The update this morning reveals there were 89 new cases detected overnight – 55 of which were in isolation, 6 in part isolation and up to 34 were infectious in the community. While it’s a drop in the number of confirmed cases – the main concern is the high numbers of people infectious in the community.
As the country’s largest State, the Sydney lockdown could have a significant impact on the whole economy. In the press conference this evening, the Prime Minister said that this outbreak was more severe, more dangerous and it was in the national best interest to put in place additional support when outbreaks go for a protracted period of time.
Cash flow boost for businesses
From week four of the lockdown, the NSW and Federal Government will co-fund small and medium business support payments, similar to the cash flow boost released last year.
This support is targeted at NSW entities, including not-for-profits, with an annual turnover between $75,000 and $50 million, and has a turnover that is 30% lower than an equivalent two week period in 2019.
Eligible entities will receive 40% of their NSW payroll payments, at a minimum of $1500 and a maximum of $10,000 per week.
Importantly, entities will be required to maintain their full time, part time and long term casual staffing level as of 13 July 2021 to receive the payment.
For non-employing businesses, such as sole traders, the payment will be set at $1,000 per week.
Businesses can register their interest from 14 July 2021 at www.service.nsw.gov.au
NSW business grants
The NSW Government has expanded their grants program. NSW businesses with up to $10 million in payroll tax can claim grants between $7,500 and $15,000 to cover the first three weeks of restrictions.
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% was also announced today. Businesses will be eligible for a $1500 payment per fortnight of restrictions.
Payroll tax waivers of 25% is available for businesses with Australian wages of between $1.2 million and $10 million that have experienced a 30% decline in turnover, as well as payroll tax deferrals and interest free repayment plans
Complementing the grants scheme, the Commonwealth will also provide additional support through the tax system, by making NSW small business grants, including the new small business payments, tax exempt. In addition, there is administrative relief to NSW taxpayers facing hardship, including reduced payment plans, no interest charged on late payments and varying instalments on request.
Support for landlords
Land tax relief equal to the value of rent reductions provided by commercial, retail and residential landlords to financially distressed tenants, up to 100% of the 2021 land tax year liability.
To protect tenants, legislative amendments have been introduced to ensure a short-term eviction moratorium for rental arrears where a residential tenant suffers loss of income of 25% due to COVID-19 and meets a range of criteria. There will also be a mediation requirement with no recovery of security bonds, or lockouts or evictions of impacted retail and commercial tenants prior to mediation.
In recognition of the impact the lockdown is having on landlords, and presumably in response to the 60 moratorium on evictions, the NSW Government is offering a capped grant of up to $1,500 to residential landlords who are not liable to pay land tax and who reduce rent for tenants. The application process and further details are still to be published.
National disaster payment scheme expanded and co-funded
The disaster payment scheme has been expanded to address the protracted nature of the greater Sydney lockdown. As of today, anyone who has lost more than 8 hours of work per week can access the disaster payment. This is not tied to employer size and is not means tested. The amount available will increase from week four of the lockdown.
People who have lost more than 20 hours of work can access a $600 per week, up from $500. People who have lost 8 hours and up to 20 hours of work can access $375 per week, up from $325.
Once the application has been made, the payment becomes recurring until lockdown finishes. The Commonwealth funding is for designated COVID hotspots with the NSW Government providing the same support for individuals outside of greater Sydney.
As outlined in a previous alert, there is a deferral of gaming tax assessments for clubs until 21 December 2021 and hotels until 21 January 2021.
New support includes a $75 million support package for the performing arts sector to be administered by Create NSW and a support package for the accommodation sector worth $26 million.
The Federal Government has committed $12.25 million for additional mental health support, complemented by an additional $5.1 million towards mental health by the NSW Government. The NSW Government has also provided $12 million in additional funding for temporary accommodation for those at risk of or experiencing homelessness.
Mandatory COVID-19 testing for essential workers in some circumstances comes into effect from Wednesday. This “surveillance testing” applies to:
- Workers leaving the Fairfield local government area will need to get tested every three days if leaving the council zone.
- People leaving greater Sydney for regional NSW for work purposes will need to get tested every week and carry proof of test.
We are here to help
All of our people are working remotely and are ready to support you throughout the lockdown period. Please reach out if you have questions about grants and assistance available, reporting extensions or advice on how to best manage your business.