NSW Premier says further COVID-19 support for small businesses is “imminent”

NSW restrictions

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Source: Women's Agenda.

The New South Wales government will announce further support for businesses struggling amid Sydney’s worsening coronavirus outbreak within the next couple of days.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in a press conference this morning that she and the NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet have had discussions with the federal government about what further support will be provided.

“The New South Wales government has done a lot of work in this regard, and I hope to have something to announce, within the next couple of days, so it’s imminent,” she said.

Berejiklian said the initial business support package, announced two weeks ago, was based on the assumption that the lockdown would last for a fortnight.

“Obviously, what we announce in the next few days will have in mind supporting businesses potentially for a longer period, depending on how long the lockdown lasts,” she said.

The federal government is also expected to announce further support for businesses and households, following a meeting with members of the Expenditure Review Committee on Monday. The meeting comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and state treasurer Dominic Perrottet spoke over the weekend about additional support for businesses.

NSW Health recorded 112 local cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm Sunday night, with at least 34 of those cases exposed in the community while infectious.

Berejiklian said the majority of new cases are occurring in South Western and South Eastern Sydney, and a smaller number of cases have emerged in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.

On Sunday, the federal chief medical officer Paul Kelly confirmed support payments will soon be made available to businesses struggling during the lockdown, which is now expected to be extended beyond three weeks.

“It is very practical support that is happening from the Commonwealth in relation to the situation in Sydney,” Kelly said.

The federal government has so far rejected NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet’s requests to bring back JobKeeper.

Berejiklian said it was too soon to say when the lockdown will end but confirmed the number of COVID-19 cases infectious in the community would need to drop close to zero for restrictions to ease.

On Sunday, NSW Health recorded 42 new local cases of coronavirus that were not in isolation while infectious, and today a further 34 were found to be infectious in the community.

“We don’t know the answer as to how long the lockdown will take at this stage because we need to know. We need to collect the data as to how we can get that number down,” Berejiklian said.

What support should be made available if Sydney’s lockdown continues? Would you like to see JobKeeper-style support for small businesses? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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