Full stimulus package unveiled – what’s in it for you
Pensioners, families, veterans and students will all benefit from a $750 handout, while there will also be a $1 billion fund to help communities hardest hit by the coronavirus economic shock, as the Government tries to stave off a coronavirus-induced recession.
There will be a special allowance for casual workers who get sick with the coronavirus, while pensioners will get a second boost worth up to $219 a year through a deeming rate drop.
It is part of a $17.6 billion stimulus package to last until June 30 next year unveiled by Prime Minister Scott Morrison today in a desperate bid to stave off recession, for which Labor has pledged its early conditional support.
The huge cash splash, on top of the $2.4 billion health crisis package, will mean the budget will not return to surplus as previously promised.
More than $11 billion will be spent in the next three months to boost up the June quarter and prevent a second month of negative economic growth, which would create a technical recession.
Stopping short of the Kevin Rudd $900 cash payments for every taxpayer, the $750 will go to 6.5 million people on specific benefits.
This includes age pensioners, Youth Allowance, disability pensioners, people on the family tax benefit, seniors health card, veterans' support payments, disability support and carers allowance.
The one-off payment will flow from March 31 and will cost the Federal Government $4.8 billion.
For casual workers, the waiting period to access the existing Sickness Allowance will be dropped.
It means they can access a Newstart level payment of $489 a fortnight if they are unable to work due to the virus isolation period, if the meet the asset test requirements.
Deeming rates will also be dropped by 0.5 per cent, which means pensioners will get up to $219 a year or $8.42 a fortnight.
The $1 billion coronavirus community fund targeted at schemes to help regions and industries worst hit by the economic impact of the virus.
Details for the specific areas to be targeted and how will be developed with the state and territory governments and overseen for Trade and Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham.
But Mr Morrison said there would be measures specific for north Queensland.
"That will include things like waiving marine park fees and National Park fees in Kakadu and other places," he said.
"We're obviously concerned about the impact in places like North Queensland, for example, and that's why we've made the decisions on things like the marine park fees and things like that nature.
"What we envisage is that the same type of assistance that you've seen provided in the most affected bushfire areas."
A $3.2 billion measure will allow businesses to deduct an additional 50 per cent of the cost of an asset in the first year of purchase, to encourage spending now.
There were also measures revealed this morning, including $700 million to increase the instant asset write off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 and expand access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million until 30 June 2020.
Cash flow support of up to $25,000 will go towards businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million, while apprentices wages will be subsidised by 50 per cent.
Mr Morrison warned the next three months would see the most significant impacts of the coronavirus.
"This is a significant investment. We have taken the decision to put this stimulus in place that has the obvious impact on the Budget outcome for 2019-20 and Australians understand that, Australians know that this needs to be the priority," he said.
Mr Morrison said when Australia would see a surplus again could depend on the extent of the virus' impact.
Anthony Albanese said Labor was studying the details of the package but pledged Labor's early conditional support.
"We'll be as supportive as possible," he said at a media conference in Brisbane.
"We will be constructive. We will support any measure that supports people being in jobs.
"We'll wait and see what the detail is."
Mr Albanese took a swipe at the Government for failing to provide any details of the package to the Opposition before the public announcement this morning.
And he said it was important to remember the coronavirus response was "first and foremost" a health issue that was affecting the economy.
"We need to make sure that we get the health impacts of this coronavirus crisis right as well," he said.
"We need to stop the mixed messages we need to make sure that those people who do need testing do get that testing in an orderly way and we need to make sure that we minimize the impact that it has on individuals, most importantly in terms of their health, but also in terms of the economy," he said.
He also called on the government to implement the measures as quickly as possible and guarantee further stimulus if the first round of funds proved insufficient.