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Income relief deal for locked down Sydneysiders

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A joint NSW and federal government relief package has been hammered out to help people and businesses suffering under the Greater Sydney lockdown, which is set to again be extended after a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases.

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Premier Gladys Berejiklian yesterday warned there was virtually no hope of lockdown ending as scheduled on Friday as businesses and workers face the prospect of a fourth week with little to no income.

Of the 112 new NSW cases reported on Monday, 84 emerged in southwest Sydney with the area now the epicentre of the outbreak, with authorities desperate to stop people going to work while unknowingly infectious.

The state government has already committed $1.4 billion to help businesses and was reportedly keen to establish a NSW-funded JobKeeper-style program.

The new financial assistance package is expected to be announced as early as today with the federal government COVID disaster weekly payments reportedly to rise to $600 a week, up from $500, for those who have lost 20 hours of work or more.

The joint package will include JobKeeper-style increased cash flow payments for businesses to cover costs and wages, so long as no worker is sacked.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Multicultural Affairs Minister Alex Hawke will have a virtual meeting with community leaders in southwest Sydney on Tuesday to consult on how to better communicate with the community about getting vaccinated and abiding by COVID-19 rules.

-with AAP

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