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Morrison Government announces $8.7bn stimulus package to boost the economy


The Federal Government is set to provide an assistance package valued at $8.7 billion for Australian businesses to soften the blow of recent health scares and natural disasters on the economy.

The Federal Government has launched a new assistance package for businesses that will attempt to stabilise the economy against the market knock-on effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the drought and the nationwide bushfires over the summer.

A combination of business cash payments, apprentice wage subsidies and an expansion to the instant asset write-off program, which covers vehicles, tools and industrial equipment, will aim to encourage businesses to spend and fend off a potential recession.

The cash payments will be given to businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million to support wages and investment during a downturn in activity. Businesses that withhold tax from the Australian Tax Office for employee salary and wages will be provided with a payment equal to 50 per cent of the amount withheld.

The payments will range from $2000 to as high as $25,000. Up to $7000 in wage assistance will be given to apprentices who work in businesses with fewer than 20 full-time workers.

Many quarries have less workers on site due to a reliance on automated technology.

“The stimulus measures announced by the Prime Minister and Treasurer today will reduce the risk of a more severe downturn and the much worse budget outcome that it would bring,” said Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox.

“Continuing to develop skilled trades people through a time of crisis is incredibly important. It will enable companies to thrive when they emerge from the uncertainty and adverse impacts of COVID-19,” Willox said. “Importantly, young people who have started apprenticeships can continue. They will remain employed, continue to develop their skills and be an important part of the recovery post-COVID-19.

“The package is well aimed at an already slowing economy scarred by bushfires and drought and now confronting the escalation of COVID-19 into a global pandemic. Business and consumer confidence, which were fragile as 2019 ended, have now turned down sharply.”

An estimated 690,000 businesses will receive benefits from the scheme when they lodge their business activity statements.


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