Disaster relief package offered as New South Wales faces extended lockdown

July 13, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

The Australian and New South Wales governments have developed a relief package designed to support workers and businesses left reeling by the latest lockdown.

Workers who have lost between 8-20 hours a week are eligible for between $325-$375 per week and those who have lost more than 20 hours per week, between $500 to $600. The payments are not means tested.

From 18 July, the support will be available to workers beyond Greater Sydney, to anyone throughout New South Wales, impacted by the protracted lockdown restrictions which will last at least until Friday, 30 July.

Cash grants will go to small businesses struggling to survive the lockdown and keep their workforce. The grants will cost half a billion dollars a week and will be equally funded by the federal and NSW governments. The payments of between $1500-$10,000 per week will be paid fortnightly to businesses where turnover has declined by 30 per cent or more.

The Prime Minister explained that the payment is similar to the Cashflow Boost from 2020 and is available to businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million per year and contingent on businesses maintaining staff with the maximum payment of 40 per cent of a business’s payroll.

“It is in the national interest that we now put in place a different set of arrangements with the states and territories,” he said.

“That will first be put in place here in New South Wales.”

The New South Wales support package is the new standard in what will now be known as “the COVID-19 Disaster Payment”. The Federal Government, and will be made available “from week four of a lockdown and a 50/50 cost sharing arrangement between the Commonwealth and the NSW government for a new and expanded small to medium business support package, implemented and administered by NSW.

“This level of support will apply nationally to any state or territory that experiences an extended lockdown beyond week three following the declaration of a Commonwealth hotspot.”

Businesses can register their interest from 14 July 2021 at www.service.nsw.gov.au

The federal government will also provide $17.35 million in funding to mental health services.

The NSW Government announced that businesses worth up to $10 million in payroll tax will be able to access small business grants, and that payroll taxes will be deferred for businesses who pay less than $10 million per year.

Landlords will not be able to evict workers who have lost more than 25 per cent of their revenue due to the lockdown.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet says the state government was prioritising the economy over the budget.

“We are going to get through this difficult time and come out stronger on the other side,” Perrottet says

The Australian Hotels Association NSW has welcomed the support and the news that impacted businesses in regional New South Wales will also be eligible for support.

AHA NSW CEO John Whelan said, “This second shutdown has been devastating for our staff and hoteliers. The support is desperately needed and is welcomed. NSW hotels have operated at a maximum of 50 per cent capacity for the past 16 months and the latest lockdown has hit particularly hard. More than 50,000 Greater Sydney- based hotel staff are now out of work.

“The pubs might be closed but the bills keep coming in. This support will allow us to keep our head above water during this difficult time so we’re able to open our doors when the lockdown ends. It’s pleasing to see the Disaster Payment extended into regional NSW where businesses are dealing with their own tough set of restrictions.”

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