COVID-19 stimulus progresses
Last week I welcomed the news that Bills had passed Federal Parliament across two economic support packages worth $17.6 billion (package 1) and $66 billion (package 2).
Farm Household Allowance, JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, parenting and special benefit payments will be boosted by a Coronavirus Supplement of $550 a fortnight from 27 April.
Under temporary changes to social security rules, sole traders who are now eligible for JobSeeker or Youth Allowance will also receive the $550 fortnightly Coronavirus supplement. These rules are designed to make sure sole traders can access income support if they find their income significantly reduced through no fault of their own.
In addition to the $750 stimulus payment already announced, the Government will provide a further $750 to social security and veteran income support recipients and eligible concession cardholders.
For more information on how to get assistance in these uncertain times, I would encourage you all to visit www.australia.gov.au – this remains the central location for you to access all of the latest Coronavirus news, updates and advice from Government agencies. It also contains the latest information on restrictions that are in place to help limit the spread.
While there are still few confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Parkes electorate, we all have a role to play right now in slowing the spread of this virus – including heeding the advice from health authorities, practising excellent hygiene, social distancing and self-isolation where appropriate.
Business hotline ramps up
I’m pleased that the Government’s business hotline will give more support to small and medium businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
With many small and medium businesses in my electorate being heavily impacted by the measures put in place to limit the spread of this virus, this will be an increasingly important resource for those who need it.
Operations at the business.gov.au 13 28 46 Contact Centre will ramp up from five days per week to seven days per week, and provide additional hours of support outside standard operating hours for the first month, answering calls from 7am to 11pm.
In these extremely challenging times, I encourage businesses in the Parkes electorate that have been impacted by COVID-19 to access this advice, so they can fully understand the assistance available to them and their employees.
NBN enhances data for rural, regional customers
Last week I welcomed NBN Co’s announcement that there will be a temporary boost of 45GB to data allowance for each Sky Muster Plus customer for the month of April.
There is also a major enhancement to Sky Muster Plus service from 1 April, including significant expansion in unmetered activities for Sky Muster Plus users, a new 25GB entry level plan, more flexibility with building plans to suit individual customers’ usage patterns, and more flexibility with data top-ups for ad hoc usage.
It’s crucial that we stay connected with our loved ones, as well as essential services, and this is particularly true as we face uncertain times. For more information, visit www.nbnco.com.au
Working overtime to produce essentials
The Federal Government is working closely with industry to further ramp up local manufacturing of hand sanitiser amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
We also need the community to play their part by not stockpiling. There is no need for people to have huge volumes of hand sanitiser at home.
We have the capacity and the raw ingredients here to continue to meet the increased demand. Our Government will continue to do what it takes to ensure supply and increase domestic production of medical protection equipment – from sanitiser to masks to ventilators.
Helping remote Indigenous communities
The Australian Government has granted funding to help 110 remote communities across Australia protect themselves against COVID-19, as part of the $57.8 million Remote Community Preparedness and Retrieval package.
We know that isolation and remoteness may help delay an outbreak of COVID-19 in remote Indigenous communities. Nonetheless, we must do all that we can to ensure these communities are prepared for an outbreak, with the appropriate protections in place.
To limit the spread of the virus, restrictions have been placed on the movement of people in and out of remote areas.
This assistance forms part of the Government’s broader $2.4 billion health package to fight COVID-19, which includes initiatives to help remote communities limit their exposure, have the capacity to evaluate cases, and respond effectively if an outbreak occurs.