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Australian government coronavirus stimulus packages

The government has announced more than $150 billion worth of stimulus packages to support Australian workers, jobseekers, families and businesses.

warningWe’re working hard to provide the latest information on government announcements, stimulus packages and support for Australians across the country. However, the situation is developing constantly, so always check your local state’s government website for more details.

National stimulus package details

The government announced a $17.6 billion coronavirus stimulus package which will see pensioners, benefit recipients, apprentices and small businesses benefit from cash handouts and tax relief. Here's a breakdown of what it means for you.

Update 22 March 2020: The prime minister has announced a second-stage $66 billion stimulus package. The details of which are covered below.

Update 29 March 2020: The government has announced a separate $1.1 billion stimulus package to support Medicare, mental health, domestic violence services and services supporting vulnerable people. The government has also placed a 6-month moratorium on evictions for commercial and residential tenancies to help people who are unable to meet their rental commitments due to the impact of coronavirus.

Update 30 March 2020: The government has announced a $130 billion wage subsidy package to support businesses and employees. Businesses may be eligible to receive up to $1,500 per employee on a fortnightly basis. This would then be passed on in full to eligible workers.

Update 2 April 2020: The government announced a plan to offer families fee-free childcare, with financial support provided to early childhood education and care services across the country. The funding applied from 6 April 2020 and was based on the number of children who were in care for the fortnight leading into 2 March 2020. At this stage, the value of the plan has not been announced.

All up, the government has announced more than $150 billion worth of stimulus packages to support Australian workers and businesses.

Welfare recipients

Australians receiving eligible benefit payments will receive a $750 cash payment from the government. This includes Australians receiving Newstart, Family Tax Benefit, a pension or social security payment as well as veterans and those with concession cards. The payment will be applied automatically to those eligible from 31 March 2020, with the majority of payments sent out by mid-April.

A second stimulus package announced some welfare recipients will also receive another $750 payment on 13 July 2020. Also, the JobSeeker Payment will be increased by a temporary Coronavirus Supplement of $550 a fortnight. The payment will be available to sole traders and casual workers, provided they meet income tests.

Small and medium-sized businesses

Businesses that have been negatively impacted by coronavirus may be eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment subsidy from the government to cover employee wages and assist in keeping workers in their jobs. A fortnightly payment of $1,500 per employee will be paid for up to 6 months. Self-employed workers may also be eligible for the payment.

The government will also increase the instant asset write-off to allow businesses with an annual turnover up to $500 million (up from $50 million) to claim instant deductions on items worth up to $150,000 (up from $30,000). This will allow more businesses to benefit from the scheme, and also enable businesses to spend and claim on more items of a higher value (e.g. equipment, tools, furniture, etc). The extended instant asset write-off will be in place until 30 June 2020.

Almost 700,000 Australian businesses will also be eligible for a one-off grant between $2,000 and $25,000. Eligible businesses will be those with an annual turnover of up to $50 million which pay staff. These businesses will be eligible to receive grants of up to 50 per cent of their Business Activity Statement or Instalment Activity Statement, up to the value of $25,000. The payment will be tax free. If the business doesn't withhold tax on staff wages, they'll still be eligible for a cash payment of at least $2,000. These grants will be applied automatically to eligible businesses based on the Business Activity Statements submitted in April.

In further measures announced in the second government stimulus package, small businesses will receive cash payments up to $100,000. The government are also guaranteeing unsecured small business loans up to $250,000.

Tradespeople and apprentices

If you're a self-employed tradesperson, you might be eligible to receive a fortnightly payment of $1,500 under the JobKeeper Payment package if your work has been impacted.

The government will help pay the wages of Australian apprentices, in a bid to keep young people in a job. As part of the package, $1.3 billion will be sent to businesses with less than 20 staff to help subsidise apprentice wages. Employers can apply for this wage subsidy, and if eligible, the government will pay up to 50% of their apprentice's or trainee's wages for up to 9 months. This will help both small businesses remain open and operating, while also keep young people working.

Access to superannuation

The Government will allow people to access up to $10,000 from their superannuation from 20 April until 1 July 2020, with a further withdrawal of $10,000 being available from 1 July until 24 September 2020. There will be no tax charged on the money they access and it will not affect Centrelink payments.

There will also be a temporary 50% reduction in superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions in 2019-20 and 2020-21.

These government stimulus packages are primarily designed to boost construction, give businesses tax relief and help support at-risk businesses in the hospitality and tourism sector. If you're a casual work, read our guide on how to get help if you need to take sick leave or lose your job. If you're concerned about the possibility of being made redundant, read our guide on how to prepare for unemployment.

Find financial help during COVID-19

Current advice and restrictions

On 23 March 2020, the federal government announced the closure of several non essential services. This includes:

  • Pubs and clubs (excluding attached bottle shops), plus hotels (excluding accommodation)
  • Gyms and indoor sporting venues
  • Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos and nightclubs
  • Restaurants and cafes are restricted to takeaway and/or delivery only
  • Religious gatherings, places of worship and funerals in enclosed spaces

From midnight 25 March, 2020, the restrictions were upgraded to include the following:

  • Food courts inside shopping centres (takeaway permitted)
  • Auction houses, real estate auctions and open house inspections
  • Hairdressers and barber shops
  • Beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons, tattoo parlours
  • Spas and massage parlours
  • Community and recreation centres (unless hosting essential or voluntary public services such as food banks)
  • Health clubs, fitness centres, yoga, barre and spin facilities, saunas, bathhouses and wellness centres
  • Boot camps, personal training operating outside and inside (outside events are limited to groups of no more than 10 people)
  • Galleries, museums, national institutions, historic sites, community facilities
  • Weddings are restricted to couples, the celebrant and witnesses (no more than five people)
  • Funerals have been restricted to no more than 10 people

From midnight 31 March 2020, restrictions were upgraded to include the following:

  • Indoor and outdoor gatherings are limited to 2 people. Exceptions include people living in the same household, family units, weddings (maximum 5 people) and funerals (maximum 10 people)
  • Playgrounds, skate parks and outside gyms are closed
  • Fitness bootcamps are limited to 2 people (including the instructor)
  • People are advised to stay indoors unless they are exercising, shopping for essentials, going to a medical appointment or going to work

Essential services are to remain open. These services include supermarkets, petrol stations, pharmacies, convenience stores, freight and logistics and home delivery services.

Update 3 April: The government has also included church and other places of worship in the essential workers definition, however this only includes those roles necessary to facilitate the religious service or celebration (e.g. priests). You are still not allowed to attend a religious service in person, these new guidelines are only for those roles that are essential to run the service.

Travel restrictions

The federal government has imposed a mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine for Australians who are returning from overseas, starting from 29 March 2020. Regardless of your place of residence, travellers will need to be self isolated in an appointed hotel at wherever their first port of landing is.

The federal government has increased travel warnings, with a "do not travel" ban in place from 25 March 2020 and all Australians advised to cancel travel plans or return to Australia as soon as possible. There are some exceptions for people who normally live overseas, as well as for travel based on national interests, humanitarian or compassionate grounds.

The prime minister has suggested that all Australians rethink domestic travel as well. Currently, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory have locked down borders, adding further restrictions to travel in Australia. If you do travel to these states for any reason, you will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Update 3 April: The government has told Australians not to travel over the Easter long weekend, even if it's within your own state. The government had strongly advised that this Easter is one to stay home and celebrate in your home.

School closures

On 22 March, Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated that schools in Australia should remain open. However, decisions about education in Australia are made by state and territory governments. Some states like Victoria have brought forward their term holidays to give teachers time to prepare for distance schooling. You can find out more about school closures in specific states in our state guides listed above.

How to get help if you feel unwell

In these new and uncertain times, it can be daunting knowing where to get help. If you feel unwell there are different options to get support depending on your circumstances.

COVID-19 testing

If you come down with cold or flu-like symptoms and have recently returned from overseas or have been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, you should contact your GP or call the HealthDirect's dedicated coronavirus hotline on 1800 022 222.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Coughing, sore throat or fatigue
  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing

Are you unsure about your symptoms? Visit healthdirect's symptom checker for more information.

Testing samples can be taken directly by your doctor, or at a range of private pathology sites and public hospitals.

Mental health

These are uncertain times, and it's normal to feel apprehensive or scared. But if COVID-19 is impacting your mental health, you don't have to go through it alone. If you're anxious about being in isolation or have concerns for a loved one, contact one of the services below or speak to your GP.

  • Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14

A crisis support service that provides short-term support at any time for people who are having difficulty coping or staying safe.

  • Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800

A free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25 years.

  • Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636

Provides free support and information for mental health and wellbeing. As well as a phone service, there is an online chat option, forums and other resources on the website – including a dedicated page on how to look after your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic.

If you are in an emergency

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger call 000 to get help from emergency services as soon as possible.


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22 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    LindaApril 29, 2020

    Good morning! Have the pensioners been paid the $750? I’m asking as my mother’s 88 years of age and to date has not received the payment. Thanking you in advance.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaApril 30, 2020Staff

      Hi Linda,
      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      I have read your message and I’m sorry to hear about your mother who has not yet received the $750 payment yet.

      Regarding your question, Linda, please check this page first to know if your mother is eligible. On that page, it lists the welfare programs that are included in the coronavirus supplement package.

      If after reviewing that page and you have confirmed your mother should be eligible, then there might be some delay in processing your mother’s payment. That could be the reason your mother has not received her payment. There are also a lot of people who claim that they haven’t received their payment.

      However, Service Australia assured everyone who lodged an application for these services prior to April 13 that the money will still come – as long as their claim is approved.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  2. Default Gravatar
    derrickApril 28, 2020

    I have yet received the government stimulus payment of $750 as of 28/04/20. Does this mean I am no entitled?

    • Default Gravatar
      RestyApril 30, 2020

      Hi Derrick,

      Thanks for reaching out to Finder.

      I am sorry to hear that you did not receive the $750 Economic Stimulus Payment yet.

      May I know if you are referring to the 1st payment? If yes, ideally, it should have been sent to you if you’re eligible to receive it based on the certain welfare payments outlined on this government page.

      If you’re eligible but you have not received it yet, it is possible that there is a delay in processing it. Nevertheless, you may contact Service Australia via phone, mail, or through their social media accounts. Please note that they are experiencing high call volume and long wait times.

      Note that for the 2nd Economic Support Payment, it will be paid on 10 July 2020. But unlike the first payment, this will not include the welfare recipients listed on the same government page.

      I hope this helps. Stay safe.

      All the best,
      Resty

  3. Default Gravatar
    PaulineApril 28, 2020

    Hello, if my son receives an Austudy study, is he eligible for the additional supplement?

    • Default Gravatar
      RestyApril 30, 2020

      Hi Katie,

      Thanks for reaching out to Finder.

      If he is receiving any of the 3 Centrelink payments – Youth Allowance for students and apprentices, Austudy for students and apprentices, or ABSTUDY for students getting Living Allowance, he is eligible for the additional $550 Coronavirus Supplement. Services Australia will pay it automatically for up to 6 months from 27 April 2020 as part of the usual payment.

      I hope this helps. Stay safe.

      Best regards,
      Resty

  4. Default Gravatar
    MarcApril 27, 2020

    I received my jobseeker payment today, 27th of April, but I did not receive the stimulus $550 payment. Should it had been in with my payment?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezApril 28, 2020Staff

      Hi Marc,

      Thank you for reaching out to us here at Finder.

      Sorry to hear that you did not receive the coronavirus stimulus payment yet. Upon checking, the stimulus payment amount is $750 which is a one-off payment to pensioners, social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. The $550 amount is the coronavirus supplement, which is an additional top-up payment for people on welfare.

      According to Services Australia, they’ll pay the coronavirus supplement to you automatically for up to 6 months from 27 April 2020 as part of your usual payment. Hence, yes, you should receive $550 supplement along with your existing payments, bringing the total to $1,100.

      If you did not receive this, I suggest checking your details by logging in to your MyGov or Centrelink accounts. Please also call them on 132 850 or check the Contact Us page of Centrelink.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  5. Default Gravatar
    KarenApril 26, 2020

    I’m a disabled pensioners and my son gets carers allowance I heard all welfare recipients get a bonus of $550 per fortnight for six months starting the 27th April is that true

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoyceApril 27, 2020Staff

      Hi Karen,

      I hope all is well with you.

      The government is providing JobSeeker Payments available to Australian citizens and residents aged between 22 and 66 if you meet any of the following criteria:

      -A permanent employee who has been stood down or lost their job
      -A sole trader, self-employed, a casual or contract worker whose income has reduced
      -You are caring for someone who’s affected by coronavirus

      Note: Your partner must earn less than $3,068 a fortnight ($79,762/year) for you to be eligible.

      Your son may be eligible to apply for the JobSeeker payment as long as he meets the requirements stated above. On the other hand, since you are receiving disability pension, Services Australia advised that there are no changes to your payment due to the coronavirus. You may get 1 or both Economic Support Payments from late April 2020. They will pay these into your bank account automatically. You may also confirm this by calling Centrelink.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,

      Joyce

  6. Default Gravatar
    GertyApril 24, 2020

    We are a new business that was not trading last year. My wife and I are the sole owner-operators at this stage and left good jobs at the start of the year. We are impacted by COVID-19 but don’t have records of last year. Are we eligible for any support? I appreciate any assistance.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaApril 27, 2020Staff

      Hi Gerty,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder.

      I hope all is well with you, Gerty. I have read your message and I’m sorry to hear about your current situation. I assume you’re asking about the JobKeeper payment.

      Regarding your question, Gerty, since your business just started to operate recently, you may need to start comparing March’s turnover to your previous month’s of operation. If your business suffered a 30% or more downturn in the previous month, then you could be eligible for the JobKeeper payment.

      Please note that it is still unclear, as of the time of this writing, how the ATO would assess businesses that have not been in operation over a year or just starting. So, it is more likely that you have to start comparing your downturn from the previous month.

      If you need to learn more about JobKeeper, its eligibility, how to apply, and other important information, please go here. It should tell you more details about JobKeeper. Since I am not completely familiar with your situation, please go through that page to learn more about your eligibility.

      Moreover, since you might be considered as a sole trader, you can also check this page from the Australian Tax Office (ATO) website. It tells you the eligibility requirements for sole traders and answers to some frequently asked questions.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  7. Default Gravatar
    TerryApril 20, 2020

    I am on the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card and the West Australian Seniors Card, both of which are means tested, yet I have not received the $750.00 stimulus package. Why?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezApril 22, 2020Staff

      Hi Terry,

      Thank you for reaching out to us here at Finder.

      Sorry to hear that you did not receive your stimulus package yet. Upon checking, it shows that the first $750 will start flowing through from the Australian Tax Office to nominated bank accounts via MyGov from 31 March for the first payment, with most landing in bank accounts by 17 April. The second will flow through from 13 July.

      I suggest checking your details to make sure it’s paid in the right place by logging in to your MyGov or Centrelink accounts, or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.

      Hope this helps.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  8. Default Gravatar
    GrahamApril 20, 2020

    I have just received my first Commonwealth Seniors Health card in the mail after a modest waiting time of about a month since applying. The card is marked “CARD START 19 Mar 2020 SHC”. Am I eligible for the first $750.00 payment?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaApril 22, 2020Staff

      Hi Graham,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. 😃

      I have read your message and I understand that you want to check your eligibility for the $750 cash payment from the government.

      Regarding your question, the answer is yes. You should be able to receive the $750 payment as those people who are Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. Moreover, if you made a claim to receive one of those eligible payments before April 13 and it’s approved, you’ll get the $750. Moreover, the $750 will be backtracked to the intent to claim date.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  9. Default Gravatar
    DianaApril 18, 2020

    We need financial help for a very small not for profit school run by volunteers. We do not have the ability to repay loans or credit card debt. Is there help available?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnApril 21, 2020Staff

      Hi Diana,

      Thank you for reaching out to Finder.

      The assistance stated on the article we have with Finder involves small businesses that could claim deductions,write-offs or employee assistance as updated by the national government. It would be best to contact your local government office to inquire how they could assist non-profit organizations during this time. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  10. Default Gravatar
    GrettaApril 4, 2020

    I am a self-employed, part-time only gardener. Having ceased majority of work due to isolating clients & no access in their private homes, if I claim for JobKeeper financial assistance, is it asset-tested etc. on my partners income or is it solely on my own personal employment history, ATO history, etc?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JudithApril 7, 2020Staff

      Hi Gretta,

      Thanks for reaching out to Finder.

      We appreciate your enquiry on the JobKeeper Payment program. For you to apply, it will not be based on your partner’s income and asset test. If you are currently suffering or if you are expecting to suffer at least 30% income drop, you will need to provide your business’ ABN, nominate an individual to receive the payment and provide that individual’s Tax File Number, and provide a declaration of recent business activities.

      To register your interest, you may visit ATO’s website.

      I hope this helps you. Stay safe.

      All the best,
      Judith

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