Australia Melbourne businesses to get payment with lockdown set to be extended
COVID-19 Business Support Grant payments to be paid 'within days' as traders grapple with ACT lockdown extension
Canberra businesses grappling with the lockdown extension can expect support grant payments to hit their bank accounts within days as the ACT Government brings in extra forces to process almost 4000 applications.On Monday the ACT government announced a doubling of the support grants available to businesses as it extended the lockdown for two weeks.
Help is on the way forbusinesses crippled by the latest Covid-19 , which is set to be extended into a third week.
Victoria's renewed outbreak, which prompted a sixth lockdown last week, added another 21 cases on Thursday including four mystery infections.
More than 100,000 businesses will benefit from a $367 million support package jointly funded by the Victorian and federal governments, including $10,000 one-off payments for those not eligible for support from existing programs.
By next Thursday, Melburnians will have spent 200 days holed up at home, after a disastrous 116-day lockdown last year.
Minister apologises as 60,000 NSW businesses await lockdown payments
Thousands of NSW businesses are yet to receive their pledged financial assistance during the lockdown — and some say they are at crisis point."Most of our visitors would be from the Greater Sydney area so we probably had an 80 per cent drop-off in revenue straight away," Mr Burton said.
Health officials are already in discussions about yet another extension, just hours after Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Wednesday the city would remain lockdown for another week.
Premier Andrews was a no show for the second time in three days at Thursday's briefing, leaving jobs minister Martin Pakula and COVID-19 commander Jeroen Weimar to face the media.
The $367 million to support more than 100,000 Melbourne businesses impacted by the second week of the latest lockdown which was extended on Wednesday.
The funding will add $271 million to the existing business assistance program and includes a special hospitality and venue fund.
'We have put $1.4 billion plus into bank accounts since the May-June lockdown commenced, so that is the benefit of the automatic payment process that we are undertaking for the vast majority of businesses that are receiving our support,' Mr Pakula said.
Melbourne marks 200 days of COVID-19 lockdowns since the pandemic began
Thursday night marked an unpleasant milestone for Melburnians — the 200th day lived under lockdown restrictions. Here's how our six (and counting) lockdowns have played out.For many of us, the sequence of those days is just a fuzzy memory, smudged into the 17-month pandemic rollercoaster we've endured.
'So that is the benefit of the automatic payment process that we are undertaking for the vast majority of businesses that are receiving our support.
'There are three key elements of the package, two of which involve automatic payments and the third a further boost to the hardship fund which I'm pleased to say will open today.'
The funding package includes $271 million for a business costs assistance program which will give $2800 grants to more than 95,000 businesses and a $55 million top up for the hospitality venue fund.
The remaining $41million will towards a new Small Business COVID Hardship Fund, which will provide $10,000 one-off payments to businesses aren't eligible for existing programs.
Almost 100,000 small and medium businesses, including sole traders will receive $2800 automatic payments.
That's expected to cover gyms, cafes, restaurants, caterers, hairdressers, dance and swim schools, tourism and event businesses, at a total cost of $266 million.
Sydney's COVID lockdown is 'bloody tough' for businesses and workers. Will the latest grants ease the pain?
As millions of people in lockdown wake up to another day of restrictions around Greater Sydney, some are feeling a little bit less stressed as COVID crisis payments increase and business support ramps up. However, not everybody is able to access this help.On Tuesday, the NSW and federal governments announced a range of measures to help workers and business owners as the Greater Sydney lockdown reaches almost three weeks.The state is bringing in a new grant for very small businesses with turnover between $30,000 and $75,000.
Automatic payments of $5000 to $20,000 will be made to almost 9000 licensed venues eligible for funding during lockdowns earlier in 2021.
Mr Pakula acknowledged it was 'painful and difficult' for venues to cancel bookings due to the sudden restrictions.
'These lockdowns are very hard, they are very upsetting.... very hard for people to cope with,' he said.
Video: Melbourne lockdown likely to be extended (Sky News Australia)
Earlier, Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said Melbourne is in a hard place with businesses tired of being fed false hope.
'The cold hard reality hit in Melbourne that there is no such thing as short sharp lockdown,' Mr Willox told the Today show on Thursday.
'We just roll into longer lockdowns every time. Every lockdown is going to be about three weeks at the minimum.'
'Melbourne and Victoria is now facing just continual yo-yos of lockdown. That's playing havoc with planning, with investment and it's really start to sap what confidence that was there.
Of the 21 new cases announced on Thursday, 17 have were linked to the outbreak with four still under investigation and 15 in quarantine throughout their infectious periods.
Dan Andrews UNLEASHES at Morrison's $1.5billion package for Sydney
A $1.5billion-a fortnight relief package for Sydney prompted a scathing reply from Dan Andrews who claimed Victorians were 'sick and tired' of having to beg the federal government for support. But the government hit back saying Victoria received the same support for its most recent two week lockdown as NSW has had for the last fortnight, with the new policy also available to any state who experiences restrictions from now on.'Everyone in Australia believes that people in Sydney and NSW deserve every possible support as they battle a second wave and a long lockdown,' Mr Andrews said in a statement.
Ten of Thursday's cases associated with the Al-Taqwa College, all were in isolation for the duration of their infectious period.
Another two cases were acquired interstate, two women who flew into Melbourne from Covid-ravaged Sydney on Monday who didn't have the correct permit and can expect to be fined.
'This is the risk of interstate travel at this point in time,' Mr Weimar said.
'This is why we are putting such significant barriers in place to limit all unnecessary travel between our states at this most critical time.'
'The consequences of these two positive cases not having been stopped, being positive in the community and then spreading through Melbourne and Victoria, you know, we do not need to more incursions of this type.'
Around 45,408 tests and 25,418 vaccine doses were administered in Victoria on Wednesday.
There's already speculation the latest lockdown will be extended into a third week.
An expert close to the Victorian government said 'everything would have to work out perfectly' for lockdown to not be extended once again,reported.
Melbourne's sixth lockdown in 18 months was scheduled to end 8pm Thursday, but has now been extended until 11.59pm on August 19.
Regional Victoria was lifted was lockdown earlier this cases after no cases from the latest outbreak.
Extra financial support announced for workers and businesses hit by lockdowns
Workers impacted by the extended lockdown in NSW are set to receive extra financial support from next week, Scott Morrison has announced. Mr Morrison has announced an increase in the COVID-19 Disaster Payment if a lockdown goes into a fourth week and a new business support package.Currently, the disaster payment rates are $325 if you have lost less than 20 hours of work a week, and $500 if you have lost more than 20 hours a week.
Melbourne epidemiologist Professor Nancy Baxter said it was 'unlikely' a seven-day extension would be enough.
'Those 14 cases in isolation gave them a ray of hope, but I still think everything would need to be perfect to come out in a week,' she told the Herald Sun.
'There's not a zero chance that we could get out on time, but there are a number of things that concern me, and we know that you don't have a margin of error with Delta.'
Mr Andrews fears the city would see a huge spike in cases similar to the current outbreak in Sydney if stay-at-home orders were lifted this week.
'This is very challenging, I know, for every single Victorian who would like to be going about their business, they would like to be open and have a degree of freedom that is simply not possible because of this Delta variant,' he told reporters on Wednesday.
'If we were to open, we would see cases akin to what's happening sadly Sydney right now.'
Fifteen of the Wednesday's cases have been linked to current outbreaks while five are still being investigated as the state's exposure list site grew to more than 350 venues and transport routes.
These mystery cases are cause for concern, the Premier warned.
'I would love to be standing here announcing that we are coming out of lockdown this Thursday that but that is simply not possible,' Mr Andrews said.
'There are too many cases...the origins of which are not clear to us, too many unanswered questions, too many mysteries for us to safely come out of lockdown now.'
He continued: 'It is more than containing cases, to have 14 of those 20 locked away in iso, no risk to public health, as I said earlier in the week, that trend would grow.
'We started with one case, then we moved to four or five, now we're at 14.'
Families who have lost work could be in for 'windfall' .
Families could be in for a windfall, thanks to an announcement by the Prime Minister on COVID-19 disaster payments, but the government can't say how much it will cost.Families could be in for a windfall, thanks to an announcement by the Prime Minister on COVID-19 disaster payments, but the government can't say how much it will cost.