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Business support payments to start next week as lockdown extended

Scott Morrison

Sydney’s lockdown has been extended by an additional two weeks, now set for a potential end-date of Friday, July 30th, as the city continues to grapple with a worsening situation.

However, businesses that have seen at least a thirty per cent decline in turnover due to the Sydney lockdown are eligible for payroll support payments of up to 40 per cent of their total payroll.

The business support scheme, announced on Tuesday afternoon and kicking off on the 19th, will require impacted businesses to maintain their staffing levels throughout the lockdown in order to remain eligible.

According to Prime Minister Scott Morrison the new payments will cost half a billion dollars per week, and will be funded equally by the NSW and Federal Governments.

“It is in the national interest that we now put in place a different set of arrangements with the states and territories,” Morrison said, according to the ABC.

“That will first be put in place here in New South Wales.”

Moving forward, any state that is in lockdown for at least four weeks will be able to call on this measure in order to gain federal support for businesses. The Government has also reinstated a moratorium on evictions for tenants who have lost at least a fifth of their work, and will offer rebates to landlords.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet urged retailers to work with their landlords to make sure everyone gets through lockdown.

“We want to keep as many workers in work during this period of time,” said Perrottet.

Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott welcomed the new support measures, stating they will help businesses to stay up and running through the foreseeable future and out of lockdown.

“This lockdown will end and when it does this package means businesses will be ready to ramp back up quickly and keep the recovery going,” Westacott said.

“Workers and employers in every state and territory will welcome the certainty that this support will provide if their state is forced into another lockdown. However, our focus must always be on getting the systems in place to prevent these lockdowns in the future.”

ARA chief executive Paul Zahra said lockdowns tend to have a heavy social and economic cost, and that making this scheme require employers to hold onto staff would take a burden off of workers afraid of losing their jobs.

“It’s clear we will be living with Covid for some time and we are pleased to see a national approach to support measures for extended lockdowns,” Zahra said.

“This will provide small businesses in particular with the confidence they need and will help alleviate some of the mental health pressures staff and business owners confront with extended lockdowns.

“Displaced workers are unsure how they’re going to pay their bills and rent. The economic support package has certainly come as a welcome relief.”

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