Government’s billion-dollar coronavirus stimulus package

12 March, 2020 by
Hospitality Magazine

The government has announced a billion-dollar stimulus package to assist Australian small businesses.

The package, designed to provide temporary relief, will allow businesses to access instant write-offs from today along with a raft of other initiatives such as cash payments for hiring and paying staff and $1.3 billion to keep apprentices in the job.

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“Australia is not immune to the global coronavirus challenge, but we have already taken steps to prepare for this looming international economic crisis,” said Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“The economy needs temporary help right now to bounce back better so the livelihoods of all Australians are protected.”

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Businesses with an annual turnover under $500 million are now able to claim tax deductions up to $150,000 on tools, office equipment and vehicles.

To assist with hiring workers and paying current employees, nearly 700,000 small- to medium-sized businesses will have access to cash payments between $2000 and $25,000.

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$1.3 billion in support payments have been allocated to keep 120,000 apprentices employed.

Meanwhile, there have been calls for the introduction of measures to assist casual workers who do not have access to paid sick leave.

Approximately 75 per cent of the hospitality industry is made up of casual workers.

Attorney general Christian Porter held a round table on the issue on Tuesday, which was attended by several union representatives and business groups.

Porter said many people would have “already made provisions” should they be faced with a two-week quarantine period due to the coronavirus.

“The purpose of casual employment is that you’re paid extra in-lieu of the types of entitlements,” he said.

“If it is the case that large numbers of people in particular industry sectors by virtue of the casual nature of their employment are having these types of problems and that is something we’re aware could happen, that is something that can be responded to, likely through the welfare system, but there might be other options.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced in a press conference this morning that Newstart waiting periods would be waived for those who find themselves out of work.

The Prime Minister said Newstart processing time will take five days after an application is submitted.

“I understand the concern a casual employee would have,” said the Prime Minister. “I’m encouraged by the early response to this by businesses and I hope other businesses will lead the way.”

Image credit: Good Food