NSW business, workers getting more support

The state and federal governments have “significantly boosted” support for NSW businesses and workers impacted by the extended lockdown, while construction received a conditional green light.

The additional help was announced just after Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed on Wednesday that Greater Sydney’s five week lockdown would continue until at least August 28 to combat the escalating COVID-19 crisis.

JobSaver payments will now be available to businesses with an annual turnover of between $75,000 and $250 million, up from $50 million, which have experienced a revenue decline of 30 per cent or more. 

The maximum weekly payment has also been increased, with businesses that maintain their employee headcount now able to receive between $1500 and $100,000 per week, up from $10,000.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said payments will be based on 40 per cent of their weekly NSW payroll.

“We have made it clear that businesses can’t reduce headcount,” he said.

“We want to make sure that workers remain connected to their businesses as we move through this lockdown period.”

For workers, the $600 disaster payment for people who have lost more than 20 hours a week will lift to $750, and the payment for people who have lost less than 20 hours of work increases from $375 to $450 a week.

“The Commonwealth government has your back just as we’ve had the back of all Australians through this crisis,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

The state’s peak business organisation, Business NSW described the lockdown extension as a “crushing blow” to businesses, but said new support had been “gratefully received”.

“The only way out of this is to continue to comply with government restrictions and get vaccinated as soon as possible,” Business NSW Chief Executive Daniel Hunter said. 

Meanwhile, construction with new COVID-19 protocols will resume in Greater Sydney, Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour on Saturday.

Construction activity, including works in residential homes where there is no contact between workers and residents, will be allowed.

The Property Council of Australia “applauded” the decision.

“The industry fully supports the additional health measures announced today, which should give the people confidence that taking this action will not present an unacceptable health risk to the community,” the Acting NSW Executive Director Lauren Conceicao said.

However, the Urban Development Institute of Australia said the sector would only be operating at a “fraction” of its potential as around 50 per cent of all workers come from the eight local government areas where construction was still prohibited.

Property development industry group Urban Taskforce Australia Chief Executive Tom Forrest said it was a “highly limited return to work for the construction industry”.

“But something is certainly better than nothing at all.”

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