Which Queenslanders win in PM’s virus cash splash

 

QUEENSLANDERS are set to benefit from the stimulus package, with $750 handouts for pensioners, farmers, students and families, as well as a specific measure targeted at boosting up the state's north.

But the $17.6 billion stimulus announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison was disrupted on day one, as the markets again went into meltdown following big coronavirus news coming out of Europe and the US.

Any initial boost to the Australian stock market was completely wiped out with a $127 billion wipe out after US President Donald Trump announced a 30-day travel ban on Europe.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison (right) and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced a $17.6 billion stimulus package. Picture: AAP Image/Lukas Coch
Prime Minister Scott Morrison (right) and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced a $17.6 billion stimulus package. Picture: AAP Image/Lukas Coch

It comes as the Chief Medical Officer, Reserve Bank boss Philip Lowe and Treasury boss Stephen Kennedy brief the state premiers at the Council of Australian Governments today.

It will focus on co-ordinating health and economic responses to the virus, with further stimulus measures to be discussed. Benefits are still expected to be gained from the massive cash injection announced yesterday, aimed at preventing large-scale job losses caused by the coronavirus economic shock.

There will be more than 1.3 million Queenslanders who will receive the $750 cash payment. It includes 760,000 pensioners, 250,000 Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients, as well as 380,000 others on a range of payments, including farm household allowance, seniors health card, veterans' allowance and family tax benefits.

 

Payments will start going out from March 31 to 6.5 million Australians and cost $4.8 billion. It is part of the $17.6 billion stimulus package, which Mr Morrison confirmed had wiped out the expected budget surplus.

More than $11 billion will be spent in the next three months to boost up the June quarter in a desperate bid to stave off recession.

Mr Morrison said warned the next three months would see the most significant impacts of the coronavirus.

"Australians know that this needs to be the priority and our government agrees with that priority and that's why we've taken the decision to put these measures in place," he said.

Casual workers will have the waiting period to access the existing Sickness Allowance waived.

 

It means they can access a Newstart level payment of $489 a fortnight if they are unable to work due to the virus isolation period.

Deeming rates will also be dropped by 0.5 per cent, which means pensioners will get up to $219 a year or $8.42 a fortnight.

The $1 billion coronavirus community fund targeted at schemes to help regions and industries worst hit by the economic impact of the virus.

 

Details for the specific areas to be targeted and how will be developed with the state and territory governments and overseen by Trade and Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham.

But Mr Morrison said there would be measures specific for north Queensland.

"That will include things like waiving marine park fees and National Park fees in Kakadu and other places," he said. "We're obviously concerned about the impact in places like North Queensland, for example, and that's why we've made the decisions on things like the marine park fees and things like that nature.

 

 

Other measures previously announced include increasing the threshold for the instant asset write-off to $150,000 and allowing all but the biggest Australian companies to access it, up $25,000 to small-to-medium businesses to help cash flow and subsidising half the wages for apprentices until September for companies with 20 full time staff.

Opposition Anthony Albanese took a swipe at the Government for failing to provide any details of the package to the Opposition before the public announcement this morning.

"We need to make sure that we get the health impacts of this coronavirus crisis right as well," he said.

He also called on the government to implement the measures as quickly as possible and guarantee further stimulus if the first round of funds proved insufficient.


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