Stimulus package wrap up: What your state is doing to help Aussies cope during the COVID-19 outbreak
Wednesday 18 March 2020
As the fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak continues, the possibility of Australia entering lockdown is slowly becoming a reality.
And while empty supermarket shelves, deserted airports and overwhelmed hospitals have been some of the major talking points, vulnerable Aussies and small business are also feeling the strain.
To help Australians far and wide cope with the financial impact caused by the coronavirus, state governments across the state have begun to announce stimulus packages to provide economic relief and increase consumer confidence.
So whether you’re in New South Wales or Western Australia, we’ve done the hard work for you by summarising the stimulus package details you’ll want to know about in your state.
Last updated, 25th March 2020
On 22 March 2020, the Federal government announced a second stimulus package worth $66 billion to assist Australians who are to be affected financially by the coronavirus.
Sole traders and casual workers who earn less than $1,075 a fortnight or those who receive payments through Jobseeker will be eligible for a $550 supplement every fortnight for the next six months.
In addition to the first $750 stimulus payment, Aussies who either receive the Age Pension, own a CommonWealth senior card or earn a carers allowance are entitled to another $750 stimulus payment. However, these payments will not be processed until July 13, 2020.
"This is clearly saying that we expect this to go on for some time and we know that those vulnerable groups may need additional income support during those periods," said Prime Minister, Scott Morrison.
Small businesses and not-for-profit organisations with a turnover of less than $50 million will benefit from a tax-free cash payment of up to $100,000 to help keep staff and maintain operation.
"Whether it is a coffee shop or mechanic or hairdresser... by providing at a minimum $20,000 and up to $100,000 for small businesses who employ people, [it] gives them a chance to get to the other side,” said Mr Morrison.
Other measures the Morrison government has put forth include decreasing deeming rates by 0.25% for pensioners, allowing Aussies to access up to $10,000 from their superannuation in the 2019/20 and 2020/21 financial years and guaranteeing unsecured small business loans of up to $250,000.
New South Wales
On March 17, the New South Wales Government announced a $2.3 billion stimulus package to provide extra health funding and tax exemptions for businesses.
NSW Health will receive $700 million to boost services, like doubling the capacity of intensive care across the state, providing additional coronavirus testing and purchasing extra ventilators and medical equipment.
Public schools and state-owned buildings will receive $250 million to employ more cleaners.
Another $450 million has been assigned to waive payroll tax - for businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million - for three months.
$80 million will also be used to waive fees and charges for small businesses in trades such as restaurants and cafes.
Mozo recently reported on the Federal Government's stimulus package to help small businesses across the country, which will provide $17.6 billion worth of tax breaks and subsidies. More than six million Aussies who receive Centrelink benefits are also set to benefit from a $750 one-off payment by the Federal Government.
In Victoria, inner-city businesses can expect a $10 million boost from The City of Melbourne council to help them manage issues caused by the coronavirus.
Fees for Food Act registrations and street trading permits will be suspended for up to three months.
Rent will also be halved for eligible tenants in council-owned buildings.
“The economic impacts from this virus will be significant and we’re encouraging everybody to support local businesses wherever they can,” said Melbourne Lord Mayor, Sally Capp.
In South Australia, a $350 million government stimulus package has been revealed, which is targeted at improving job opportunities for those that have been impacted by the virus as well as the recent bushfires and droughts.
Infrastructure, road and hospital maintenance and funds for tourism facilities will be the focus of the package.
“Our top priority, along with the health, safety and wellbeing of all South Australians, is to ensure our economy is well positioned to not only withstand the impact of bushfires and coronavirus, but to emerge stronger and more resilient as a result,” said South Australian Premier, Steven Marshall.
In Western Australia, Premier, Mark McGowan has announced household fees such as electricity, water and motor vehicle registration will be frozen due to a sudden spike in confirmed virus cases.
Public transport fares and the emergency services levy will also not increase until at least July 2021.
The Energy Assistance Payment - a rebate available to concession holders - is expected to double to $600 to assist older Western Australians, with an estimated 300,000 households set to receive a $300 credit immediately on their energy bills from July 1.
According to WA Treasurer, Ben Wyatt, this means that seniors won’t have to pay their power bill for the first four months of the 2020/21 financial year.
$114 million will also be spent on small and medium-sized businesses, with payroll tax cuts being brought forward to July 1 and providing eligible businesses with a one-off $17,500 grant.
In Queensland small businesses will share in $500 million worth of interest-free loans to ensure they don’t collapse and that workers remain employed during the virus outbreak.
A further $250 million worth of loans are being offered to local companies and payroll tax deferral will be extended to companies of all sizes.
On March 24 2020, the Queensland government introduced a new stimulus package for households struggling to keep up with electricity and water bills. The package, which is worth $300 million for households, will provide a credit of up to $200 for utility bills.
“In recognition of the fact that if we’re asking Queenslanders to stay at home, they’re going to be consuming more power and water as they stay at home with their kids and their families,” said Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk.
“So we want to alleviate that additional cost on them and that’s what the $200 cash-back on electricity bills is all about.”
In Tasmania, a one-off emergency relief payment of $250 for individuals and $1,000 for families who have been forced to self isolate will be issued.
Another $20 million in interest-free loans will be supplied to businesses in the hospitality, tourism and export sectors, while councils will receive $50 million of interest-free loans to upgrade and renovate tourism assets and increase employment.