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(Image: Getty)

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has finally unveiled the specific details of the government’s stimulus package in response to the coronavirus, after days of speculation and backgrounding.

Here’s the basics of what Morrison and his team have announced:

  • The stimulus package will be worth $17.6 billion
  • Three-quarters of the stimulus will go to businesses
  • Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said $11 billion will have been injected into the economy by June
  • About 700,000 businesses will be able to access cash payments of between $2,000 and $25,000
  • Eligible employers can apply to have 50% of an apprentice’s or trainee’s wages subsidised for up to nine months from January 1 this year
  • The government is increasing the instant asset write-off threshold to $150,000 (it was previously $30,000), and expanding it to include businesses with annual turnover of less than $500 million, up from $50 million
  • There will be a sickness allowance for people who can’t work and have no access to sick leave, such as casuals. It will be means tested, ranging from $559 per fortnight for a single person with no children, to $604 for single people with children or who are over 60 and under pension age
  • There will be a stimulus payment of up to $750 to households who receive a whole range of welfare payments — including pensioners, those on Newstart, family tax benefits and veteran support payments. These payments will start from March 31
  • The government will be lowering the deeming rate (what the government deems to be your income from financial assets) for social security payments. Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said that as a result around 900,000 people — 565,000 pensioners and 323,000 who receive other payments — will have their fortnightly payments increased
  • An initial $1 billion will be put into a “coronavirus fund” aimed at promoting domestic tourism and waiving certain fees for tourism businesses. This will be regionally targeted, and is aimed at tourism operators in National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef marine park
  • The measures are temporary, and will expire in June next year.

All this was delivered amidst slaps at the media and Labor, because why not?

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Morrison encouraged Australians to get their information from trusted sources rather than “rubbishy media reports”, and insisted, pointedly, “the way we’ve designed this stimulus is to ensure that it doesn’t have a fiscal hangover down the track, that it doesn’t bury the budget for a decade”.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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