Free childcare in $3bn family relief package

Original article by Geoff Chambers, Rosie Lewis
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 3-Apr-20

Nearly one million families will be eligible to receive free childcare under a coronavirus package announced by the federal government. The package is expected to cost over $3 billion and run for six months, with children of essential workers, vulnerable children and parents with existing childcare placements to be given priority under the scheme. Liz Christie, the director of a Goodstart long daycare centre in Brisbane’s CBD, says the government’s announcement is a huge relief. She says the centre’s numbers have fallen from more than 200 to around 60, and that many of the parents are essential workers.

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GOODSTART EARLY LEARNING LIMITED

$1.1bn boost for GPs, Medicare

Original article by Geoff Chambers, Simon Benson
The Australian – Page: 6 : 30-Mar-20

The federal government has announced a $1.1 billion package aimed at dealing with the secondary impact of the health and economic crisis. The package comprises $669 million to be spent on Medicare support at home, $200 million for vulnerable Australians, $150 million for domestic violence support and $74 million for mental health support. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the package aims to help the many Australians who are currently enduring hardship.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Jobless rate could hit 13.8pc despite priming of the pump

Original article by Matthew Cranston
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 8 : 23-Mar-20

The federal government and the Reserve Bank have now announced a combined $189bn worth of coronavirus stimulus measures. This includes cash payments for small businesses and non-profit organisations. However, many companies that operate in sectors that employ a lot of people will not be eligible for financial relief. The construction, retail, hospitality, recreation and education are major employers; it is estimated that the unemployment rate would rise from 5.1 per cent to 13.8 per cent if they shed just 25 per cent of their workforce, or about 1.2 million people.

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RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

Third bailout being prepared as $66b injected to help first blows

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 4 : 23-Mar-20

The second stage of the federal government’s stimulus package includes the introduction of a welfare wage for workers who lose their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. They will be eligible for a fortnightly payment of up to $1,100, while the existing Newstart allowance will be increased and renamed the Jobseeker Payment. Workers who are stood down will also be able to withdraw up to $20,000 from their superannuation fund. Meanwhile, businesses with annual turnover of up to $50m will be eligible for a cash payment of up to $100,000. The government and the nation’s banks will also jointly provide a $40bn loan facility for small and medium enterprises.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

PM looks to nationalise failing firms

Original article by Simon Benson
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 20-Mar-20

The federal government may be forced to nationalise some companies as part of its response to the economic problems being caused by the coronavirus epidemic. Virgin Australia is cited as one company that the government cannot allow to fail, as having a domestic aviation network essentially dominated by one airline once the worst of the virus has passed would not be considered tolerable. Economist Chris Richardson notes that the government is going to have to spend huge amounts of money to fix the Australian economy "without batting an eyelid".

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VIRGIN AUSTRALIA HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX VAH

Operation Covid: save jobs

Original article by Geoff Chambers, Simon Benson, Ewin Hannan, Robyn Ironside, Greg Brown
The Australian – Page: 1 & 6 : 18-Mar-20

The global death toll from the coronavirus has risen to 7,950; more than 197,000 people worldwide have been diagnosed with the respiratory illness, including 452 in Australia. The federal government will respond to the crisis with new measures aimed at supporting businesses and protecting jobs, in addition to the $17.6bn stimulus package that has previously been announced. Council of Small Business Organisations Australia CEO Peter Strong says many businesses could collapse without financial relief, with the potential loss of 500,000 jobs. The government will also provide a $715m financial assistance package for airlines, with Qantas CEO Alan Joyce warning that the virus is the "single biggest shock" the sector has ever seen.

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COUNCIL OF SMALL BUSINESS ORGANISATIONS OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED, QANTAS AIRWAYS LIMITED – ASX QAN

Boosted funding for at-risk industries

Original article by Geoff Chambers, Simon Benson, Richard Ferguson
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 17-Mar-20

Legislating the federal government’s $17.6bn economic stimulus package will be a priority when parliament resumes on 23 March. The government will pursue additional stimulus measures that will target industries that will be hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic; the Budget in May is also tipped to include more government support for businesses. Meanwhile, the national cabinet will consider restrictions on gatherings in enclosed spaces such as cinemas and restaurants. The existing ban on gatherings of more than 500 people has resulted in the cancellation of many cultural and sports events.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

PM’s cash splash to save jobs

Original article by Simon Benson, Geoff Chambers
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 12-Mar-20

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is confident that all necessary legislation for the federal government’s economic stimulus package will be passed in the last sitting week of Parliament prior to the Budget in May. The package will cost almost $18bn in total, in addition to the government’s $2.4bn health plan in response to the coronavirus. Small and medium enterprises will be a focus of the package; they will receive a cash payout of between $2,000 and $25,000, plus a wage subsidy to ensure that they continue to employ apprentices. The threshold for the instant asset write-off will be increased from $30,000 to $150,000. The stimulus package will rule out a Budget surplus for 2019-20.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Fast cash to calm virus storm

Original article by Simon Benson, Patrick Commins
The Australian – Page: 1 & 6 : 10-Mar-20

Cabinet’s expenditure review committee is set to approve the federal government’s economic stimulus package within days. Prime Minister Scott Morrison will use a speech on 10 March to argue that the stimulus must be targeted and position both the domestic economy and the federal budget to rebound when the coronavirus crisis is over. He will also urge large companies to support their employees, customers and suppliers, and to ensure that small businesses are paid promptly. National Australia Bank’s chief economist Alan Oster says the package must be worth at least $10bn and should include measures such as a business investment allowance and income tax cuts.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB

Jobs subsidy plan to bust recession

Original article by Phillip Coorey, Matthew Cranston
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 6 : 6-Mar-20

Treasury expects the impact of the coronavirus to reduce economic growth by at least 0.5 per cent in the March quarter, while the recent bushfires will cut growth by a further 0.2 per cent. The federal government’s stimulus package will aim to prevent economic growth from also being negative in the June quarter; it will include wage subsidies, a business investment allowance and tax breaks to assist with cash flow. Greens leader Adam Bandt says the stimulus package should also include an increase in unemployment benefits and financial assistance for workers who are not entitled to paid sick leave.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIAN GREENS, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY