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Financial aid forthcoming for Sydney workers and businesses under lockdown

Support is on the way for workers and businesses impacted by Sydney’s latest virus lockdown, with both the federal and state government considering options.

A bevy of industry bodies has called for some form of financial assistance, with the damage bill for the lockdown expected to stretch into the hundreds of millions.

It is the city’s first lockdown without the JobKeeper program in place and comes in the final week of end-of-financial-year sales.

NSW Premier says aid is forthcoming

Up to $750 million of “carnage” could be inflicted on retailers alone, the National Retail Association said, while the Accommodation Association says the move has sent occupancy rates plummeting across the country.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, Business NSW and the Committee for Sydney are also among those calling for support to quickly be made available.

In announcing a two-week city-wide lockdown on Saturday afternoon, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said help was on the way.

“Nobody should feel stressed about their financial situation,” she said.

“We will, as a state government in the next few days, be announcing support for businesses. The federal government’s support for households kicks in at a certain time.

“Nobody should feel stressed or pressured to break any of the rules because of their financial situation.”

Federal government support

Federal government assistance of up to $500 – the COVID-19 disaster payment – will kick in on 1 July for those who cannot attend work as a result of lockdown restrictions in the City of Sydney, Waverley, Randwick, Canada Bay, Inner West, Bayside and Woollahra. 

The payment will kick in for eligible people in the other areas under the Greater Sydney lockdown on 4 July.

Those eligible for the payment will receive $500 if they’ve lost 20 hours or more of work, and $325 if they have lost less than 20 hours of work.

To be eligible, people must not have more than $10,000 in liquid assets or be in receipt of other payments.

Further information will be provided in the next week before the payments come into effect, Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud said on Saturday.

The federal government said people may also be eligible for the pandemic leave disaster payment and JobSeeker payment.

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