JobKeeper legislation gets the green light
I made the trip to Canberra last week for a Parliamentary sitting day on Wednesday, which was solely dedicated to addressing the Coalition Government’s $130 billion JobKeeper payment.
A 20-hour return trip by car from my home near Warialda was made all the more worthwhile with the successful passage of the legislation, which will improve the lives of so many people in the Parkes electorate in this challenging time.
The $1,500 per fortnight JobKeeper payment will help save jobs and keep families together, businesses in business and preserve the productive capacity of the Australian economy.
It is the equivalent of about 70 per cent of the median wage and represents about 100 per cent of the median wage in some of the most heavily affected sectors, such as retail, hospitality and tourism.
It will be available to full-time and part-time workers, sole traders and casuals who have been with their employer for 12 months or more. Importantly, it will apply to the many Australians working in the not for profit sector.
Eligible businesses in my electorate can apply for the payment online and should register their interest via ato.gov.au
Those who do not qualify to receive JobKeeper through an employer may have access to the alternative JobSeeker payment through Services Australia. JobSeeker has been almost doubled to about $1150 per fortnight while we combat the coronavirus crisis.
These two payments work side-by-side to ensure as many people as possible are supported during these difficult times.
Photo Caption: Member for Parkes Mark Coulton in Dubbo last week, en route to Canberra for a Parliamentary sitting day dedicated to legislating the Government’s $130 billion JobKeeper payment.
Keeping our kids safe online
A new guide to online safety for parents and carers has specific tips and advice at a time when children are spending more time online because of the response to COVID-19.
Parents can take some simple steps to manage the risks kids can face online – including cyberbullying and unwanted contact from strangers. This time at home is a good opportunity for parents to start the online safety chat with their kids.
The eSafety Commissioner is here to help keep families safe, offering practical tools that empower parents and carers to be a positive influence in their kids’ online lives.
To read the guide, simply search for COVID-19 Global Safety Advice for Parents and Carers on Google.
eSafety’s top tips for parents in protecting their kids online include using parental controls in apps and devices, setting time limits for using devices during non-school hours, and more. For further information visit www.esafety.gov.au
Saluting their service
A series of small grants have been awarded in my electorate under the Federal Government’s Saluting Their Service grants program, to recognise our region’s military service history.
I’m proud of our community interest in recognising local service men and women – a tradition which will no doubt be shown strongly on ANZAC Day this year.
Moree Plains Shire Council has received $4,000 to display images of local Aboriginal service personnel at the Dhiiyaan Aboriginal Centre.
Orana Gardens Aged Care in Dubbo will use their $4,000 to install a flagpole at their facility.
And out to the west, Sunset Strip Progress Association has received $4,000 to install garden beds at the boundary of the Sunset Strip Community War Memorial site.
A community’s military history, through those who have served or continue to serve, is part of its identity. By involving community groups with these grants, we can ensure this history is never forgotten.
New visa measures to support ag
The Coalition Government is making temporary changes to visa arrangements to help farmers access the workforce they need to secure Australia’s food and produce supply during COVID-19.
The changes allow those within the Pacific Labour Scheme, Seasonal Worker Program and working holiday makers to continue to work in agriculture and food processing until the coronavirus crisis has passed.
We are acting to enable seasonal workers to extend their stay and remain lawfully in Australia until they are able to return to their home countries.
The ag sector relies on an ongoing workforce and we are committed to providing the means for that to continue while ensuring strict health and safety measures are adhered to, including visa holders following self-isolation requirements when they move between regions.
Tax deductions for those working from home
I welcome the temporary arrangements announced by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to make it easier for Australians to claim deductions for working from home due to COVID-19.
Taxpayers in my electorate working from home may now claim a rate of 80 cents per hour and will only be required to keep a record of the number of hours they have worked from home, rather than needing to calculate specific running expenses. This will apply for expenses incurred between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020. Full details are available at www.ato.gov.au.
You will still be able to make a standard working from home claim using the two standard approaches, if you wish to do so. I encourage those requiring further clarification on their individual circumstances to seek advice from their accountant.
Those needing urgent assistance with their tax due to COVID-19 can contact the ATO’s Emergency Support Infoline on 1800 806 218.
I also encourage people working from home to take a look at the ‘Keeping Australians Connected’ resource at www.commsalliance.com.au/hot-topics/covid-19, launched by the Australian telecommunications sector. This document contains many practical tips which you may find useful.