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Question and Answer Tracking Details


Latham, Mark to the Minister for Finance and Small Business representing the Treasurer

(1) In June and July 2021 what economic modelling did the Treasurer receive concerning the Greater Sydney lockdowns?

(a) What did the modelling show in terms of the following:

(i) Economic damage?

(ii) Welfare payment needs?

(iii) Alternative policy approaches?

(b) What are the details?

(2) When was the modelling received by the Treasurer?

(3) Why hasn’t the modelling been published for the benefit of the people of New South Wales?

(4) What analysis and results were received concerning the health impacts of the loss of economic activity from the lockdowns?

(a) What are the details?

(5) What action has the Treasurer taken, in response to modelling, to alleviate the economic, social and health damage of lockdowns?

Answer -

(1) NSW Treasury provides regular updates on the NSW economy to the NSW Treasurer. These updates include information on the cost of restrictions and the impact of emergencies such as the COVID-19 outbreak on the NSW economy. The estimated direct cost of the domestic public health restrictions on local mobility and gathering at the end of July was around $1.3 billion per week.

(2) NSW Treasury provides economic updates to the Treasurer on an ongoing basis.

(3) Treasury’s modelling has not been provided publicly because it is Cabinet in Confidence.

(4) The ABS Household Impacts of Covid-19 Survey includes information on the health impacts of the loss of economic activity from public health restrictions.

(5) Below is a list of all the new support measures that the NSW Government has put in place to alleviate the economic, social and health damage of the lockdowns:

2021 COVID-19 Business Grant

  • One off grant of $7,500 to $15,000 (depending on decline in turnover) to support businesses in NSW that have experienced reduced demand or had to close due to the public health orders. It will provide businesses with cash flow support for the first 3 weeks of the Greater Sydney lockdown (26 June to 17 July 2021).

2021 COVID-19 JobSaver Payment

  • Fortnightly payments of 40% of pre–COVID NSW weekly payroll, from $1,500 to $100,000 per week (paid fortnightly); $1,000 weekly for non-employing business. This support is for businesses in NSW (total revenue from $75,000 to $250m) to maintain their employee headcount who have experienced a decline in turnover of 30 per cent or more over a minimum 2 week period of the Greater Sydney lockdown.

2021 COVID-19 Micro-Business Grant

  • Fortnightly grant of $1,500 to micro-business (small business, sole trader or not-for-profit organisation with aggregated annual turnover between $30,000 and $75,000) impacted by the recent COVID-19 restrictions to cover business expenses for the duration of the Greater Sydney lockdown.

NSW contribution to Commonwealth COVID Disaster Payments

  • NSW to provide COVID-19 Disaster Payments to eligible individuals outside declared hotspots who are unable to earn an income due to the COVID-19 restrictions from 23 June 2021 for a period of 6 six-weeks (from 4 July 2020). Payments are tiered based on hours of work lost and range from $325 - $750 a week.

(i) Negotiations with the Commonwealth lead to agreement on 27 July to pay $200 per week to existing income-support recipients (although this cohort would remain ineligible for the full CDP).

(ii) Further costing exercises were undertaken to estimate the value of NSW’s contribution to the expanded CDP package announced by the Commonwealth on 28 July. This included: the cost of extending CDP until 28 August, higher payment rates from early August (for non-hotspot residents) and the $200 weekly payment to income-support recipients (in non-hotspot areas).

Payroll Tax Support

  • A 25% reduction in FY22 payroll tax for eligible businesses that have a 30%decline in turnover due to COVID-19 restrictions and pay Australian wages up to $10 million.
  • NSW businesses have the option of deferring payroll tax payments until 7 October 2021.
  • Interest free 12-month repayment plans for deferred payroll tax.

Support for Commercial Leases

  • No lockouts or evictions of impacted tenants prior to mediation for commercial and retail tenancies. Up to 100 per cent land tax concessions for landlords who provide rental relief.

Support for Residential Leases

  • Protection from eviction for residential tenants who have suffered a 25 per cent or more loss of income due to the lockdown.
  • Landowners can access either:

(i) Up to $1,500 grant per residential tenancy to residential landowners who do not pay land tax, or;

(ii) Land tax relief up to 100 per cent of their 2021 land tax liability to landowners who reduce rent for COVID-19 affected tenants between 1 July and 31 December 2021.

Mental Health Support in partnership with the Commonwealth

  • NSW, in partnership with the Commonwealth, to fund increased support for health, wellbeing and mental health in highly impacted LGAs. This support includes boosting Lifeline, Beyond Blue, Headspace, Kids Helpline and Butterfly Foundation and funding a range of NGOs (Sonder, Gidget Foundation, Tresillian to provide free counselling and support to people in isolation and new parents.
  • As part of a joint Commonwealth and NSW Government package worth $17.35 million, NSW will provide $5.1m for a range of mental health services across NSW.

Support for Vulnerable Refugees, Asylum Seekers & Temporary Visa Holders

  • $6m available for NGOs to provide additional emergency relief support to vulnerable temporary visa holders, asylum seekers and refugees for the duration of the health restrictions and recovery period. These supports include providing emergency relief for food, medical supports (including mental health), transport assistance and essential housing (to maintain tenancies and for crisis accommodation).

CALD Outreach and Communications

  • $4.5 million for media and communications to deliver COVID-19 information and updates about the public health orders to CALD communities

Food relief package

  • A further $2.5 million package to deliver food relief, including food hampers, cooked meals and food vouchers to those most in need. Foodbank and OzHarvest engaged to provide support.

Expansion of Temporary Accommodation Programs

  • Additional funding for temporary accommodation for people at risk of homelessness during the extended lockdown period.

Rent Choice

  • Further 990 rental subsidy packages with a focus on young people aged 16-24 and on families escaping family violence to assist them to pay rent and stay in their homes.

Gaming Machine Tax Deferrals

  • Gaming machine tax deferral for clubs until December 2021 and gaming machine tax deferral for hotels until 21 January 2022.

Support for Accommodation Providers

  • Available from later in the year through Service NSW for providers that can demonstrate room cancellations during the school holiday period (26 June –11 July). The support is $2,000 for losses of up to 10 room nights or $5,000 for 11 or more room nights.

Support for the Performing Arts Sector

  • Tailored payments to non-profit, commercial theatres and commercial music venues to help with the cost of current productions impacted by the lockdown. Cash payments are calculated based on a proportion of the likely revenue lost due to cancelled/postponed performances from the beginning of the COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Extension of Dine & Discover to 31 August 2021
  • The Dine & Discover program has been further extended to 31 August 2021 and Dine vouchers can now be redeemed for takeaway with delivery preferred.

Question asked on 26 July 2021 (session 57-1) and published in Questions & Answers Paper No. 548
Answer received on 16 August 2021 and published in Questions & Answers Paper No. 563