An initial $1 billion will be injected into regional communities to support businesses, agriculture and tourism impacted by the ongoing spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) as part of the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government’s response to the crisis.
Today the Commonwealth Government announced an extra $66.1 billion in stimulus measures which brings the total economic support package to $189 billion in assistance.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said many small and medium businesses are the core of regional communities.
“The $1 billion will support regions, communities and industry sectors which have been disproportionately affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19 such as tourism, agriculture and education,” Mr McCormack said.
“Agriculture is the lifeblood of this nation and it is already on its knees following a prolonged drought, bushfires and floods.
“Similarly, many rural, remote and regional communities rely on tourism to support their local economy and in these extreme circumstances, this crisis could cripple them.
“Our funding will ensure we provide the right support so industries and businesses keep going and employees can keep their jobs which includes the more than 3 million small and medium businesses as well as casuals, sole traders, retirees and those on income support.”
The economic stimulus package also supports $14.1 billion over the forward estimates for those doing it tough across Australia under a new income support payment, Coronavirus supplement, to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight.
This payment will be eligible to both existing and new recipients of the JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance JobSeeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit and will be paid on top of existing payment each fortnight.
In addition to the $750 stimulus payment already announced, the Federal Government will provide a further $750 payment to social security and veteran income support recipients and eligible concession cardholders, except those who are receiving an income support payment that is eligible to receive the Coronavirus supplement.
“These measures are part of the Government’s plan to help prevent people from losing their jobs and keep businesses operation,” Mr McCormack said.
“Whilst, there are still few confirmed cases in regional Australia, we all have a role to play in slowing the spread of this virus including heeding the advice from health authorities, practising good hygiene, social distancing and self-isolation where appropriate.
“Australia is a resilient nation, no more so than in regional areas, where many are still feeling the effects of drought, bushfires and floods and this will have a further impact on their recovery but we will get through the other side of this crisis.”
Further information about these measures can be found at www.australia.gov.au