Federal and NSW COVID-19 relief for business and workers

Roelof van der Merwe

With NSW in its fourth week of lockdown, the NSW Government has announced a $5.1 billion business support package. Coinciding with this, the Federal Government will also spend $500 million a week on business and income support while Greater Sydney is in lockdown.

NSW Fighting fund to protect businesses and save jobs during lockdown

The $5.1 billion package announced by the NSW Government on 13 July 2021 will be made up of:

  • Grants between $7,500 and $15,000 will be available for eligible businesses with Australian wages below $10 million to cover the first three weeks of the restrictions.
  • Up to $2 billion of cashflow support to help businesses to retain staff.
  • Payroll tax waivers of 25 percent for businesses with Australian wages of between $1.2 million and $10 million that have experienced a 30 percent decline in turnover, as well as payroll tax deferrals and interest free repayment plans.
  • A new grants program for micro businesses with a turnover of between $30,000 and $75,000 that experience a decline in turnover of 30 percent. The businesses will be eligible for a $1,500 payment per fortnight of restrictions.
  • A capped grant of up to $1,500 for residential landlords, who are not liable to pay land tax and reduce rent for tenants, estimated at $210 million.
  • Land tax relief equal to the value of rent reductions provided by commercial, retail and residential landlords to financially distressed tenants, and up to 100 per cent of the 2021 land tax year liability.
  • A short-term eviction moratorium for rental arrears where a residential tenant suffers loss of income of 25 percent due to COVID-19 and meets a range of criteria.
  • No recovery of security bonds, or lockouts or evictions of impacted retail and commercial tenants prior to mediation.
  • Deferral of gaming tax assessments for clubs until 21 December 2021 and hotels until 21 January 2022.
  • A $75 million support package for the performing arts sector to be administered by Create NSW.
  • A support package for the accommodation sector worth $26 million.
  • $12 million in additional funding for temporary accommodation for those at risk of or experiencing homelessness.
  • $5.1 million in NSW funding to support mental health.

In addition to the package announced by the NSW Government, the Federal Government will provide $500 million a week on business and income support for impacted workers and businesses.

COVID-19 Disaster Payment for new local government areas (LGAs)

The first Disaster Payment for NSW is available to eligible workers that reside and work in a NSW COVID-19 hotspot that could not attend work for more than seven days because of COVID-19 restrictions. Eligible workers can claim:

  • $500 if they’ve lost 20 hours or more of work.
  • $325 if they’ve lost less than 20 hours of work.

These claims can be made:

  • From 1 July 2021 - for workers locked in the seven LGAs of Bayside, City of Sydney, Canada Bay, Inner West, Randwick, Waverley; and Woollahra.
  • From 4 July 2021 - for workers locked down in the rest of Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Wollongong.

However, such claims will only be allowed if the eligible worker has less than $10,000 in liquid assets.

Additional COVID-19 Disaster Payments

The second lockdown payments for NSW are available to eligible workers in certain areas of NSW that were not able to work for more than 14 days due to being locked down. These workers can claim a second COVID-19 disaster payment even if they have more than $10,000 in liquid assets.

These claims can be made online through myGov from:

  • 8 July 2021 – for workers locked down in the seven LGAs.
  • 11 July 2021 – for workers locked down in the rest of Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Wollongong.

From 15 July 2021, workers from the seven LGAs can claim a third COVID -19 disaster payment. Such claims can also be made by workers from other areas of Australia that visited these exposure sites and could therefore not return home and return to work with the stay at home orders pending.

Expansion of COVID-19 Disaster Payment

The third lockdown payment for NSW will be available from week four of the lockdown. The COVID-19 Disaster Payment will be increased from:

  • $500 to $600 if a person has lost 20 or more hours of work a week.
  • $325 to $375 if a person has lost between eight and less than 20 hours of work a week.

For entities with an annual turnover between $75,000 and $50 million that can demonstrate a 30 percent decline in turnover and maintained their full time, part time and long term casual staffing level as of 13 July 2021, a new business support payment of between $1,500 and $10,000 per week will also be available. For businesses that do not have any employees, the business support payment will be $1,000 per week.

This revamped cash flow boost will also be available for other states and territories in the event they face a lockdown.

If you require assistance claiming these concessions or determining if you are eligible, please speak to your adviser or get in touch with the Crowe Tax Advisory team.