More help for business on the way

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said last night that the Government would be “working through the night” to pull together the next economic supports to keep Australians in jobs.

He said the goal is to keep workers connected to the companies that will be there on the other side.

“So they can stand up again and ensure that Australia bounces back strongly,” Mr Morrison said. “So we can return to life as we knew it at some point in the future, once we get to the other side of the virus.”

A statement released following the Australian governments’ National Cabinet meeting yesterday says decisions and recommendations are underpinned by the expectation that we will be living with the COVID-19 for at least six months.

“So social distancing measures to slow this virus down must be sustainable for at least that long to protect Australian lives and help Australia to keep functioning,” the statement says.

Commercial landlords and tenants moratorium

National Cabinet says that short-term intervention is needed for commercial tenancies to help businesses hibernate.

also see article re assistance from banks

“Commercial tenants, landlords and financial institutions are encouraged to sit down together to find a way through to ensure that businesses can survive and be there on the other side,” the National Cabinet statement says.

They outlined a set of principles, to underpin and govern intervention to aid commercial tenancies as follows:

  • a short term, temporary moratorium on eviction for non-payment of rent to be applied across commercial tenancies impacted by severe rental distress due to coronavirus;
  • tenants and landlords are encouraged to agree on rent relief or temporary amendments to the lease;
  • the reduction or waiver of rental payment for a defined period for impacted tenants;
  • the ability for tenants to terminate leases and/or seek mediation or conciliation on the grounds of financial distress;
  • commercial property owners should ensure that any benefits received in respect of their properties should also benefit their tenants in proportion to the economic impact caused by coronavirus;
  • landlords and tenants not significantly affected by coronavirus are expected to honour their lease and rental agreements; and
  • cost-sharing or deferral of losses between landlords and tenants, with Commonwealth, state and territory governments, local government and financial institutions to consider mechanisms to provide assistance.

The following summary points were also issued:

  • Public gatherings, excluding household members, have been reduced to a maximum of two people.
  • Everyone should stay home unless you are: shopping for essentials, receiving medical care, exercising or travelling to work or education.
  • People aged over 70, aged over 60 with pre-existing conditions, or Indigenous people aged over 50 should stay home wherever possible for their own protection.
  • A safety net package of $1.1 billion to expand mental health and tele-health services, increase domestic violence services and provide more emergency food relief. Read more.
  • Pubs, licensed clubs and hotels (excluding accommodation), gyms, skateparks, indoor sporting venues, cinemas, beauty salons, play centres and outside playgrounds, places of worship and other public places must be closed.
  • There are restrictions on attendance at weddings, funerals and outdoor fitness classes.
  • Supermarkets and pharmacies remain open.

Stay informed

Download the official government “Coronavirus Australia” app in the Apple App Store or Google Play, or join the WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android.

National Cabinet will meet again on Monday 30th March 2020

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