Coronavirus Assistance

Coronavirus Assistance

CORONAVIRUS ASSISTANCE

CORONAVIRUS HEALTHLINE: 1800 020 080
As this situation is changing rapidly, please visit https://www.australia.gov.au/ for the latest updates.

ESSENTIAL INFORMATION

Updated: 10.00am, Wednesday 3 June 2020.

Mutual obligation requirements for job seekers will recommence, in a limited capacity, from Tuesday 9 June 2020. During this period, suspensions and financial penalties will not apply. 

• The Australian Government has announced $131.4 billion in additional public hospital funding over the next five years as part of a new National Health Reform Agreement. The agreement guarantees no state or territory will be worse off as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic. Read more about the public hospital funding.

• Don’t be fooled by the misinformation about cures and treatments for COVID-19 circulating on social media. Get your information from trusted sources. For myth-busting and accurate and up-to-date information on COVID-19 Australia, view our mythbusting page.

• The Prime Minister has announced $48.1 million in funding for the National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan. The plan will support services available in homes, workplaces, aged care, schools and other community sites with a specific focus on vulnerable groups. 

• Taking care of your mental health and wellbeing during coronavirus is important and support is available. For personal crisis and mental health support services you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1800 512 348 at any time. Go to the emergency support and assistance page for information about additional services that can help you.

•  National Cabinet has agreed to begin a return to elective surgeries around the country, at a pace set by State and Territory Governments.

• A national three-step plan to relax coronavirus restrictions has been announced, with states and territories to decide when each step will be implemented locally.

• The COVIDSafe app speeds up contacting people exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19). This helps health officials support and protect you, your friends and family. The app is now available from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

•  Financial assistance is available to support individuals, households and businesses. 

•  Physical distancing measures are still in place across Australia. However, some states are revising restrictions on public gatherings. Check State and Territory websites for the rules where you live.

Safe Work Australia offers guidelines and information across 23 industries so that businesses can return to work in a COVID safe environment. 

• Australia and New Zealand are committed to introducing a trans-Tasman COVID-safe travel zone as soon as it is safe to do so. Learn more about plans for a trans-Tasman COVID-safe travel zone. 

• The Australian Government is providing an additional $205 million in specific COVID-19 aged care funding and has released a draft Code of Conduct for visitations to residents in aged care. Read more. 

• Testing for coronavirus is now available to every Australian with mild respiratory symptoms including a cough and sore throat. Read more.

• A new Higher Education Relief Package will support workers who have been displaced as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and who are looking to upskill or retrain. It will also provide funding certainty to higher education providers. Read more.

• There has been an increase in COVID-19 themed cyber activity towards websites designed to either install software or steal personal information and banking details. Learn more about protecting yourself against cybercrime, or report a cybercrime.

• If you are in self-isolation because you are confirmed or suspected to have Coronavirus (COVID-19), or have been in close contact with a confirmed case, use this form to help us track the spread of the virus. Read more.

• Stay informed. Download the official government “Coronavirus Australia” app in the Apple App Storeor Google Play, or join our WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android.

CLOSURES AND RESTRICTIONS

• There are ongoing restrictions on public gatherings, excluding household members. Check State and Territory websites for further enforcement information.

• All travellers returning home from overseas will be quarantined in a hotel or designated facility for 14 days. Read more.

• There are restrictions on attendance at weddings, funerals and outdoor fitness classes. Please check your State and Territory websites for full details.

• Tasmania, the NT, WA, Queensland and SA announced border closures. Anyone entering is to self-isolate for 14 days. See specific State and Territory Government sites for information.

• There are restrictions on visitors to Residential Aged Care Facilities to protect older Australians. Please check with individual facilities for further information.

• From 9pm AEDT 20 March 2020, our borders are closed except for Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members. All arrivals into Australia are required to self-isolate for 14 days, either at home or in a hotel. Read more.

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

JobKeeper Payments

The Coalition Government is committing $130 billion over the next six months to support the jobs and livelihoods of Australians.

We will provide a JobKeeper wage subsidy of $1,500 per fortnight to eligible workers through their employers. It will be available to full and part-time workers, self-employed people and sole traders. Read more about the JobKeeper Subsidy.

• Enrolments are now open for the JobKeeper wage subsidies. Businesses can apply at the Australian Tax Office website Read more.

• JobSeeker Payment claims can be submitted online 24/7. Online service capacity is being increased. Read More.

Australia’s banks have established dedicated JobKeeper hotlines for businesses needing assistance to bridge the gap until the first Jobkeeper payments are issued in May. 

  • ANZ: 1800 571 123
  • Bank of Melbourne: 1300 784 873
  • Bank SA: 1300 669 472
  • CommBank: 13 26 07
  • NAB: 1800 JOBKEEPER (1800 562 533)
  • St George: 1300 730 196
  • Westpac: 1300 731 073

For more information about the Australian Government’s additional economic packages to support workers, businesses and broader community in response to the Coronavirus, visit treasury.gov.au.

Jobseeker Payments

• The Australian Government has launched a Jobs Hub website to help Australians find work during the Coronavirus pandemic. The Jobs Hub advertises the latest vacancies from businesses across Australia. Find work here.

• Job seekers will be exempt from reporting their mutual obligation requirements up to and including 22 May 2020. Read More.

Eligibility for JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance for job seekers has also been expanded during this time to include:
• permanent employees who have been stood down or lost their job
• sole traders, self-employed, and casual or contract worker whose income has reduced
• people caring for someone who’s affected by coronavirus.

We’ll waive asset testing from 27 April for 6 months, except for Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.

JobSeeker Payment is subject to a personal income test and a partner income test. The Government is temporarily relaxing the partner income test to ensure that an eligible person can receive the JobSeeker Payment, and associated Coronavirus Supplement, providing their partner earns less than $3,068 per fortnight, around $79,762 per annum. 

• If you’re not already receiving a payment and wish to apply, you can claim online through myGov using a Centrelink online account, or phone us. Applicants are encouraged to apply online or over the phone.

 If you claim one of the eligible payments and we approve your claim, you’ll also receive the Coronavirus Supplement in addition to your income support payment. For more information, read more here. 

Coronavirus Supplement

The Government is temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments and establishing a new Coronavirus Supplement at a rate of $550 per fortnight.

The $550 Coronavirus Supplement will automatically be paid fortnightly from 27 April 2020 for six months if you’re receiving one of these payments:

• JobSeeker Payment
• Youth Allowance for job seekers
• Parenting Payment
• Farm Household Allowance
• Special Benefit
• Austudy or Abstudy
• Youth Allowance

If you already receive one of these payments, you don’t need to do anything and the payment will be made automatically from April 27, 2020.

Economic Support Payment

Two $750 payments will be made to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession cardholders.

Eligible payments include:

• Age Pension
• Disability Support Pension
• Carer Payment
• Carer Allowance
• Parenting Payment
• Wife Pension
• Widow B Pension
• ABSTUDY (Living Allowance)
• Austudy
• Bereavement Allowance
• Newstart Allowance
• Youth Allowance
• Partner Allowance
• Sickness Allowance
• Special Benefit
• Widow Allowance
• Farm Household Allowance
• Family Tax Benefit A
• Family Tax Benefit B
• Double Orphan Pension.

You’ll also receive the payment if you have one of the following concession cards:
• Pensioner Concession Card
• Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
• Veteran Gold Card.


You’ll also receive the payment if you receive one of the following Department of Veterans’ Affairs payments:

• Veteran Service Pension
• Veteran Income Support Supplement
• Veteran Compensation payments, including lump sum payments
• War Widow(er) Pension.

You’ll only receive one payment, even if you are receive more than one qualifying payment or card.

The first payment will be made from 31 March 2020 and the second from 13 July 2020. 

Crisis Payment

If you can’t work because you’re isolated at home due to coronavirus and don’t have any leave entitlements you may be eligible for a Crisis Payment. We may pay you Crisis Payment if you’re in severe financial hardship and you receive an income support payment like JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance for job seekers.

Crisis Payment is a one-off payment equal to a week’s pay of your existing income support payment rate.

Superannuation and deeming rates

People affected by the Coronavirus can access up to $10,000 of their super in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21, tax-free. The money they withdraw will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

The Government is reducing superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products by 50 per cent for 2019-20 and 2020-21. This will reduce the need to sell investment assets to fund minimum drawdown requirements.

As of 1 May 2020, the upper deeming rate will be reduced to 2.25 per cent and the lower deeming rate will be 0.25 per cent, helping around 900,000 income support recipients.

• For more information on the above plus superannuation and social security deeming rates, please go to: https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/households

Learn more about:

• JobSeeker Payment
• Youth Allowance for job seekers
• Parenting Payment
• Farm Household Allowance
• Special Benefit
• Crisis Payment

Beware of scams

We won’t contact you to ask for your bank account or contact details. Find out how to tell the difference between scams and genuine contacts from the Australian Government.

SUPPORTING BUSINESS

The Federal Government’s $320 billion for coronavirus support includes significant measures to keep small and medium businesses up and running including:

  • JobKeeper Payments to help with staff wages;
  • Increasing the Instant Assets Write-Off
  • Backing Business Investment
  • Boosting cash flow for employers
  • Supporting apprentices and trainees;
  • and Assistance for affected regions, communities and industries.

• Registrations are open for small businesses, and other eligible employers, to apply for a 50 per cent wage subsidy of their apprentice’s or trainee’s wage from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Read more.
 

SEE MORE HERE: https://www.business.gov.au/risk-management/emergency-management/coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business

• Support for Sole Traders – https://www.business.gov.au/risk-management/emergency-management/coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business/what-support-is-available-to-your-business

• Support for Businesses – https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/businesses

• Supporting the Flow of Credit – https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/business-investment 

A COVID-19 Business Liaison Unit has been established to assist businesses affected by COVID-19. The Unit can be contacted by email at [email protected] and by phone at 13 28 46.

TRAVEL ADVICE

All travellers to Australia are required to self-isolate for 14 days. For the latest information please head to https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-travellers or if you are feeling unwell, call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.

International Travel Advice

Smart Traveller: https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/COVID-19-australian-travellers
DFAT: https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/news-media/current-alerts/novel-coronavirus

State Travel Restrictions

Many States have chosen to close their borders for all non-essential travel, including Western Australia, South Australia, ACT and Northern Territory, please check their website for the most up to date information:
Western Australia: https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-the-premier-and-cabinet/coronavirus-covid-19-western-australian-government-response
South Australia: https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/emergencies-and-safety/types/human-disease
ACT: https://health.act.gov.au/about-our-health-system/novel-coronavirus-covid-19
Northern Territory: https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/ 

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

A number of businesses are advising of lengthened wait times including Telstra, who will be posting updates as available via https://exchange.telstra.com.au/coronavirus/

GENERAL HEALTH ADVICE

Please stay up to date via the Qld Health website www.health.qld.gov.au/coronavirus or contact 13 HEALTH (13 432584) for the most recent advice. If you are concerned, call the National Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 020 080.

USEFUL NUMBERS

NATIONAL CORONAVIRUS HOTLINE – 1800 020 080
CENTRELINK – 132 850
AUSTRALIAN RED CROSS – 1800 733 276
LIFELINE – 13 11 14
THE SALVATION ARMY – 13 72 58
St VINCENT DE PAUL – 1800 846 643 – Vinnies are not accepting material donation of clothes or household goods for the time being.
QUEENSLAND HEALTH – 13 43 25 84 

FACTSHEETS

The Australian Government is providing more than $320 billion through its economic support plan to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus and help build a bridge to recovery.

Please view the following factsheets for further information:

Information for people including individuals, families, casual workers, sole traders, and retirees whose incomes have been affected:
The following assistance is available for businesses:
General information and assistance: