NSW Nationals Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders has welcomed a package put together by the NSW Nationals in the state and federal governments to support workers and businesses impacted by the current restrictions.
Two packages were announced on Tuesday afternoon, one aimed at business owners and one aimed solely at workers whose employment has been cut as a result of lockdowns and movement restrictions.
“Up until now the bulk of the support has been for those people living in Sydney, who are directly locked down but as the lockdown has dragged on it has become apparent that support was also needed for regional areas,” Mr Saunders said.
“I’m pleased the new arrangements have been expanded statewide, because there are businesses all over regional NSW, particularly in the tourism sector, that have shut down temporarily due to a reduction in visitors.
“This has led to staff losing work and I’ve had people contacting my office asking what assistance is available. I’m glad that the pleas of regional MPs have been listened to and the programs have been expanded.”
Key components of the 2021 COVID-19 package include:
• An extension to the previously announced business grants program. This means eligible businesses with Australian wages below $10 million can claim grants between $7500 and $15,000 to cover the first three weeks of restrictions, and takes the potential size of the program to $2.1 billion;
• Up to $2 billion committed to the scheme to provide cashflow support to businesses to help them retain staff, to be delivered together with the Commonwealth.
• 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;
• 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 $1500 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;
• 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.
Individuals looking to make claims should do so through the Services Australia website (www.servicesaustralia.gov.au) while business claims can be made through the Service NSW website (www.service.nsw.gov.au).