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Australia Covid-19 disaster payment increases as Sydney's lockdown extends

06:49  28 july  2021
06:49  28 july  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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New South Wales residents will have their financial support payments boosted as Sydney's lockdown is extended by another month.

The $600-per-week pandemic disaster payment will increase to $750 for people who lose more than 20 hours of work and from $375 to $450 for those who lose 8-20 hours.

So far 812,000 people have claimed the cash worth a total of $411million.

Struggling NSW businesses can apply for increased grants of up to $100,000 a week.

The JobSaver payments to companies which suffer a 30 per cent revenue reduction due to restrictions were previously capped at $10,000.

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The maximum turnover threshold has also been increased from $50million to $250million to allow bigger companies to get the cash.

The expansion means some 460,000 companies employing 3.3million workers are expected to get the grants.

Businesses must not sack their staff or they will be disqualified.

For non-employing businesses, such as sole traders, the payment will remain set at $1,000 per week.

The business grants will be worth 40 per cent of a company's weekly payroll, up to $100,000.

They will help cover unavoidable costs such as rent, insurance and maintenance as well as wages.

The NSW jobless rate was just 5.1 per cent in June but there are fears the lockdown will see the unemployment ranks swell.

Commonwealth Bank predicts about 300,000 jobs will be lost and NSW's unemployment rate will peak at 5.6 per cent in October before reducing to 5.2 per cent at the end of the year.

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NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she had to fight for the funds, which will be paid for equally by the state and federal governments.

'We fought hard, we were listened to and that additional funding will be made available,' she said.

'We know these restrictions are tough but necessary to get the current situation under control and that is why we are coming to the table to help businesses and individuals with more financial support.'

The expanded payment will take effect from 18 July 2021, the start of the program. Businesses that have already submitted an application will not need to do anything, their payment will be automatically adjusted.

'These businesses are the ones we all need still standing to drive the recovery on the other side,' the Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

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NSW's request to reinstate JobKeeper, the wage subsidy scheme which paid struggling companies $1,500 per worker per fortnight in 2020, was denied by the Commonwealth.

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Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg  said the federal government's $600 per week pandemic disaster payment was faster than JobKeeper and better targeted to people who need it.

'The payments are being made in about 40 minutes,' he said.

'They are also targeted because they are based on the number of hours lost rather than the turnover reduction of the business that you work for.

'Also, the net has been cast wider with all casuals being eligible for these payments,' he said.

The payments of $600 a week for people who lose more than 20 hours and $375 for people who lose 8-20 hours will continue as long as lockdowns last, the government has said.

Mr Fyrdenberg said JobKeeper was a national scheme set up in early 2020 when the unemployment rate was expected to skyrocket to 15 per cent.

It required companies to take out loans from banks, pay their workers and then get re-reimbursed by the government weeks later.

By contrast, the pandemic disaster payment goes straight into the workers' bank accounts.

How to claim the $600 lockdown payment if you lose work

Australians who lose more than 20 hours of work a week can claim a $600 disaster payment from the federal government, and those who lose less than 20 hours can claim $375.

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To claim the cash you'll need a Centrelink online account linked to your myGov. It's easy to set these up.

Once you're logged in, you will be asked a few questions about your situation to see if you're eligible.

Officials need to know if you lived or worked in a Covid-19 hotspot that's under lockdown or restricted movement.

Once you've completed your claim, hit submit and officials will process it for you.

You don't need to call them, they'll send you an SMS when you successfully submit your claim.

If you are eligible, officials will make a payment into your bank account and send you a letter with the details.

For more information click here

Premier Berejiklian announced the lockdown extension on Wednesday morning as she announced another 177 cases of the virus had been recorded in the state overnight.

She said 46 of those cases were infectious in the community.

Health officials found 90 infections in south-west Sydney and 46 cases in the city's west in the 24 hours to 8pm.

NSW Health also confirmed the death of a woman in her 90s at Liverpool Hospital in Sydney's south-west; there are now 11 fatalities across the state linked to the latest outbreak of the Delta variant.

Five million residents in Greater Sydney - including the Central Coast, the Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour - have spent nearly five weeks under strict home orders in a desperate attempt to slow the rate of transmission in the city.

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The new extension will expire on Saturday, August 28 at 12.01am.

Ms Berejiklian on Wednesday announced she was also ring-fencing three more local government areas - Parramatta, Campbelltown and Georges River - from 11.59pm on Wednesday night in an attempt to contain the virus' spread.

Only essential workers who have a valid exemption will be allowed to leave those LGAs for work. More than two million Sydneysiders living across 94 suburbs in eight government areas are now subject to the tightened travel restrictions.

The state leader said an extended lockdown was the 'obvious' solution given the number of community cases was still increasing.

'It was fairly obvious, given the way the numbers were going in the last few days, it would have not been possible for us to get out of lockdown tomorrow or Friday,' she said.

All Greater Sydneysiders have meanwhile been told they can now only travel 10km for essential shopping if what they need to buy is available locally.

Construction sites will be allowed to re-open with enhanced Covid-safe protocols from July 31 after a two-week shutdown.

From August 16, Year 12 students will return to face-to-face learning and those going into the classroom will use rapid antigen testing to monitor for coronavirus transmission.

ALL THE CHANGES TO GREATER SYDNEY'S LOCKDOWN RESTRICTIONS

From 11.59pm on Wednesday July 28:

Greater Sydney residents including the Central Coast, the Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour must limit essential shopping trips to within 10km of their homes.

Non-essential workers living in the Parramatta, Campbelltown and Georges River LGAs cannot leave their area for work.

The same rules already applied for residents in Fairfield, Cumberland, Canterbury-Bankstown, Liverpool and Blacktown.

Essential workers leaving Canterbury-Bankstown will need to be tested every three days.

In Fairfield and Cumberland, only aged care and healthcare workers must be tested every three days.

From 12.01am on Saturday, July 31:

Construction sites can reopen outside the eight LGAs under tighter restrictions.

A singles bubble will be opened - allowing couples to visit each other's homes.

Tradesmen can resume work as long as they do not come into contact with residents. That work will also be banned in the eight LGAs of concern.

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