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What's in the $66b second virus stimulus package

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The Morrison government has announced a series of measures to help casual workers, sole traders, retirees and those on income support as part of its second $66 billion stimulus package in the face of the coronavirus.

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Clubs, pubs, restaurants, cafes, casinos, cinemas and churches will be forced to close from noon on Monday in a dramatic clampdown on social activity – with Prime Minister Scott Morrison warning it is just the first stage of expected measures.

Morrison and state and territory leaders on Sunday night agreed that from noon on Monday there would be new restrictions on a range of indoor venues.

“We now need to take action because we cannot have the confidence as a group of leaders that the social distancing guidelines and rules that we have put in place won’t be followed to the level of compliance that we require to flatten the curve and slow the spread and save lives,” Morrison said.

He acknowledge the economic impact would be devastating, but lamented that many Australians were not taking social distancing seriously, with many pouring onto beaches and into night spots over the weekend.

Restaurants and cafes will be able to continue to do takeaway and delivery only, with no more dining in.

Schools, however, will remain open for now – apart from in Victoria, which is closing classrooms on Tuesday ahead of the official start of their school holidays at the end of the week.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said since announcing the first $17.6 billion package 10 days ago the global and domestic economic environment has deteriorated.

“We now expect the economic shock to be deeper, wider and longer,” Frydenberg told reporters in Canberra on Sunday.

The new measures include a new, time-limited coronavirus supplement to paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight to both existing and new recipients of the JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.

This supplement will be paid for the next six months at a cost of $14.1 billion.

In addition to the $750 stimulus payment announced on March 12, the government will provide a further $750 payment to social security and veteran income support recipients and eligible concession card holders.

The government is also allowing individuals in financial stress as a result of COVID-19 to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in the 2019/20 financial year and a further $10,000 in 2020/21.

“These withdrawals will be tax-free and available to those who are eligible for the coronavirus supplement as well as sole traders who have seen their hours work, or income fall, 20 per cent or more as a result of the coronavirus,” Frydenberg said.

SUPPORT FOR WORKERS, RETIREES AND HOUSEHOLDS

* Time-limited $550 per fortnight supplement for both existing and new recipients of the JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.

* A further $750 payment to social security and veteran income support recipients and eligible concession card holders.

* Individuals in financial stress can access up to $10,000 tax-free of their superannuation in 2019/20 and a further $10,000 in 2020/21.

* Temporary reduction in the superannuation minimum drawdown requirements by 50 per cent for 2019/20 and 2020/21, providing retirees with more flexibility as to how they manage their superannuation assets.

* Deeming rates reduced by a further 0.25 percentage points to reflect the latest rate reductions by the Reserve Bank, making the lower deeming rate 0.25 per cent and the upper deeming rate 2.25 per cent.

EXPANDED CASH FLOW INJECTION TO SMALL BUSINESS

* Another $25.2 billion over four years for individual $100,000 tax-free payments for businesses turning over up to $50 million a year

* The minimum payment for business will be $20,000

* The amount will be 100 per cent of tax withheld to the ATO on employees’ wages

* The government hopes it will benefit 690,000 businesses and 7.8 million workers

* About 30,000 not-for-profits will also be eligible

* Adds to the $6.7 billion in payments already announced

LOAN GUARANTEES

* Government will guarantee 50 per cent of unsecured loans taken out by small businesses in the six months starting from April 1, 2020 with banks who join the scheme

* Loans can be up to $250,000 over a three-year term

* Loans won’t have repayments on them for the first six months

* Won’t apply to existing customers refinancing

* Scheme is worth $20 billion, for total lending of $40 billion

WHAT IS ALREADY ON THE TABLE FROM FIRST PACKAGE

* A $750 one-off, tax-free payment from March 31 for about 6.5 million pensioners and people on welfare

* A $1 billion tourism and trade fund for communities hurt by coronavirus flow-on effects

FOR BUSINESS

* Expanded instant asset write-off from July 1, rising from $30,000 to $150,000 and available to businesses with an annual turnover of up to $500 million instead of $50 million

* Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million can deduct an extra 50 per cent of asset costs in depreciation

* Small businesses with fewer than 20 employees will get up to $7000 each quarter for apprentices as a wage subsidy, equal to half the apprentice or trainee’s wage from January 1 to September 30

* $90 billion from the Reserve Bank and $15 billion from the government for banks to provide low-interest loans to business

* Banks to give business affected by the coronavirus crisis a six-month holiday from loan repayments

FOR AGED CARE

* $234.9 million for a “retention bonus” to ensure the continuity of the workforce in both residential and home care

* Direct care workers will receive payments of up to $800 after tax per quarter, for two quarters

* In-home carers will receive payments of up to $600 after tax per quarter, for two quarters

* $78.3 million in additional funding for residential care to support continuity of workforce supply

* $26.9 million for a temporary 30 per cent increase to the Residential and Home Care Viability Supplements and the Homeless Supplement

* $92.2 million to home care providers and organisations, including meals on wheels, to offer services for people in self-isolation such as shopping and meal delivery

* $12.3 million to cut call waiting times on the My Aged Care service.

– AAP

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