Treasurer Josh Frydenberg described Australia’s national debt – the deepest since World War II – as “manageable” at his economic update today, but warned “we’re not out of the woods yet” in terms of the impacts of coronavirus.
Here are the key numbers from Mr Frydenberg’s budget update:
- Budget deficits of $85.8 billion in 2019-20 and $184.5 billion in 2020-21.
- Net debt of $488.2 billion at 30 June 2020 (24.6% of GDP) and $677.1 billion (35.7% of GDP) the following year.
- Tax receipts are expected to be down $31.7 billion in 2019-20 and $63.9 billion in 2020-21.
- Real GDP, a key measure of economic growth, will fall 3.75% by 31 December, although it’s forecast to recover by 2.50% in 2021.
- Unemployment is set to peak at 9.25% in the December quarter.
The Government’s support measures, such as the extension of JobKeeper until March 2021, has contributed to a hit to the bottom line on the budget, but Mr Frydenberg said earlier this week that this was necessary in order to cushion the financial blow for millions of Australians.
In his budget update today, the Treasurer said the estimated total cost of the JobKeeper program would be $85.7 billion over 2019‑20 and 2020‑21.
If you are one of the millions of Australians in need of financial support from the government due to the coronavirus pandemic, below we have broken down some of the key dates and information all in one spot.
An extension of the withdrawal deadlines for the early release of super and an additional cash payment to some Victorian residents are just some of the changes to come out of this week’s government updates.
Key information and expiry dates for government COVID support and relief packages
The following list was compiled by Canstar and is based on the latest updates to official government resources as at the time of writing. There may also be other financial assistance available to you – check with your local government or financial institution.
30 March 2020 to 27 September 2020
Eligible businesses can access Federal Government payments of $1,500 per fortnight for six months, for eligible employees.
28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021
The JobKeeper payment will be reduced to $1,200 per fortnight for eligible employees working more than 20 hours per week and $750 per fortnight for those working less than 20 hours per week.
4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021
The JobKeeper figures will be revised down to $1,000 per fortnight for those working more than 20 hours per week and $650 for those working less than 20 hours per week.
27 April to 24 September 2020
Those currently eligible for JobKeeper can access a payment of up to $1,162 per fortnight, depending on their circumstances. This includes a fortnightly JobSeeker payment of up to $612 for single people who have dependent children or are at least 60 years old, with an additional $550 from the Coronavirus Supplement.
25 September to 31 December 2020
From late September, the coronavirus supplement will be reduced to $250 per fortnight for eligible recipients. The fortnightly JobSeeker payment of up to $612 will remain the same, with an additional $250 from the Coronavirus Supplement, meaning JobSeeker recipients will be able to access up to $862 a fortnight.
27 April to 24 September 2020
A fortnightly payment of $550 if you already receive an eligible income support payment such as JobSeeker.
25 September to 31 December 2020
The coronavirus supplement will be reduced to $250 per fortnight for eligible recipients.
Early Access to Superannuation
20 April to 30 June 2020
Eligible individuals could request to access up to $10,000 from their superannuation.
1 July to 31 December 2020
In the budget update today, the Treasurer said individuals who are still financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic would have more time to apply for the early release of up to $10,000 of superannuation in the 2020-21 financial year, with the application deadline extended from 24 September to 31 December 2020.
→ Related story: Can I withdraw my super early? COVID-19 Hardship Deadline Extended
Construction starts within 3 months of contract date
HomeBuilder is a Federal Government grant of $25,000 for eligible owner-occupiers (including first home buyers) to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing home.
Eligibility criteria include that applicants must sign a building contract between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020, and that construction must commence within three months of the contract date.
→ Related story: HomeBuilder scheme explained for homebuyers and renovators
COVID-19 Household Utility Relief
April and May, depending on where you live
Queensland households will automatically receive a $200 rebate, credited to their electricity bills, to help offset household electricity and water costs.
Regional Queensland residential customers would have started seeing the utility rebate appear from April 2020 onwards, depending on their individual electricity bill cycle, while South East Queensland customers would have begun seeing the credit on their electricity bill from May 2020, depending on when they are due to receive their bill.
Special COVID-19 Rates Rebate
First two quarters of 2020-21
In Queensland, rate-paying residents in the Brisbane City Council area will receive a rebate in the first two quarters of 2020-21 to ensure rates are not more than they were in April 2020.
On its website, the Brisbane City Council described this as “a six month rates freeze” and provided a list of the specific rates that would be eligible for the rebate.
Council’s JobSeeker Rebate
Own and live in property, and receive JobSeeker from 1 July 2020 – 30 June 2021
Brisbane City Council ratepayers can also claim a one-off $250 JobSeeker Rebate.
To be eligible for the Council’s JobSeeker Rebate, you need to own and live in a property within Brisbane City Council’s boundary and provide proof of a Commonwealth Government JobSeeker Payment from between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021.
Energy Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA)
Energy Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA) is a NSW Government scheme which provides a $50 voucher to people experiencing short-term financial crisis or emergency, such as a reduced income due to COVID-19.
It is for NSW residents with an electricity or natural gas account for a NSW residential address which is their primary place of residence. The vouchers are sent electronically to eligible residents’ energy retailer and applied as a credit to their account, according to the scheme’s website.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Worker support payment
Isolated or in quarantine as of 20 June 2020
The Department of Health and Human Services in Victoria is providing a one-off $1,500 payment designed to financially support Victorian workers who, as of 20 June, have been instructed by the department to self-isolate or quarantine at home.
From 23 July 2020, for workers without sick leave
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced today a new $300 payment for anyone who has taken a coronavirus test and needs to self-isolate, but doesn’t have sick leave to fall back on.
If they receive a positive test, they will also be eligible for the $1,500 payment.
Delay of Q4 residential rates and land tax assessments
In Canberra, the ACT Government recently announced that residents facing financial hardship could apply for their rate payments to be deferred for up to a year, interest-free, to provide cash flow support to households.
Rates rebate in the ACT
From 1 July 2020
From 1 July 2020, a rates rebate of $150 will be automatically applied to all residential properties in the Australian Capital Territory.