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Australia: The support on offer as Sydney Covid lockdown extends

Everything you need to know about Greater Sydney lockdown

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Support measures are available for struggling businesses and workers as Sydney's lockdown is extended for another two weeks.

Alongside the pandemic disaster payment and wage support for companies, the New South Wales government is providing business grants, tax relief and help for tenants.

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Businesses must apply for the cash via the Service NSW website and can expect the money in their accounts by the end of the month. They will be able to borrow from their bank to tide them over until then.

Workers who lose hours can apply for up to $600 a week from Services Australia and can expect the money to hit their accounts within days.

a sign above a store: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

Tenants who are struggling to pay rent are being urged to talk to their landlords about a reduction.

Landlords who give a reduction can apply for a $1,500 grant from the state government, or a land tax offset equal to the value of the reduction.

Meanwhile, NSW has increased business support grants to $15,000 to cover the first three weeks of the lockdown.

Under a major new support package announced on Tuesday, Sydney workers can claim up to $600 a week and businesses will get 40 per cent of their wage bills covered.

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The Commonwealth has upgraded the Covid-19 disaster payment and announced a new business support policy to encourage bosses to retain staff.

The disaster payment has been increased to allow residents who lose 20 hours a week to claim $600, up from $500 and those who lose between eight and 20 hours to claim $375, up from $325.

What support is NSW providing during lockdown?

· An extension to the previously announced business grants program. This means eligible businesses with Australian wages below $10 million can claim grants between $7,500 and $15,000 to cover the first three-weeks of restrictions, and takes the potential size of the program to $2.1 billion;

· Payroll tax waivers of 25 per cent for businesses with Australian wages of between $1.2 million and $10 million that have experienced a 30 per cent decline in turnover, as well as payroll tax deferrals and interest free repayment plans;

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· A new grants program for micro businesses with a turnover of between $30,000 and $75,000 which experience a decline in turnover of 30 per cent. The businesses will be eligible for a $1500 payment per fortnight of restrictions.

· A capped grant of up to $1,500 for residential landlords who are not liable to pay land tax who reduce rent for tenants estimated at $210 million;

· Land tax relief equal to the value of rent reductions provided by commercial, retail and residential landlords to financially distressed tenants, up to 100 per cent of the 2021 land tax year liability;

· Introduction of legislative amendments to ensure a short-term eviction moratorium for rental arrears where a residential tenant suffers loss of income of 25 per cent due to Covid-19 and meets a range of criteria.

· No recovery of security bonds, or lockouts or evictions of impacted retail and commercial tenants prior to mediation;

· Deferral of gaming tax assessments for clubs until 21 December 2021 and hotels until 21 January 2021;

· A $75 million support package for the performing arts sector to be administered by Create NSW;

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· A support package for the accommodation sector worth $26 million;

· $12 million in additional funding for temporary accommodation for those at risk of or experiencing homelessness, and

· $5.1 million in NSW funding to support mental health.

Scott Morrison in a suit standing in front of a building: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

The federal payment will become recurring during the lockdown, meaning workers do not need to apply every week.

From July 18 the payment will be available to NSW residents who live outside Greater Sydney, with the state government picking up the tab for those workers.


Video: NSW businesses to receive new support payment and payroll tax relief (ABC NEWS)

'We know this is not just focused on Sydney, there are many workers doing it tough outside the area and they will now be able to access that program as well,' NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said.

A new small and medium business support payment will be available to companies and charities with an annual turnover between $75,000 and $50million.

The payment will be 40 per cent of a company's weekly wage bill per week, up to a maximum of $10,000.

Companies must show their revenue is 30 per cent lower than an equivalent two week period in 2019 to qualify.

What are the main financial supports available in lockdown?

Workers

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* Any states or territories in an extended lockdown will benefit from a new support package, with NSW being the first state entitled to it.

* From week four of a lockdown because of a Commonwealth government declared hotspot, the COVID-19 Disaster Payment will increase to $600 if a person has lost 20 or more hours of work a week or $375 if a person has lost between eight and less than 20 hours of work a week.

* The Commonwealth and NSW have also agreed that from July 18 the disaster payment will be available to those outside Commonwealth declared hotspots in NSW that meet the criteria for the payment.

* The NSW government will fund any payments outside a Commonwealth declared hotspot, with the Commonwealth continuing to fund payments to recipients in a Commonwealth declared hotspot.

Business

* A new business support payment will also be available to entities with an annual turnover between $75,000 and $50 million who can demonstrate a 30 per cent 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 July 13.

* Eligible entities, which includes not-for-profits, will receive payments of between $1500 and $10,000 per week based on the level of their payroll.

* For non-employing businesses, such as sole traders, the payment will be set at $1,000 per week.

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To receive the payment, companies must not sack any full time, part time and long-term staff who are currently employed.

For non-employing businesses, such as sole traders, the payment will be set at $1,000 per week.

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The policy will cost half a billion dollars a week, equally funded by the state and federal governments.

Mr Morrison said the aim was to tide businesses over until the lockdown ends.

'I think the NSW economy will come roaring back,' he told radio 2GB after announcing the support.

The state government will also provide payroll tax waivers of 25 per cent for businesses with Australian wages of between $1.2 million and $10 million that have experienced a 30 per cent decline in turnover.

To help small companies, a new grants program for micro businesses with a turnover of between $30,000 and $75,000 which experience a decline in turnover of 30 per cent will be eligible for a $1,500 payment per fortnight of restrictions.

Both the state and federal governments are also providing a combined $17.35 million to support mental health services.

Mr Morrison said the new supports would be available to any state or territory that has a four-week lockdown.

'What I'm announcing today is an upgrading of the Commonwealth Government's national response.

'It is certainly our hope and ambition that we would not see lockdowns extending to other states and territories but Covid-19 will set those rules.'

He added: 'As lockdowns extend into another week in NSW, households and businesses need this assistance to get them through the lockdown to the other side, ready to reopen.'

Sydney's lockdown was due to end on Friday but Premier Gladys Berejiklian has extended it for another two weeks.

Some 97 new cases were recorded on Wednesday, most in Fairfield.

How to claim the $600 lockdown payment if you lose work

Sydney residents who lose more than 20 hours of work a week can claim a $600 disaster payment from the federal government, and those who lose less than 20 hours can claim $375.

To claim the cash you'll need a Centrelink online account linked to your myGov. It's easy to set these up.

Once you're logged in, you will be asked a few questions about your situation to see if you're eligible.

Officials need to know if you lived or worked in a Covid-19 hotspot that's under lockdown or restricted movement.

Once you've completed your claim, hit submit and officials will process it for you.

You don't need to call them, they'll send you an SMS when you successfully submit your claim.

If you are eligible, officials will make a payment into your bank account and send you a letter with the details.

For more information click here

Read more

COVID's escape from Sydney is a nightmare scenario. Could a 'ring of steel' have stopped it? .
COVID-19 has escaped from Sydney into regional centres. Catherine Taylor explores what went wrong and how rural communities will cope with Delta.It's a devastating blow, says Swift, who estimates 70 per cent of Printhie Wines' business has disappeared in the past month as COVID-19 first locked out tourists from Sydney and this week shut down to all customers after two removalists and a truck driver carried COVID-19's Delta variant into the region.

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