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Lock-downs: What help is available

The highly infectious Delta COVID variant is triggering lock-downs across the country. We look at what help is available and how you can get it.


For you

COVID-19 disaster payment

The COVID-19 disaster payment is available to eligible workers who can’t attend work or who have lost income because of a lockdown and don’t have access to appropriate paid leave entitlements. And, it only applies from the eighth day of lockdown. That is, there is nothing you can claim for the first week of a lockdown.


The payment amount depends on how many hours of work you have lost in the lockdown period (week).


Hours lost

<20 hours = $325

20+ hours = $500


Applications for the disaster payment need to be made weekly.


The payment is available if you are not earning an income or have lost work and you:


· Are an Australian citizen, permanent resident or temporary visa holder who has the right to work in Australia, and

· Are aged 17 years or over, and

· Can’t attend work and lost income on or after day 8 of a COVID-19 lockdown, and

· Don’t have access to appropriate paid leave entitlements through your employer (other than annual leave), and

· Are not getting an income support payment, a state or territory pandemic payment, Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment or state small business payment for the same period.


Until recently, a liquid assets test applied that meant that if you had more than $10,000, you could not receive the payment. However, the Prime Minster has stated that this test will be lifted from Thursday, 8 July 2021.


During Victoria’s lockdown, 75,410 claims were made for the disaster payment, 57,730 were granted. In NSW, over 67,000 residents have applied for the payment to date.


The disaster payment is only accessible if the hotspot triggering the lockdown lasts more than 7 days as declared by the Chief Medical Officer (you can find the listing here).

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment

The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment of $1,500 for each 14 day period is for those who have been advised by the health authorities to self-isolate or quarantine because:


· You have coronavirus (COVID-19)

· You’ve been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19

· You care for a child, 16 years or under, who has COVID-19

· You care for a child, 16 years or under, who’s been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19.


The payment might also be accessible if you are a carer for someone impacted.


Eligibility for this disaster payment is very similar except that you need to use any appropriate leave entitlements if it is available to you (for example, pandemic sick leave, personal leave or carer leave).


Support for business

New South Wales

The NSW Government has announced new grants of up to $10,000 for businesses adversely impacted by the recent COVID-19 lockdowns. Eligibility for the grant is streamed into general business, and hospitality and tourism.


The value of the grant is determined by the impact of the lockdown on your turnover. Your business will need to prove a decline in turnover across a minimum 2 week period after the commencement of the major restrictions.


Turnover Decline | Grant

70%+ = $10,000

50% to <70% = $7,000

30% to <50% = $5,000


The grant is limited to businesses (including sole traders) with:

· A NSW registered ABN or able to demonstrate they are physically located and primarily operating in NSW; and

· Annual turnover of more than $75,000 for the year ending 30 June 2020; but

· Below the NSW Government 2020-21 payroll tax threshold of $1.2m as at 1 July 2020; with

· Fewer than 20 full time equivalent employees


The Hospitality & Tourism COVID-19 Support grant is limited to tourism or hospitality businesses with:

· A NSW registered ABN or able to demonstrate they are physically located and primarily operating in NSW; and

· Annual turnover of more than $75,000 for the year ending 30 June 2020; and

· An annual Australian wages bill below $10m as at 1 July 2020.


Applications for the grant open in late July.

Northern Territory

The Territory Business Lockdown Payment Program provides a payment of $1,000 to eligible Territory enterprises with less than 20 full time equivalent staff. Applications close on 16 July 2021.

Queensland

A Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grant of between $2,000 and $10,000 is available to eligible regional Queensland businesses. The grant requires your business to have suffered a decline in turnover of at least 30% because of COVID-19 for at least one month since 23 March 2020. The grant is accessible to businesses with less than 20 staff.

Victoria

Grants and other business support programs are available targeting specific industries such as live events, hospitality, and the employment of priority jobseekers. See Business Victoria.

Western Australia

A second round of Small Business Lockdown Assistance Grants of $3,000 are available to eligible businesses in Perth, Peel and regional WA impacted by recent lockdowns. Applications are not yet open but you can register for updates. Specific industry assistance is also available.


Direct grants and funding to South Australian and ACT businesses are applicable when extended lock-downs are imposed.

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