Australia and WA coronavirus wrap up.
Wrap up of everything that happened today from Australia coronavirus update to local updates from Mark McGowan and Roger Cook.
The Federal Government has announced its biggest round of COVID-19 financial stimulus to date; with a mammoth $130 billion “JobKeeper” package to give more than 6 million Australians direly needed income support.
Announcing the new measures beside Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in Canberra today, the Prime Minister unveiled the package that would pay eligible businesses $1,500 a fortnight per employee.
“We will pay employers to pay their employees and make sure they do,” Mr Morrison said.
“These businesses and their owners will tell you their employees are their most important asset and this plan is about keeping those businesses together by keeping these employees in these businesses.”
The subsidy will be given to employers to pass on to all employees as a flat rate., no matter their income before the virus hit, representing about 70 per cent of the Australian median wage.
The best way to keep Aussies in jobs
The Treasurer said the new payments would “give working Australians the best chance of keeping their job and being connected to their employers”.- Advertisement –
By paying the employer to then pass on the wage subsidy to the employee, the Government hopes to keep the “link” between employers and their workers.
Rather than help Australians out until the virus ends, and then leaving them to re-apply work if they’ve lost their jobs, this subsidy hopes to enable businesses to keep workers on their payrolls throughout the pandemic.
Who is eligible?
- Businesses with annual revenue of under $1 billion who can demonstrate their turnover has fallen by 30 per cent or more.
- Businesses with annual revenue of more than $1 billion who can demonstrate their turnover has fallen by 50 per cent or more.
- Employees stood down by employers from March 1
- Full and part-time workers, and casuals who have been with employers for 12 months or more
- New Zealanders on the 444 visa
When will it come into place?
- The payments will flow from the first week of M ay and be backdated to today
- The measures will have to pass the parliament and Labor will be engaged directly by the Government with weekly teleconferences
What do you as an employer or employee have to do from here?
- Employers need to register with the Australian Tax Office to declare their eligibility and register with the JobKeeper Program
- Employees need to ring their employers to find out if they are registering to be part of the JobKeeper program
How will this affect the JobSeeker program?
The Prime Minister made it very clear you can’t get the JobKeeper and JobSeeker program at the same time
“That is one of the conditions employees will be working through to make sure they aren’t double counting on those measures,” Mr Morrison said.
“If you have applied to jobseeker through Centrelink, then you can get in touch with your employer and translate across to the other program, that will mean it will take a lot of pressure off Centrelink and the government services system, that will hopefully mean we will be able to move more quickly through those arrangements.”
Business community welcomes measures, but still wants more to be done.
Unions and business leaders have for weeks called for some kind of wage subsidy to keep people in jobs.
The Business Council of Australia today responded to the Federal Government’s announcement saying would help the economy bounce back post-virus.
“This crisis will end and when it does Australia will need businesses and workers that are ready to ramp back up quickly, today’s announcement will make sure they can,” CEO Jennifer Westacott said.
But others, like Victorian Trades Hall secretary Luke Hilikari said the $750 a week subsidy was “not generous enough”.
Watch: Australia’s $130 billion JobKeeper package
Latest confirmed cases in WA
Overnight there were 17 confirmed new cases of the coronavirus in WA.
While Mr McGowan didn’t go into specifics about the new cases as Mr Cook will be addressing the media separately he did confirm that this is a remarkable achievement and that the vast majority of the confirmed cases were linked to travel.
“This is a remarkable result, but we cannot be complacent.”
“But to put things into some perspective of the total confirmed cases in W.A. now 84% are directly linked to either cruise ship travel, overseas travel or interstate travel.“
More to come.
Stage 3 restrictions
As announced by PM Scott Morrison there has been changes to social gathering rules. When out in public only 2 people are allowed to gather (unless from the same household.)
Mr McGowan has confirmed that WA will enforce the new rules announced by the federal government and will be enforcing them from midnight tonight.- Advertisement –
This includes individuals not to use playgrounds and outdoor gym equipment.
These restrictions and the border shutdown will be in place for a minimum of one month.
Mr McGowan also aligned with Mr Morrison with a plea for individuals to stay home unless in the following circumstances:
- Shopping for food and essentials
- Medical care
- Exercise (with a maximum of 2 people)
- Work and education if you can’t learn remotely
Welcome to 2020, a world where we now have Police Drones.
“Today, W.A. police will be launching drones capable of deploying to public areas to broadcast messages to large groups of people not adhering to mass gathering or social distancing rules.”
Mr McGowan also stated the drones will be highly visible, fitted with flashing lights and speakers similar to those on police vehicles and will be able to deliver a message to up to a range of up to a kilometer from their launch.
Lotterywest Coronavirus Fund
Also announced today was a dedicated Lotterywest Coronavirus Fund with $159 million in relief funds.
The funds will be there to provide support to organisations that are helping people experiencing hardship.
Mr McGowan stated “an initial $59 million will be made available for crisis and emergency relief support for eligible, not for profit and community organisations. It will assist with costs related to increased demand for food, clothing, shelter and other critical needs. This funding will also provide urgent financial relief for not-for-profit sports, arts and community organizations experiencing hardship as a result of cancelled events.”
Health Minister Roger Cook announced today 17 West Australians had been diagnosed overnight with the virus, joining 27 passengers from the German Artania cruise ship who will be treated in private hospitals in coming days.
The new findings bring WA’s overall positive coronavirus cases to 355.
Positive test breakdown
Of the 17 local cases, two were from regional WA – one from the Great Southern and the other from the Kimberley.
A further eight cases were linked to overseas cases one from domestic travel and the other four were close contacts of people who had tested positive. The final two cases were healthcare workers.
Of the 27 people from the Artania who tested positive, 14 are passengers and 13 are crew members.
Where are they now?
Mr Cook confirmed that of WA’s “current case-load” six were being treated at Fiona Stanley hospital, four of which were in the ICU and in a critical condition and two were in another ward. Almost 30 patients were transferred to the Joondalup Hospital, and three were in Midland but would soon be transferred to St John of God. A further three were in St Charles Gardner Hospital.
The two in Fiona Stanley not in ICU and the three in St Charles Gardner will be transferred to the Joondalup campus this afternoon.
Most WA cases still linked to those who have travelled
Mr Cook said there was still very limited community spread in WA.
“In fact of the confirmed cases in Western Australia now, 84 per cent are linked to cruise ship travel, overseas travel or interstate travel,” he said.
“Over a third of our cases… have been directly related to cruise ships.”
Mr Cook announced over the coming days, WA’s COVID-19 clinics would be opened to anyone with a fever and acute respiratory symptoms.
“We’re going to expand our testing regime to take in this extra cohort… to make sure we have good line of sight for people in the community suffering from COVID-19,” he said.
“We’ll also be testing anyone returning from travel in the past 14 days and their close contacts.”
Any health care workers and police offices who have either a fever or respiratory symptoms will be admitted for testing.
There are about 109 ventilators in the metro public health system, making up the majority of the 146 available across the State.
A further 50 ventilators are “in stock” and another 300 have been ordered.
On the most recent stocktake, there are three to 10 weeks supply of stock for personal protective equipment.
Local industries in WA are also reaching out to help, with some businesses offering to make facemasks and sanitiser.
The latest Coronavirus count in Australia
There are currently 4,111 confirmed cases in Australia.
- NSW: 1,918
- VICTORIA: 821
- ACT: 78 – First death recorded in the territory today
- SA: 305
- QLD: 689
- TAS: 66 – First death recorded in the territory today
- WA: 355
- Total deaths 18
More coronavirus coverage on SoPerth.com.au
Latest Perth coronavirus news and advice.