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Second COVID-19 stimulus package welcomed by business

Release Date: 23/03/2020
The Hunter Business Chamber has welcomed today’s $66 billion coronavirus economic stimulus package, saying the business measures will help some businesses to continue trading and supporting their staff through the crisis.
The package, announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, includes:
  • Extending cash payments available to SMEs through PAYG subsidy to $100,000;
  • An effective doubling of the JobSeeker payment to $1,100 a fortnight, with the waiting period and asset test to be abolished and eligibility to be extended to sole traders;
  • Doubling of the stimulus payment for those on income support to $1,500;
  • Access to up to $10,000 of superannuation funds this year and $10,000 next year;
  • Government guarantees on loans for SMEs of up to $250,000 over three years, with no payments required for six months;
  • Relaxing of insolvency and bankruptcy regulations to allow businesses to temporarily trade while insolvent.
Chamber CEO Bob Hawes said the package would provide much-needed relief and breathing space to many businesses feeling the impact of coronavirus.
“The measures provide some comfort during these challenging times when business owners are thinking primarily about their capacity to pay their staff, their rent and their existing suppliers,” Mr Hawes said.
“They directly address some concerns expressed to us by our members over the past week, including non-employing businesses that find themselves out of work.
“We also welcome the further protections for those who have or may lose their jobs, as well as sole traders, through the doubling of the Jobseeker payment with instant availability to benefits.
“No employer wants to have to let staff go but if it becomes unavoidable those employees will at least have access to significantly more substantial benefits.
“This package contains important safety net measures but it is also about preparing businesses for the recovery when it eventually comes – being in a position to resume as close to normal business operations as quickly as possible.
“The packages announced so far, which amount to 10 per cent of national GDP, reinforce the importance of keeping businesses open and people in work.”
Mr Hawes said the stripping of red tape to make a number of the measures automatic would help provide immediate relief to employers and employees.
“Where other circumstances apply, we will continue to seek guidance from government on how businesses can access that support as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“The package reinforces the call from Business NSW that business owners need to be supplied with a voucher to receive proper financial advice during this time – otherwise they could be making critical financial decisions without careful, considered advice.”

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