long term COVID-19 restrictions.
Announcing the full details for financial assistance to households and businesses on July 13, Morrison said that although the Commonwealth and the state’s had originally agreed to a support package where the federal government provided income assistance to citizens and the state’s provided business assistance in the case of a COVID-19 lockdown, the outbreak in Sydney had demonstrated a different approach was needed.
“As the outbreak has worsened well beyond what we have recently seen in other states and territories, it is in the national interest to enable increased assistance, in partnership with the NSW Government, for workers, business and households, to ensure the lockdown can be maintained to arrest the latest outbreak,” Morrison said.
The Commonwealth government will provide $600 per week to people who have lost over 20 hours of work and $325 to $375 per week for those who lost between 8 and 20 hours of work.
“You don’t have to have lost your job. It doesn’t matter who your employer is,” Morrison told reporters. “If you have lost those hours, you can access that payment right now.”
It will also be recurring for as long as the lockdowns last; therefore, recipients will not need to reclaim the payment for each week of the lockdown.
Small and medium businesses will also receive additional support. Businesses will be eligible for the payments if their turnover is 30 percent lower than an equivalent two-week period in 2019.
Eligible businesses will receive cash support of 40 percent of their payroll payments, from a minimum of $1,500 to a maximum of $10,000 per week.
To receive the payment, entities will be required to maintain their full time, part-time, and long-term casual staffing level as of July 13, 2021. Expression of interest for the assistance will open on July 14.
Payments to sole traders will be restricted to $1,000.
Morrison noted that the new assistance package would also be applied to any state or territory that undergoes a lockdown longer than three weeks.
“This new support represents a new national approach and will apply to other states and territories in the event they face similar circumstances,” he said.
The New South Wales state government has also provided targeted support for struggling businesses and households in the state.
A $1,500 fortnightly grant will be available to micro-businesses, which have annual turnovers of between $30,000 and $75,000 and is a person’s primary source of income.
An eviction moratorium will also be introduced for the next 60 days. In addition, landlords who offer rent reductions can apply to claim a land tax rebate or grant of up to $1,500.
The state will also defer all payroll taxes for the next two months for businesses that pay less than $10 million per year in payroll taxes.
“Our number one priority remains the health and safety of the people of NSW while also keeping our economy strong as we manage the current COVID-19 challenge,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
The NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet reiterated that the state government would continue to “put the economy before the budget.”
The Prime Minister said that the support package would cost an estimated half a billion dollars per week, but trusted that the state would end the lockdown as soon as possible.
“I have no doubt that NSW will ensure it will only go as long as it has to, and it will go for as long as it needs to,” Morrison said.