National Cabinet releases new quarantine measures and sneak preview of the “business hibernation” package to come
Today Prime Minister Scott Morrison gave a short update on the decisions made by the National Cabinet, including flagging a plan to be released on Sunday to support Australian businesses to “hibernate” during this economic downturn.
Firstly the Prime Minister was very thankful to the Australian people for responding to the restrictions announced by the government over the past few weeks. There has been an 80% drop in interstate travel in the last fortnight.
Reflecting on the G20 meeting attended last night, Scott Morrison said that we have amongst the highest if not the highest testing rates in the world and that the restrictions currently in place are making a real difference.
Increased quarantine measures for people returning from overseas
Two-thirds of COVID-19 cases are from Australians returning from overseas. In response to this, the Federal Government is strengthening requirements for travellers returning to Australia.
From midnight on Saturday, 28 March 2020, all Australians returning to Australia will be quarantined in hotels for the 14 day period. This will be managed and enforced by the States and Territories.
Members of the Australian Defence Force will be provided to assist local enforcement authorities on compliance, including supporting on compliance checks for existing quarantines
What is to come on Sunday? Business hibernation package
The Prime Minister recognised that businesses are already being agile and adapting where they can. Distilleries making hand sanitisers, cafes changing the way they do business, Woolworth’s employing more people. However, there are some businesses that will have to close their doors – either as a requirement from the Government or because the customers simply aren’t there.
The third package to be announced will reveal measures to help businesses “hibernate” – to protect businesses from being saddled by debt and expenses to such a degree that they cannot open again. Some of these measures may include freezes on bills, additional rent relief, and additional tax measures, waivers and deferrals for payroll and land tax. The aim is to provide enough of a buffer for these businesses to be able to rebound – including employing more people – as quickly as possible when the economy starts to recover.
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