New COVID Disaster Payments Are on Their Way for NSW


Sydneysiders, more help is on the way.

The federal and NSW governments have announced extra support packages will be made available for people and businesses struggling financially due to the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown in greater Sydney.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, as well as the federal and state treasurers, finalised a deal on Monday night amid growing fears that the lockdown could go on for several more weeks.

In a joint press conference, the state and federal leaders announced the new payments on Tuesday, July 13, which will come into effect from 19 July.

Reluctant to call it JobKeeper, the federal government has said eligible businesses will be able to access a so-called “cash flow boost” to help them meet their overhead costs during the lockdown.

Current COVID-19 disaster payments for individuals will also be increased.

People who have lost 20 hours or more of work a week during the lockdown can now have access to emergency payments of $600, up from $500 per week.

People who have lost less than 20 hours a week can now access payments of $375, up from $325 per week.

Businesses that have seen a fall in turnover will be able to access a new business support payment of up to $10,000 per week, but they will need to keep their existing staff to access the payments.

These business support payments will be available to entities with an annual turnover between $75,000 and $50 million who can demonstrate a 30 per cent decline in turnover.

For non-employing businesses, such as sole traders, the payment will be set at $1000 per week.

The payments will be a welcome relief for some but the increases are not likely to make a substantial difference for those who have lost work.

“This new support represents a new national approach and will apply to other states and territories in the event they face similar circumstances,” the PM said.

The Prime Minister also announced further funding for mental health resources and evictions in COVID-affected areas have also been put on pause.

The Commonwealth and NSW governments will deliver a $17.35 million mental health support package for NSW, including services through Lifeline, headspace and Kid’s Helpline.

Regional areas are currently struggling with the lack of tourism from Sydney and calls have been made to expand the areas eligible for payments.

In response, the Commonwealth and NSW have also agreed that from July 18, the COVID-19 Commonwealth Disaster Payment will be available to those outside Commonwealth declared hotspots in NSW that meet the criteria for the payment.

The federal opposition has demanded that the government immediately reinstate the JobKeeper programme, as there are fears that thousands could be laid off across the state as the lockdown continues.

NSW had been considering setting up its own JobKeeper-style programme but both levels of government will be contributing financially to this newly announced package.

NSW announced 89 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, with 21 people known to be infectious in the community.

This is down from the 112 announced on Monday but Premier Berejiklian warned that we should expect numbers to “jump around” over the next few days.

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