On the heels of an extensive support package that was unveiled this week for businesses and employees facing losses due to Sydney’s stay-at-home orders, comes new aid for Victoria, which entered a snap five-day lockdown on Friday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews came to an agreement on Thursday night to provide aid to Victorian workers located in the latest COVID hotspots who will lose income due to the new restrictions.
Individuals who have lost between eight and less than 20 hours of work will receive a payment of $375, while those who have lost more than 20 hours work get $600.
There are now no restrictions on who is eligible to receive the payment, the assets test having been scrapped last week. Previously, recipients of the disaster payment had to demonstrate they had less than $10,000 in savings.
While eligibility for the individual payments is still based from the second week of a lockdown onward, the first week will also be covered “on an arrears basis” on application to Services Australia, seven days after the commencement of the lockdown.
The new agreement is in line with the Prime Minister’s remarks earlier on Thursday, proposing a “streamlined set of financial supports” for residents and businesses located in a Commonwealth-designated COVID hotspot or those subject to lockdowns enforced by states or territories.
On Friday morning, more than 40 per cent of Australians were in lockdown.
Victoria’s latest set of restrictions apply to the Greater Melbourne, Moorabool Shire, City of Greater Geelong, Borough of Queenscliff and Surf Coast Shire regions. It’s the fifth lockdown the state has imposed since the pandemic began.
With Victoria’s lockdown currently only scheduled to last for five days, support for businesses currently falls under the state government’s remit, starting on day one. If the lockdown is extended, the Commonwealth intends to implement economic support for business owners in line with the new package that is currently being tested in NSW.
The state’s support for businesses in lockdown this week is expected to mirror the Circuit Breaker Business Support Package that was introduced by Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas for Greater Melbourne’s fourth lockdown, which ran from 28 May through 17 June.
That program totalled $250 million and introduced a structure of grants that delivered targeted funding to hospitality businesses, event organisers, and small and medium-sized businesses with an annual payroll of up to $10 million.
It offered liquor licence and food certificate holders between $3,500 and $7,000 per premises. Other businesses were eligible to receive payments of $2,500 or $5,000. Grants ranging from $500 to $150,000 were available for the organisers, suppliers and hosts of live events.
The new federal model for economic support for businesses in an extended lockdown foresees aid of between $1,500 and $10,000 for businesses with annual revenue of up to $50 million. Businesses must, however, maintain their regular staffing levels and demonstrate a fall of at least 30 per cent over a similar two-week period in 2019.