Started by ozbob, March 10, 2020, 01:17:28 AM
QuotePensioners, Newstart recipients and small business owners are expected to be considered for one-off cash payments to help funnel money back into the economy and protect jobs under the Morrison government's multi-billion-dollar response to the coronavirus.Scott Morrison will on Tuesday also call on big business to take on some heavy lifting in an act of "patriotism" by fast-tracking the payment of bills to small business suppliers who are facing a cash-flow crunch.Josh Frydenberg confirmed that the stimulus package, expected to be signed off by the cabinet expenditure review committee on Tuesday, would be substantial, with expectations it could be close to $10bn.The Prime Minister has guaranteed that the package will be targeted and neither a "waste of taxpayers' money" nor an indiscriminate cash splash like the global financial crisis response. It will use the existing payment system to speed up the rollout."Whatever you thought 2020 was going to be about, think again," the Prime Minister will say in a speech to a business summit on Tuesday, a day after the biggest drop in the sharemarket since the GFC."We now have one goal in 2020: to protect the health, wellbeing and livelihoods of Australians through this global crisis, and to ensure that when the recovery comes, and it will, we are well positioned to bounce back strongly on the other side."When the economy bounces back, our budget will also bounce back. The stronger the recovery, the stronger the economy, the stronger the budget. Last year the budget was restored to balance. And now here we are. This is what I was talking about."The Treasurer said the economic impact of the coronavirus was "very significant", but that "facts, not fear, must determine policy". He flagged an announcement on the support package "sooner rather than later".Economists backed Mr Morrison's decision for the government to use the payment system to deliver quick stimulus into the economy. They said the fastest way to refuel the economy was through pensioners and the unemployed who were more likely to spend any cash payments immediately.Deloitte Access Economics partner Chris Richardson said the government should "err on the side of bigger" with its stimulus package, but warned that bipartisan support and speed were essential in restoring confidence. He said the best way to provide assistance to households would be through one-off payments to the 2.5 million Australians on the pension and part-pension, as well as the unemployed."If you are looking for the politically simplest way into the cash splash, there's an obvious opening ... An extra $400 for every pension and part-pensioner in Australia costs $1bn," he said.Mr Richardson warned that the budget was in a good position to accommodate a large stimulus."A healthy budget is a means to an end and right now we want to take that baby for a spin," he said.Mr Morrison will use his speech to argue the government is in a strong position to provide stimulus, having balanced the budget for the first time in more than a decade. But he will say the government will not repeat the mistakes of the Rudd government's response to the GFC by inventing new programs. "We must use existing delivery mechanisms wherever possible," he will say. "We saw the mistakes of trying to rush a range of new programs in the response to the global financial crisis. The measures must be temporary and accompanied by a fiscal exit strategy. They cannot be baked into the bottom line for years to come, keeping the budget under water ... We must not waste taxpayers' resources."NAB chief economist Alan Oster said a package worth less than $10bn would not be enough. "What I'd like the government to do is give cash help to businesses and households," he said.He pointed to measures such as delaying quarterly business activity tax statements or GST payments, and introducing investment allowances. "I'd like them to do a second round of tax cuts and increase the dole," he added.Mr Morrison will single out big business as having a crucial role to play in keeping people in jobs and buttressing the economy."We need you to support your workers, by keeping them employed," he will say. "Hold onto your people, you will need them on the other side. Wherever possible, support them — whether full-time, part-time or casual — including with paid leave if they need to take time off due to the virus. We need you to support your small business suppliers by paying them promptly. Pay your suppliers not just in time, but ahead of time, especially now."How you support your customers, suppliers and employees during the next six months will say more about your company, your corporate values and the integrity of your brand than anything else you could possibly do."Opposition Treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers said the big concern in the business community was that the government's support package would prove too cautious. "We don't want to look back on this period and see that the government has done too little, too late," Mr Chalmers said.He said there was concern that the Prime Minister and Treasurer would be "hemmed in" by past rhetoric on the Rudd stimulus package during the GFC, elements of which, such as $900 handouts to households, the government has dismissed as wasteful.
QuoteAustralian businesses will be pump-primed with an $8 billion cash-splash from the Morrison government in a bid to protect the employers of nearly eight million workers ahead of a looming domestic economic crisis.Prime Minister Scott Morrison will on Thursday unveil a stimulus package expected to reach $15 billion, aimed at keeping more than 700,000 small to medium business nationwide "humming" and more than 120,000 apprentices and trainees in work.The multi-billion boost - the first since the Rudd government's 2009 response to the global financial crisis - will also provide one-off cash bonuses to Australia's 2.5 million pensioners and 680,000 Newstart recipients to stimulate consumption and tax breaks for small businesses to invest in new items such as tools, cars and kitchen equipment.The size of the package means the government's promised budget surplus of $5 billion is gone, with substantial risks to next year's surplus forecast of $6.1 billion likely to hinge on how quickly the global and domestic economy recovers from the coronavirus outbreak.Business leaders have been urged to be responsible citizens by supporting their workforces amid the threat of a recession, with state and territory leaders to meet on Friday to discuss a national response to the crisis.Mr Morrison said Australia was not immune to the global challenge but had already taken steps to prepare for this looming international economic crisis."We've balanced the budget and managed our economy so we can now use this to protect the health, well-being and livelihoods of Australians," Mr Morrison said."Our targeted stimulus package will focus on keeping Australians in jobs and keeping businesses in business so we can bounce back strongly."He said a $6.7 billion investment in 690,000 small and medium businesses would "supercharge" the employers of about 7.8 million Australians, with a cash flow boost to invest and protect jobs.Eligible businesses will be able to claim up to $25,000 against income tax costs of their staff.Mr Morrison said getting young Australians into work and keeping them there was "vital" and a $1.3 billion investment would protect the jobs of around 120,000 apprentice tradies and trainees.As the coronavirus hampers the economy, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has revealed how small businesses employing apprentices will be supported.Taxpayers will fund up to $7,000 a quarter for each apprentice in wage assistance to small businesses to retain existing apprentices and trainees. The subsidy will cover half of apprentices' wages, and is also open to businesses re-employing apprentices and trainees who lose their positions from a small business because of any coronavirus downturn.It will be open to businesses with fewer than 20 full-time employees and employers of any size and Group Training Organisations that re-engage an eligible out-of-trade apprentice or trainee.The instant asset write-off threshold will also be increased from $30,000 to 150,000 and expanded to businesses from an annual turnover from up to $50 million to $500 million.Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the plan aimed to keep businesses in business, support jobs and provide a stimulus to households."In our response, we have been very careful not to repeat the mistakes of previous stimulus programs and not undermine the structural integrity of the budget," he said."By acting decisively this package will put Australia in the strongest possible position to deal with the economic challenges we face and to make sure our economy bounces back even stronger."Economists believe the economy has already contracted through the current March quarter. Most of the measures will hit the economy in the June quarter in a bid to avoid a technical recession.Ratings agency S&P Global said it expected Australia to be in recession by the middle of the year, the weakest position for the economy in 20 years. It said Australia's triple A credit rating was safe at this moment, but this could change."If, however, the virus cannot be contained as we expect or if other unforeseen events emerge within the next few months, then the economic impact could escalate, with more severe credit implications, particularly in relation to Australia's fiscal position and rating," it said.The ASX200, after putting on 3.1 per cent in value on Tuesday, yesterday gave up all of those gains and then some, finishing the day down by 3.6 per cent or $64 billion.Banks were hit particularly hard on concerns profits across the entire financial system will be pressured by falling interest rates and slower economic growth. The Commonwealth Bank lost 5.6 per cent with its share price back to its lowest point since late 2018.
Quoteand a new Medicare item to deliver health advice remotely.
QuoteThe nation's biggest banks will give mortgage-free holidays to customers, in an unprecedented move prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.ANZ boss Shayne Elliott said anyone who asked for help would get it — the bank would not "grill" customers or even ask them for paperwork if they requested repayment relief.ANZ was yesterday the only of the big four lenders to pass on discounts to variable rates to borrowers, following the Reserve Bank of Australia's decision to slash the cash rate for the second time this month to a record low of 0.25 per cent.National Australia Bank, Westpac and Commonwealth will not be delivering any of this cut to variable mortgage customers.ANZ's chief executive officer Shayne Elliott said people are "scared" amid the COVID-19 outbreak and the bank would give home loan repayment holidays to any customers who needed it."If you are worried and are feel a bit anxious call up the bank and ask to get that payment holiday," Mr Elliott said."We are not asking questions, if you are a good customer and have made all your payments in the past we are not going to grill you on household expenses."The big banks have all rolled out support packages for businesses and homeowners in a bid to help the ailing economy that is headed for recession.Among the measures for small businesses included repayment holidays, the pausing of interest charges and cuts to small business loan rates.Some banks are also making available temporary increases to small business overdraft facilities for 12 months.Borrowers who get pauses on their loans will then have repayments and interest charges restart in six months time, however this could change given the economic uncertainty that lies ahead.For instance if you have a six-month repayment holiday and you are five years into a 25-year loan, once the loan repayments restart the borrower has an additional six months added to the end of the loan term to help smooth out payments and interest costs.NAB's chief executive officer Ross McEwan said the relief to small business and home loan customers was critical during an unprecedented time."Businesses in particular need help and they need it now," he said."The changes also offer our home loan customers the option to fix their rate at our lowest rate ever or pause payments to help ease financial pressures."While CBA, Westpac and NAB also confirmed any mortgage customers would be able to pause their repayments for up to six months if needed.ANZ now has the cheapest loan offering on the mortgage market – their two-year fixed loan rate is just 2.19 per cent.The Australian Banking Association's chief executive officer Anna Bligh said borrowers including small businesses would be delivered "a lifeline" after facing devastating impact as the coronavirus pandemic worsens."It will potentially put more than $8 billion back into the pockets of small businesses who are really struggling," she said."It will apply to all loans that are attached to that small business including their mortgage, vehicle loans, business loans etc."Mr Elliott said ANZ had received a tripling of customers in financial need contacting the bank in recent days.The big banks have also increased the rates on some savings accounts to help deposit holders get better returns on their cash in the bank.NAB rolled out a 10-month term deposit with a 1.75 per cent rate attached, while CBA and Westpac have introduced the same rate on a 12-month term deposit.Financial comparison website RateCity's spokeswoman Sally Tindall said "if you're having trouble meeting your mortgage repayments the first thing you should do is pick up the phone and talk to your bank"."We don't know what lies ahead, so now is a great time to get your finances in the best shape possible," she said.Ms Tindall said this included reviewing your loans, savings rates and budget.
QuoteTHE State Government is set to announce a $3 billion worker and business rescue package amid fears the national unemployment rate could soar to 30 per cent.The Courier-Mail can reveal 24,000 businesses will get an average payroll tax refund of $9000 within the week, and households are in line for $200 rebates on their electricity bills as the Government attempts to cushion the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the economy.It follows the forced closures of businesses across the state, including pubs and clubs, gyms, cinemas, entertainment precincts and indoor sporting venues to stop the virus's spread. It impacted 51,000 Queensland jobs yesterday.Treasurer Jackie Trad said the package would pump $2.5 billion into protecting Queensland jobs and businesses to ensure they could survive months of uncertainty and come out the other side."That is focused solely on keeping businesses viable during the shutdown and also supporting workers who are displaced," she said.The mammoth package followed predictions out of the US that their unemployment rate may hit 30 per cent, which is being discussed at the highest levels in Australia.It's understood there are fears Australia's rate could skyrocket to a similar level – a rate experienced here during the Great Depression.Queensland's support package, to be unveiled today, will include an immediate refund to small and medium-sized businesses of their February and March payroll tax, giving them cashflow now.Large businesses particularly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis will also get refunds, with all businesses set to get a six month deferral of payroll tax as well."The Premier and I have been contacted by business owners every day and we've taken on board what they've said," Ms Trad said."For small and medium businesses, we will refund two months' worth payroll tax, putting an average of almost $9000 into the hands of each one of these businesses."We're giving them a three-month payroll tax holiday, saving those businesses an average of $13,360."Combined with the payroll tax deferrals already announced, it means no Queensland business will need to make a payroll tax payment this year.A $500 million fund will be set up to help displaced workers find jobs in fields where there will be demand, like cleaning, fruit picking and other public purpose jobs.Industry assistance packages will also be drawn up and offered to large employers like Sea World and Dreamworld, which have been forced to close.An additional $300 million will be spent on electricity rebates to households, with power and water use set to soar as people are forced to stay indoors and work from home.Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the package was an unprecedented response to an unprecedented crisis.
QuoteAustralians who lose their jobs will be given a wage subsidy to guarantee a share of their income as the coronavirus crisis wipes out hundreds of thousands of jobs, in a government plan to be announced within days.The Morrison government is planning to pay workers as much as 80 per cent of their wages and is examining ways to get employers to transfer the money to their staff, as an alternative to using the welfare system.While Prime Minister Scott Morrison has criticised the way the United Kingdom has offered an 80 per cent wage subsidy in recent weeks, he has not ruled out an alternative subsidy in Australia. ...
QuoteWorkers will be kept in their jobs with fortnightly $1500 government-funded payments in an extraordinary $130 billion bid to keep Australia's economy afloat.Workers will be kept in their jobs with fortnightly $1500 government-funded payments in an extraordinary $130 billion bid to keep Australia's economy afloat.Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the new "JobKeeper" payment would support as many as six million Australians over the next six months.The scheme will provide a flat payment to workers — rather than proportional wage subsidies for people on different incomes.Employers will receive the money from the government to keep paying their staff during the coronavirus crisis, in an effort to ensure workers still have a job once the pandemic has subsided.The cash will flow from May 1, but be backdated to March 30.Businesses must have had a drop in turnover of at least 30 per cent due to coronavirus to qualify for the payments to give their workers.Mr Morrison said the "unprecedented action" was needed in "unprecedented times"."We must work together to make this work and to make it go as far as possible," he said.The Prime Minister said it was likely that whole countries would collapse in the coming months.The announcements follows an initial $17.6 billion economic stimulus boost, and a $66 billion support package which dramatically expanded the welfare safety net and doubled unemployment benefits.Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the minimum $1500 payment would give working Australians the best chance of keeping their job.It is the equivalent of about 70 per cent of the median wage — and about 100 per cent of the median wage in sectors including retail, hospitality and tourism which are most impacted by the crisis.Payments will flow from the first week of May and will be backdated to today.Full-time and part-time workers are eligible for the scheme, along with casual workers who have been with the same employer for more than 12 months.Businesses will be able to apply if their turnover has fallen by at least 30 per cent.
QuoteSTATE Treasurer Jackie Trad says she understands people are "incredibly fearful" that they may not be able to pay their rent and pledged that the government will backdate the eviction moratorium in Queensland to March 29.In a live Q&A streamed on Facebook, Ms Trad said the state government had set up a grant program that offers an emergency rental assistance payment of up to $500 a week, for up to four weeks, for Queenslanders who can not make rent."That is pretty obvious out there in the community that people are incredibly fearful about having an income and being able to make rent, being able to put food on the table, being able to make other sorts of cost-of-living obligations like utility bills," Ms Trad said."We have in fact set up a grants system for those people in the private rental market, so where you've lost your job, you're not going to get any income support from Centrelink until at least the 27th of April."The Queensland government has an assistance program where we will provide you $500 a week to help you with your rent payment and it's a really simple process."The payments can be accessed by calling the Residential Tenancies Authority on 1800 497 161.Ms Trad also acknowledged the state government would be writing the eviction moratorium into law "for tenants who can't make rent because they've lost their job due to coronavirus or the impacts, either directly or indirectly, of coronavirus"."There will be an absolute moratorium, prohibition, written into law around evicting renters because they can't pay their rent and that will be backdated to the day the Prime Minister announced that out of the national cabinet," she said.However, she said the eviction moratorium is for people who have been "genuinely impacted" by a coronavirus."For tenants that do the things that would ordinarily see them evicted - if they significantly damage the property or the owners themselves move in because of financial distress - then that will still occur, this isn't a blanket prohibition," Ms Trad said."But where you have lost your job, your hours have been cut, and where you genuinely can not make your rent, you will not be evicted and we will guarantee that by law and we will also help you make up the shortfall in terms of your rent payments until you start getting some income support, or hopefully get another job."Ms Trad said the government is considering renting out hotels to house the homeless."We are looking at every option, including hotels for those who find themselves homeless," she said."We are looking at absolutely everything, including head leases in hotels or motels to make sure that we can properly look after those who are most vulnerable in our community."
QuoteSCOTT Morrison has declared he wants one million people back to work as businesses are told to reconfigure and restructure their workplaces so they can re-open.The shutdowns suffocating the economy were yesterday laid bare as the Prime Minister warned premiers they would have to justify keeping people out of work if they refused to ease restrictions.About 2.2 per cent of economic activity – or more than 290,000 jobs – have been snuffed out of Queensland alone since clamp downs began in March.Across the nation one million Australians will have accessed Jobseeker (the new dole scheme) and about five million claimed for JobKeeper."I can assure you that the National Cabinet and certainly the Commonwealth Government is under no illusion about the ongoing costs of these (restrictive) measures, and it certainly puts enormous pressure, as it should, on the timetable as we seek to move Australia back to that safe economy because of those significant costs,'' Mr Morrison (pictured) said. National Cabinet will on Friday lay out a three step framework to gradually remove baseline restrictions.The PM will lay down a road map for an "early mark" to easing restrictions, however, he warned each premier had the power to do what they wanted."At the end of the day every premier, every chief minister, has to stand in front of their state and justify the decisions that they're taking in terms of the extent of the restrictions that are in place,'' Mr Morrison said."(There is a) trade-off that they are making between people having jobs and the impact on the containment of the coronavirus."Just having a low number of cases is not success particularly when you have a lot of people out of work."No timetable for reopening cafes, restaurants and tourism outlets – businesses that have been razed the most by strict measures – was provided by National Cabinet yesterday, however, bosses were told to get COVID-safe.Easing restrictions between Australia and New Zealand to allow the flow of trade and tourists between the two nations was discussed in a special meeting of National Cabinet yesterday, which included New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.Ms Ardern said while safety remained "top of mind," she was confident COVID-19 would not spread between the countries.National COVID-19 co-ordination Commissioner Nev Power said before many businesses could re-open they would need to adhere to "four key issues"."The first is reconfiguring and restructuring worksites to make jobs safe in those worksites (and) that is very much a business by business proposition under the guidelines of social distancing and personal hygiene."Secondly, how to respond in the event that there is an incident in a workplace, how people are communicating and how the tracking and tracing is done, and how those people are supported. Then, how do we return worksites to a safe place to work as quickly as we possibly can."Very importantly the communication process of sitting down with employees, making sure everyone understands what is required and what will happen."There are businesses, especially in hospitality, and restaurants and pubs, and tourism, that are still impacted by the restrictions ... we are focusing on (those) at the moment."So, my message to business is very, very simple. Continue to work with your employees to find ways of configuring your business so you are able to introduce the restrictions on social distancing and hygiene into your normal business activities."He said the National COVID-19 co-ordination Commission was working with businesses to ensure they could secure the capital needed. However he said he did not want business having to repeatedly open and shut because of outbreaks.Meantime, Qantas will start a weekly flight from Queensland on Thursday to Hong Kong to get seafood, mostly lobster to Asia.Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said the freight flights would be a major step in getting Queensland's agricultural and seafood exports back on track."We recognise the current COVID-19 crisis has placed immense pressure on local agricultural and seafood exporters, many of whom felt the earliest impacts when overseas demand began to dry up in January," Senator Birmingham said."With demand returning, it's absolutely critical local farmers and fishers are able to get their quality product off the farm and out of the water, and onto planes headed for key export markets such as Hong Kong."
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