If you or your family have been financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, there are two main sources of assistance available to you.
As new announcements regarding financial assistance are being updated constantly, and your individual circumstances can be quite complicated, it is best to go directly to either Services Australia or Service NSW
Both of these government agencies can advise you of the eligibility rules including residence rules and income tests for payments in any of the following circumstances.
not able to work or don’t have work
in isolation or hospitalised
caring for children.
Small Business owner
If you have any issues with State Government financial assistance programs, please contact my office by email email@example.com or call 02 4933 1617.
If you have any issues with Federal Government financial assistance programs, please your local Federal Member of Parliament. Residents in the electorate of Paterson, should contact Meryl Swanson MP, and resident who live in the Lyne electorate should contact Dr David Gillespie MP.
Financial counselling Hunter Valley Project Inc provides a free and confidential counselling service to all residents in the Maitland LGA and can be contacted on 4933 8999.
STATE GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES - (Information extracted from the Business Australia website)
3 April 2020 – NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Minister for Finance and Small Business Damien Tudehope have announced that eligible small businesses across Australia will be receiving $10,000 in grants. Click here
27 March 2020 – NSW Government to unveil $750 million stimulus package: The package is aimed at retaining and creating jobs as well as sustaining NSW businesses. The money will contribute to employing 1,000 extra staff for Service NSW, energy accounts assistance, additional tax relief and deferred rental payments for small commercial business and money allocated to charities and Lifeline. Click here to read more.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES - (Information extracted from the Business Australia website)
1 April 2020 – Australia Government announced measures to help secure freight access for Australian exporters: A $110 million initiative will back Australia’s agricultural and fisheries sector by helping them export their high-quality produce into key overseas markets. Also, funding for the Export Market Development Grant will increase by $49.8 million. To read more, click here.
30 March 2020 – Government unveils Coronavirus wage subsidy for businesses workers: Businesses are expected to be paid a wage subsidy of $1,500 per employee, under the Federal Government Jobkeeper payment plan to keep Australians in work. The payments will flow from May and be backdated to today. The new scheme will form part of the Government’s third economic assistance package. Click here for more.
29 March 2020 – Federal Government clampdown on foreign investments: All foreign investment in Australia will now require approval in a move designed to prevent international raids on struggling companies hit by the Coronavirus pandemic. The Foreign Investment Review Board will scrutinise every single purchase application regardless of its value. Click here to read more.
29 March 2020 – $1.1 billion Medicare, mental health, domestic violence package on its way in response to Coronavirus crisis: The bulk of the package will go to expanding Medicare subsidies for telehealth services. Click here for further details. Australians will not incur any out-of-pocket costs for consults done over the phone or on video with health professionals like GPs, psychologists and psychiatrists, as part of a $1.1 billion funding boost designed to protect against the widespread impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Click here for further details.
27 March 2020 – The Federal Government has announced an economic hibernation: Policies are being developed to help businesses emerge after the Coronavirus crisis, and resume and rehire without crippling debts. Banks, lenders and landlords will all be asked to wear some of the pain, waiving all overheads like rent and mortgage repayments for six months. Click here for more.
25 March 2020 – The Government has increased and accelerated income support with expanded eligibility to income support payments and a new time limited Coronavirus supplement. This supplement will be paid to both new and existing eligible recipients. To view the eligible payment categories, click here.
25 March 2020 – The Government is allowing individuals affected by Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. To read more about accessing superannuation, click here.
24 March 2020 – The Government has given six month relief to directors for any personal liability from trading while insolvent as part of its Covid-19 response package. The regulatory relief comes alongside further stimulus that bring the total announced so far by the government to 9.7 percent of GDP or $189bn over the forward estimates. Australian Institute of Company Directors has more to say here.
22 March 2020 – Boosting cash flow: The Federal Government is providing up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium sized businesses, and not-for-profits (including charities) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000. Click here to read more.
22 March 2020 – $66 billion second stimulus package: The Federal government is set to unveil new measures including up to $100,000 for small businesses to keep their staff employed during the coronavirus crisis, and Commonwealth guarantee of unsecured loans of up to $250,000. Read more.
20 March 2020 – PM, Scott Morrison’s Coronavirus update: The Federal budget has been postponed from May to October. Small and medium-sized businesses including sole traders, will be the focus of the second stimulus package. To learn about how this impacts your business, click here.
20 March 2020 – ABA relief for small business: The Australian Banking Association announced all small businesses who are impacted by Coronavirus will be entitled to a six-month deferral on all business loans. Read more here.
19 March 2020 – Second stimulus plan: The Treasurer has announced a second stimulus plan with an additional $15 billion investment enabling smaller lenders to continue supporting Australian consumers and small businesses.
Other government supports:
Cost of living measures offered by the NSW Government can be found here.
Information on the Commonwealth Government's one-off economic support payment here.
The Energy and Water Ombudsman has provided a list of resources here when you need help paying bills.
The Australian Taxation Office can help if you are struggling to meet your taxation or superannuation obligations. Call 1800 806 218 or click here.
Fair Work has provided some information here on workplace laws and the COVID-19 epidemic.
If you are experiencing financial difficulty in paying your loans or debts please contact your banks early
Seeking the Job Seeker Payment (formerly Newstart)? Click here for a step by step factsheet.
Centrelink is experiencing a huge increase of people seeking financial support due to the Coronavirus. Unfortunately, the waiting times are longer than usual.
WHAT TO KNOW
The MyGov website is working (for now). You should still expect delays.
You can call Centrelink on 132 850, the hours have been extended to 8am-8pm to make a claim, you will need a CRN (Customer Reference Number).
If you already have a CRN, you can apply online at MyGov.
If you don't have a CRN, you will need to call Centrelink or visit in person - you CANNOT apply for a CRN online.
If you lodge your intent to claim now, your payments will be backdated to that day.
If you already receive Centrelink payments, you don't need to do anything. You will receive the payments you are eligible for automatically.
For a summary of Income Support for Individuals, click here.