In its latest stimulus package, the Federal Government will put $130B into an historic wage subsidy to keep about six million workers on the job.
The JobKeeper payment will provide a flat payment of $1,500 per fortnight through employers, before tax.
“This will help keep people in jobs as businesses tackle the significant economic impact from the coronavirus,” the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said when he announced the latest stimulus package on March 30.
The JobKeeper payment will be open to eligible businesses that receive a significant financial hit of 30% or more, caused by the coronavirus, and Federal Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, said it was aimed at keeping the employer and employee connected while businesses went into hibernation.
The Prime Minister also announced that over the next six months the government was temporarily expanding access to the income support payment and establishing a coronavirus supplement of $550 per fortnight.
“Formerly known as Newstart, the JobSeeker Payment is subject to a partner income test but that will now be temporarily relaxed to ensure that eligible persons can receive the payment providing their partner earns less than $3,068 per fortnight, around $79,762 per annum.
“The personal income test for individuals on JobSeeker Payment will still apply.”
The Prime Minister said the JobKeeper Payment and changes to the JobSeeker Payment would bring the government’s total economic support for the economy to $320B or 16.4 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Previous coronavirus economic stimulus packages will benefit thousands of new and existing Centrelink recipients and small businesses on the Central Coast.
The second package announced on March 22 included: support for households including casuals, sole-traders, retirees and those on income support; assistance for businesses to keep people in a job; and regulatory protection and financial support for businesses to stay in business.
Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said the government was acting to “cushion the blow from the coronavirus for businesses and households to help them get through to the other side of the crisis”.
Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, said the government was taking “unprecedented action” to strengthen the safety net available to Australians who are stood down or lose their jobs and increasing support for small businesses that do it tough over the next six months.
“These measures build significantly on what we have already announced,” he said.
“These extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures.”
New and existing recipients of JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit will receive a supplement of $550 per fortnight on top of their regular fortnightly payment for six months.
In addition to a one off $750 stimulus payment announced on March 12 to be paid after March 31, a further one off $750 will be paid to social security and veteran income support recipients and eligible concession card holders, except for those who are receiving an income support payment that is eligible to receive the coronavirus supplement.
The second payment will be made automatically after July 13 to around 5 million people, around half of whom are pensioners.
The government will allow individuals in financial stress as a result of the coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21.
They will not need to pay tax on these funds.
The government will also temporarily reduce superannuation minimum drawdown rates by 50 percent for 2019-20 and 2020-21 to provide retirees with more flexibility as to how they manage their superannuation assets.
Deeming rates will be reduced by a further 0.25 percentage points to reflect the latest rate reductions by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA).
As of May 1, 2020, the lower deeming rate will be 0.25 percent and the upper deeming rate will be 2.25 percent.
This will benefit around 900,000 income support recipients, including Age Pensioners.
The government has also outlined a range of measures to help small businesses and not-for-profits (including charities) which employ people, including up to $100,000 for those eligible and a minimum payment of $20,000, based on the number of employees and their PAYG amounts.
The Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme will support small and medium enterprises to get access to working capital to help them get through the impact of the coronavirus.
There will be a temporary increase of the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company and the time companies must respond to statutory demands they receive.
There will be an increase of up to 5,000 staff for Services Australia to assist in delivery of these initiatives.
Media release, Mar 30
Prime Minister & Treasurer
Prime Minister’s address, Mar 24