Victoria’s lockdown extended by a week, SA to lockdown from Tuesday evening

July 20, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

Victoria has extended its lockdown until midnight on Tuesday, 27 July and South Australia will go into lockdown for the next week from 6.00pm this evening with five cases now linked to the current Delta strain cluster.

From 6.00pm in South Australia, the only reasons to leave home will be to care for someone, for essential work, to purchase essential goods such as food, exercise with people from the same household and healthcare — including COVID testing and vaccination.

The South Australian Government will announce support for businesses on Wednesday but on Monday, Australian Hotels Association’s Ian Horne told the Adelaide Advertiser that “the three-day lockdown in November cost hospitality in excess of $100m – this is going to be as bad as that if not worse” and called the restrictions a “brutal response” given there are just five cases and none of these are in regional areas of South Australia.

The Winter Reds festival scheduled for this weekend in the Adelaide Hills has been cancelled with organisers hoping to reschedule the event.

Victoria

When the lockdown commenced last week, the Prime Minister and Premier of Victoria, supported by their Treasurers, agreed to the way economic support will be delivered to individuals and businesses when lockdowns are declared by state or territory governments. The COVID Disaster Payment agreement was established in New South Wales last week. Income and business support is determined based on how long the lockdown endures.

However, head of the Restaurant and Catering Industry Association, Wes Lambert told the Australian Financial Review: “We must reopen the discussion for a national wage subsidy given the rush to lockdown to combat [COVID-19] in every single scenario.

“JobSaver [the new business support program] is not specifically a wage subsidy, it’s a payment paid to the business that isn’t approved based on being paid on to employees.”

With the extension of the Victorian lockdown, the additional features of the upgraded and revised economic support arrangements will be activated. Advice on this is yet to come.

For now, the Australian government will provide income support for those who work or live in the areas declared as a Commonwealth Hotspot. The provision of income support outside of these areas will be provided where requested and at the cost of the State or Territory Government.

Individuals will be eligible for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment if they have lost between 8 and less than 20 hours of work for a payment of $375, and for 20 or more hours of work for a payment of $600, during the period of the lockdown. There will be no liquid assets test applied to eligibility for these payments.

A commitment has been made by the State or Territory Government to provide significant economic support, for the same lockdown period, to ensure cost sharing between the Commonwealth and the State or Territory Government.

In Victoria, the following areas have been declared COVID-19 Hotspots for the purposes of Commonwealth support: Greater Melbourne, Moorabool Shire, City of Greater Geelong, Borough of Queenscliff and Surf Coast Shire.

The Commonwealth will fund the payment for those who live and/or work in the areas declared as a Commonwealth Hotspot and the State Government will fund payments provided to the balance of the State.

Payments will be made in arrears on application to Services Australia, seven days after the commencement of the lockdown (that is from Friday 23 July 2021).

Payments of $600 will be made to Individuals that lose 20 hours or more of work during the period of the lockdown.

Payments of $375 will be made to Individuals that lose between 8 and up to 20 hours of work during the period of the lockdown.

Additionally, the Victorian Government has agreed to provide significant additional economic support to businesses, from day one of this lockdown period, satisfying the Commonwealth’s cost sharing requirements for this arrangement.

The Prime Minister’s website states that this support is in addition to “the $45.4 billion of Commonwealth support that has already been delivered”.

New South Wales

New South Wales recorded 78 new cases yesterday and the NSW Government has launched the Accelerated 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grant today. It is the first of the NSW Government’s economic support packages to be made available.

Applications for the second tranche of assistance, which includes the Micro Business Support Grants and the JobSaver program, will open from Monday, July 26.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said over $4 billion had been directed by the NSW Government to where it is needed most to help families and businesses during this difficult time.

“From the outset of the pandemic we’ve always said we would do whatever was necessary to protect people and jobs and this suite of measures will do exactly that,” Mr Perrottet said.

“These programs will provide timely and targeted support for businesses to help them with much needed cash flow, maintain employees and provide relief for business expenses, for which no other government support is available.

The 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grant will be available to NSW businesses that have a turnover of more than $75,000 and up to $50 million, and have a total annual wages bill of below $10 million.

New South Wales’ businesses can expect to start receiving funds from the Business Support Grant from
the end of July.

Eligible businesses for the 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grant will receive:

  • $15,000 for a decline in turnover of 70 per cent, or more
  • $10,500 for a decline in turnover of 50 per cent, or more
  • $7,500 for a decline in turnover of 30 per cent, or more.

Minister for Digital and Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said the digital application process is available for business owners through Service NSW to deliver the grants into bank accounts ‘as quickly and seamlessly as possible;.

From July 26, the Micro Business Support Grant will be available for eligible businesses with a turnover of between $30,000 and $75,000 that experience a decline in turnover of 30 per cent or more. Eligible businesses will receive $1,500, tax-free, per fortnight of restrictions.

In addition, the joint NSW Government and Commonwealth JobSaver program will help small and medium businesses retain staff. Eligible businesses with a turnover from $75,000 and up to $50 million who maintain
their staff headcount will receive tax-free fortnightly payments of 40 per cent of their weekly payroll, with a minimum payment of $1,500 per week, and a maximum payment of $10,000 per week.

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