EXPLAINER

How will the various government stimulus packages affect you?

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has unveiled a raft of stimulus measures to mitigate the coronavirus crisis. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has unveiled a raft of stimulus measures to mitigate the coronavirus crisis. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Both federal and ACT governments have announced various stimulus packages as an economic lifeline during the COVID-19 crisis.

If you are confused about what these measures cover, and how they interact, you are not alone.

We take a look at what these measures mean for you.

What does this mean for home owners?

If you are a home owner whose household income has dropped by 25 percent and your household income before tax is under $160,000, you can apply for a 12 month no-interest deferral for rates.

This comes under the second lot of measures by the ACT government announced on April 2.

So, if you have lost your job, but your partner is still working and earns $160,000 or more before tax, you would not be eligible.

Or, if your household has lost a quarter of its income, but you still have $160,000 or above, you are not eligible for rates freezes.

What does this mean for residential landlords?

The ACT government has put forward $39 million to go towards a land tax and rates rebate to residential landlords.

This rebate is only for landlords who reduce rent by at least a quarter to assist tenants impacted by COVID-19.

The rebate will cover up to 50 per cent of the rent reduction, and up to $1,300 per quarter.

This is equivalent to about $100 per week, and the measure will last for six months.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has also put forward two economic survival packages amid the pandemic. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has also put forward two economic survival packages amid the pandemic. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

How will this affect tenants?

If you have not faced any financial hardships during the COVID-19 crisis, you are expected to honour your rental agreements as normal.

Landlords and renters are urged to work together to mediate any issues if people are facing financial hardship.

If your landlord reduces your rent by at least a quarter, the rebate your landlord receives should provide you with up to $200 in rent relief per week.

For those in public housing, on March 20 the ACT government announced payments of $250 to all ACT public housing households.

This was to complement the federal governments $750 social security payment announced in March.

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What about small business owners? 

The ACT government has divided businesses into three categories.

  • Category one is for businesses whose revenue has not been affected, or has been partially affected (under 30% loss of revenue).
  • Category two is for businesses who are still open but have whose revenue had reduced by at least 30 percent.
  • Category three: businesses that have had to shut down entirely due to COVID-19.

Different categories have different entitlements.

Category one businesses must pay their rents as usual.

However, category one businesses can still receive the $2,622 rates credit that was announced during the first set of measures, if .

Category two businesses can apply for a waiver of commercial rates where businesses pay three quarters of the rates.

Category three businesses can apply for a waiver of commercial rates where businesses pay half of the rates

If you run a business that falls under the prohibited activities list, you are eligible for a six-month payroll tax waiver. This will go from April to September 2020.

Wages subsidies for small businesses  

The JobKeeper subsidy announced by the federal government gives companies that are still open $1500 per employee a fortnight. The federal government also announced a wage subsidy for trainees and apprentices. Businesses will be given up to $7,000 per quarter per eligible trainee.This subsidy covers wages from January 2020 to September 2020.Yet, this only covers apprentices and trainees who have been with the company since March 1 2020. 

Investment in Jobs. 

The Federal Government has created a Jobs Hub website for those seeking employment.

Meanwhile, the ACT government announced a $20 million "Jobs for Canberrans" fund on Thursday.

This will allow the ACT public service to employ additional workers on short term contract jobs with minimal prerequisites.

This measure also automatically covers the extension of contracts for causal and contracted ACTPS staff.

Legislation will also be changed to allow long service leave to workers suffering income loss.

Infrastructure spending

The ACT government has announced a further $5 million to go towards fast-tracking infrastructure projects. This is in addition to the $20 million that was invested in March.

How do I apply for assistance. 

If you are eligible for any of the ACT Governments measures, go to https://www.revenue.act.gov.au/ and fill out the relevant form.

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This story How will government stimulus packages affect you and your workplace? first appeared on The Canberra Times.