If you’re inbox is anything like mine, you’re probably deleting everything that’s coming through to do with the coronavirus! Somehow it feels like this is just beginning, and in other ways, enough already!
The craziness, isolation, job losses, panic buying and empty shelves have given a whole new perspective to the words ‘global pandemic.’
And, with the unprecedented times facing global citizens, it’s good to know that some measures are being rolled out by federal governments around the world to assist those who need it most.
Minimising the economic damage from coronavirus is a high priority for many and strong leadership is needed now more than ever.
So what is the Australian government doing to assist? Here’s a bit of a “highlights reel” following yesterday’s announcement:
- The payment of a $550 per fortnight coronavirus supplement to current and new individuals on income support payments (JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance JobSeeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit) for a period of six months. Asset tests and waiting periods will not apply.
- The payment of a second $750 payment in July to income support recipients (social security and veteran pensions) and eligible concession card holders. This is in addition to a first payment of $750 from 31 March 2020.
- Australians in financial stress will be able to get early access to their super, with the option of applying for $10,000 in each of the 2019/20 and 2020/21 years. At this stage it is only open for the first 3 months of the 2020/21 year. These payments will be tax free. Applications need to be submitted through myGov.
- A temporary 50% reduction in the minimum pension drawdown rates for the 2019/20 and 2020/21 years.
- A further reduction in the social security deeming rates. As of 1 May 2020, the lower rate will be 0.25% and the upper rate will be 2.25%.
- Funding support for small businesses and not for profits who are continuing to pay employees. This applies to entities with aggregate annual turnover of under $50 Million, who employ workers and will take the form of a reimbursement of up to 100% of salary and wages tax withholdings with a minimum payment of $10,000 and a maximum of $50,000. It seems that there will be one payment from 28 April 2020 and a further payment made from 28 July 2020. These payments will be tax free.
- The Government will establish a scheme to guarantee 50% of new loans to SMEs, up to a maximum of $40 Billion. This is in addition to the $90 Billion of funding being made available by the Reserve Bank to Australian Banks.
- Temporary relief for distressed businesses, involving an increase in the threshold for creditor action and a delay in the time-frame to respond. Further protections will be made available to directors.
On a cumulative basis, the Government suggest they’re injecting $189 billion into the economy, an amount equivalent of 9.7% of GDP.
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us. And if you’re one of the lucky ones who’s managed to snaffle a few loo rolls, be sure to share your bounty with those who need it most.