State & LGA Government Responses

Response to COVID-19 at a State and Local Level

Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison formed the National Cabinet to formulate and coordinate a national response to the coronavirus pandemic. The National Cabinet comprises the Prime Minister and all state and territory leaders. They meet several time each week via teleconference to discuss what new measures and support schemes need to be rolled out.

In addition to the large scale support implemented by the Federal Government, individual states and territories are continually announcing initiatives to support key sectors, individuals and businesses in their state.

While these are very lengthy and being expanded on a regular basis, we’ve compiled a list of key highlights:-

  • Payroll tax is a state-based tax and as such, all states and territories have implemented payroll tax as a cornerstone of their business support measures. The degree of the relief varies from state to state and includes waivers, deferrals and in some cases refunds. Refer to your individual state government website for details.
  • Free pre-school: to expand on the Federal Government’s childcare support, many states are rolling varying programs for pre-schools including free services for limited periods and for some, for eligible participants.
  • Free accommodation in hotels for frontline workers to protect their loved ones from contracting coronavirus is being offered in some states.
  • New jobs being created in service departments to facilitate the roll-out of services is widely available. This will allow many of those who have lost their jobs to gain work.
  • Major supermarkets creating community hours to allow older people to shop.
  • Direct support for hospitals and front line and allied health workers.
  • Increasing hospital facilities especially ICU, supplies of PPE and ventilators.
  • Support for homeless to find safe shelters.
  • NSW: $10,000 small business grants scheme
  • NSW: Free online TAFE courses
  • NSW: deferral of gaming taxes
  • NSW: deferral of parking space levy
  • NSW: $1+billion support across business
  • Border closures: Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania and Northern Territory closed their borders to non-residents completely. Intrastate travel restricted in WA and to key aboriginal communities across the country.
  • Victoria has announced a $1.7 billion Economic Survival Package https://www.vic.gov.au/workingforvictoria
  • Queensland: $500m worker and job retraining and assistance package
  • Queensland: $1 billion business support package
Please refer to your state government website for latest announcements and details of support that you can access:

Local Government Initiatives

Many local governments are implementing support schemes to cover their jurisdictional areas of responsibility. These include waiving some council charges and other measures.

Of particular importance in some areas has been local councils easing rules around travel of trucks in residential areas at night to allow faster access of food supplies to supermarkets after panic-buying left shelves empty of essential products.

The whole of government support for both individuals and business has been on a massive scale. Some measures have been time-limited but it is generally acknowledged that the length, depth and intensity of this crisis is an unknown factor and additional measures will be required as new needs arise.