Australian state offers financial aid to businesses amid lockdown
The new COVID assistance package, approved by the federal government’s expenditure review committee, was finalised by the federal and NSW Treasuries.
The package is targeted to help businesses with their cash flow so that they do not have to lay off staff during the latest lockdown. Businesses such as hairdressers, cinemas, gyms and beauty salons were forced to close two weeks ago after the Delta strain of the virus caused the number of COVID-19 cases to swell.
The NSW government, which will co-fund the business package, is planning other assistance measures, including cash for those waiting for their COVID-19 test results to incentivise them to stay home, and tenancy protection measures for those unable to pay rent.
The federal government is expected to increase the amount of money for workers affected by the lockdown via emergency payments currently set at A$350 (US$354) and A$500 (US$505) a week depending on the number of hours worked before the lockdown.
The national cabinet had agreed that states will cover costs related to business aid and federal government those pertaining to household assistance. However, the national government is now expected to cover a big part of business assistance after it publicly rejected to reinstate the Jobkeeper wage subsidy scheme, according to The Guardian.
Prime minister Scott Morrison said, “One of the most effective measures, in addition to income support, was the cashflow boost that was put in place. That was a very effective measure because it gave business a lot of confidence and it went together with the income support.”