Clarence News & Info

From the Newsroom

MP Chris Gulaptis

Covid disaster payments for workers and businesses

Geoff Helisma|

 

Businesses and employees who are reliant on visitors to the valley are likely apply for a share of the NSW and Australian governments’ support packages, announced last week, as a result of the covid-19 lockdowns in greater Sydney, which commenced on July 1.

Employees who live in “all other areas of NSW” are eligible for a covid-19 disaster payment (commencing July 18, 2021) if they meet the following criteria: “You live or work in any area of New South Wales; you were unable to earn your usual income of 8 hours or more or a full day’s work because of the restricted movement order in parts of Sydney and Greater Sydney; and, you meet the general eligibility rules but don’t meet the live in, work from or visited a Commonwealth-declared hotspot rule.”

On the business side of things, Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis has outlined the process (for businesses) in a media release titled, ‘Billions in new money to shield Clarence and Richmond Valley from covid crisis’, in which he says “small business operators, landlords, tenants and even performing artists can all breathe a little easier following the announcement of billions of dollars of new covid-busting help”.

“What the Nationals have been able to achieve is to ensure regional New South Wales has the same entitlement to assistance as Sydney, even though we are not – and hopefully will not need to be – in lockdown,” he said.

“For small businesses, start by registering your business at service.nsw.gov.au or calling 13 77 88 – by giving Service NSW your details, you will be the first to know what support you can get and when you can get it,” Mr Gulaptis said.

Mr Gulaptis said people (employees) could apply for the covid disaster payment from Services Australia, by visiting servicesaustralia.gov.au or calling 180 22 66.

Meanwhile, the Independent caught up with a few businesspeople, some of whom were not in a position to comment, given the initiative only started on Sunday.

Yamba Chamber of Commerce president, James Allan, said, however, “that everything was going along quite smoothly [but] as soon as the the lockdown actually started and the whole of Sydney situation unfolded, which was just before school holidays, we saw a pretty sharp drop off in trade [here at Caperberry Café]”.

Mr Allan said accommodation providers had told him they had received many cancellations.

One Airbnb operator told the Independent that all of his bookings have been cancelled.

Pacific Hotel proprietor, Jack McIntosh, said there had been a dramatic turn-down in trade, however, he couldn’t specifically comment “for the moment … but we will be trying to get whatever we can for our employees” if their hours are reduced.

Angourie Resort and Blue Dolphin Holiday Resort proprietor, Mark Mitchell, also said he wasn’t yet in a position to properly assess the situation, because he wasn’t across the “detail at the moment”.

He said he had “noticed a turn down from July 13”.

Clarence Valley councillor, Karen Toms, who also manages the Iluka Riverside Tourist Park, said, “We are lucky that we haven’t been too negatively affected at this stage.”

Managers of the Calypso Yamba Holiday Park and Brooms Head Holiday Park, Casey and Adrian Easdown, were unavailable for comment when contacted.

 

The following is a summary of initiatives, as provided by Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis, included in the NSW and Australian governments’ covid-19 stimulus package for businesses.

  • Business grants program, providing eligible small businesses grants between $7,500 and $15,000.
  • Additional scheme to provide cash flow support to businesses with employing businesses receiving fortnightly payments of up to 30% of payroll, to a maximum of $10,000 per week (on the basis that they maintain employee headcount), and non-employing businesses up to $1,000 per week.
  • Payroll tax waivers of 25 per cent for businesses with Australian wages of between $1.2 million and $10 million that have experienced a 30 per cent 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 which experience a decline in turnover of 30 per cent. The businesses will be eligible for a $1500 payment per fortnight of restrictions.
  • Residential and commercial land tax
  • A capped grant of up to $1,500 for residential landlords who are not liable to pay land tax, and who reduce rent for tenants.
  • Land tax relief equal to the value of rent reductions provided by commercial, retail and residential landlords to financially distressed tenants, up to 100 per cent of the 2021 land tax year liability.
  • Residential, retail and commercial tenants
  • Short-term eviction moratorium for rental arrears where a residential tenant suffers loss of income of 25 per cent 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.
  • Other
  • Deferral of gaming tax assessments for clubs until 21 December 2021 and hotels until 21 January 2021.
  • A $75 million support package for the performing arts sector to be administered by Create NSW.
  • A $26 million support package for the accommodation sector.
  • $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.

 

What employees can claim

If you’re eligible, you’ll get $375 for each relevant period if you lost either: between 8 and less than 20 hours of work per week; or, a full day of your usual work hours per week.

If you lost 20 hours or more of work per week, you’ll get $600 for each relevant period.

A full day of your usual work is what you were scheduled to work but could not because of a restricted movement order – this includes not being able to attend a full time, part time or casual shift of less than 8 hours.

The payments are regarded as income, come tax return time.

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