Federal and state governments are providing financial assistance for millions of Australians in lockdown. Here is what you need to know…
Millions of Australians are locked down across three states with many unable to work or keep their businesses open. Federal and state governments have offered financial assistance through a range of programs – but the eligibility criteria and application processes are different in each jurisdiction. Here’s what you need to know in NSW, Victoria and South Australia.
Support for individuals who have lost work
Individuals in federally declared hotspots can access financial assistance through the myGov and Centrelink websites. There are two payments available – the Covid disaster payment and the pandemic leave disaster payment.
The Covid disaster payment is for casual workers who are not already receiving income support such as jobseeker or youth allowance. Workers who have lost between eight and 20 hours of work can receive a payment of $375 and if 20 or more hours have been lost a payment of $600 is possible. The liquid assets test has been scrapped.
Payments are retrospective, meaning those in Victoria will not be able to apply until Friday 23 July – seven days after the lockdown started. The same rule applies to those in Adelaide, which was declared a hotspot and started lockdown on Tuesday evening, meaning individuals will be able to apply for support from Wednesday 28 July.
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Scott Morrison confirmed on Wednesday payments would be made automatically every week in lockdown. The PM said NSW had so far received $219m in federal payments and $32m in support had been paid in the past 24 hours.
Support for individuals who have to quarantine or isolate on state health orders
The pandemic leave disaster payment is available if you have been told to isolate or quarantine because you have Covid, are a close contact of a confirmed case or are caring for someone with coronavirus. The payment is $1,500 a fortnight.
This payment is provided by the federal government, so can be accessed via the myGov and Centrelink websites.
Support for businesses in NSW
Individual states in lockdown have also announced business support packages. In NSW, three grants are available for businesses, which can be accessed through Service NSW.
The 2021 Covid-19 business grant is a one-off payment of between $7,500 to $15,000, depending on the percentage of lost revenue. A revenue decline of 30% or more is necessary with an annual turnover of above $75,000. Applications have been open since 18 July. The program is estimated to be worth $2.1bn.
As of Wednesday, the NSW government had received 15,500 applications, the services minister, Victor Dominello, said. “We’ve processed $196m worth of those applications and, as of yesterday, $26m has already hit the bank accounts with more coming. We’re trying to turn these grant applications around as fast as we can to make sure we get businesses the money as quickly as possible.”
A micro-business Covid-19 support grant will also be available if you’re a small business or sole trader with an annual turnover of more than $30,000 and less than $75,000, with a 30% decline in revenue. The $1,500 fortnightly payment begins on 26 July.
The new small business support payment, also called jobsaver, is funded jointly by the NSW and commonwealth governments. It’s a fortnightly payment of $1,500 to $10,000 a week for entities with an annual turnover between $75,000 and $50m who can demonstrate a 30% decline in turnover. To receive the payment, eligible entities will be required to maintain their full-time, part-time and long-term casual staffing level as of 13 July 2021. For non-employing businesses, such as sole traders, the payment will be set at $1,000 a week. Applications open on 26 July.
Other measures includepayroll tax waivers of 25% for businesses with Australian wages of between $1.2m and $10m that have experienced a 30% decline in turnover, a $75m support package for the performing arts sector to be administered by Create NSW and a support package for the accommodation sector worth $26m.
Support for businesses in Victoria
In Victoria, financial assistance is available from Business Victoria. On Wednesday, the industry support minister, Martin Pakula, announced a further $282.5m in cash grants for businesses affected by Victoria’s latest lockdown, bringing the total support to $484m for this lockdown, and nearly $1b for the past two lockdowns.
An automatic top up of $2,800 will be made to businesses through the business cost assistance program, increasing the total grant to $4,800. Micro-businesses not registered for GST will be eligible for the Covid-19 disaster payment (detailed above) of $600/$375 in a seven-day period.
Additionally, up to 90,000 businesses will receive an extra $4,200, through the licensed hospitality venue fund, taking the total payment to $7,200.
Businesses that received financial support in the last lockdown, in May and June, do not have to apply again. About 22,000 businesses which applied last lockdown still had not yet had their applications processed as of last week.
An impacted public events support program has also been announced for eligible public events and public events suppliers affected by the lockdown. They can receive support of up to $25,000 and $10,000 respectively.
Additionally, a new round of the live performance support program is available with funding of up to $7,000 for presenters and up to $2,000 for suppliers.
Support for businesses in South Australia
In South Australia, a new business support package, worth about $100m, will assist an estimated 50,000 eligible businesses. The grants will apply to businesses with a payroll of less than $10m, with an annual turnover of $75,000 or more (in 2020-21 or 2019-20) and whose turnover is reduced by at least 30% over the seven days from 20 July 2021 as a result of the lockdown. Small and medium businesses can apply for a $3,000 grant, while sole traders can apply for a $1,000 cash grant.
“This is an immediate lifeline for small and medium businesses that are the lifeblood of our community and underpin our economy,” the state treasurer, Rob Lucas, said.
Applications are expected to open in the following weeks and can now be registered with the state Treasury.