The ACT government's coronavirus "economic survival package" will include $150 rebates for all residential rates payers.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the $137 million package was the first phase in the government's plan to protect as many jobs as possible and support households and businesses.
"The spread of COVID-19 is having a profound impact on the way of life in the territory and it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future," he said.
"The economic impacts of the virus will be felt for years. It will require a phased response both before, during and after the anticipated peak in COVID-19 cases across Australia."
"This is a once in a century economic shock, and no level of federal or ACT government stimulus will be able to fully offset the impacts of this global crisis.
"National and territory income will fall. Our stimulus efforts over the next 12-18 months will reduce the impact and support the eventual recovery, but the short term economic situation is grim."
Key initiatives include:
- rebates of $150 on residential rates
- freeze on a number of government fees and charges, including emergency services levy, public transport, registration and parking fees.
- rebate on the fixed charge for 2019-20 on commercial rates for properties with an AUV below $2 million.
- interest free deferrals of payroll tax commencing 1 July 2020 for all businesses up to a payroll threshold of $10 million
- rental support of $250 for all public housing tenants in the coming months, as well as a one-off rebate for residential utility concession holders of $200 to help with power bills.
- new $500,000 round of grants funding for the arts sector.
- an additional payment of $1.5 million, as well as freeing up the existing $1.8 million in the Clubs Diversification Fund, to support clubs to keep staff employed on the clubs award rate
- additional funding of $7 million for our non-government organisation partners to meet increased service demand for emergency relief
Mr Barr said the government would provide all appropriate resources to support Canberra's public health services.
"This includes funding for respiratory assessment clinics, an increase in inpatient beds and ICU capacity across the Territory, maintenance of COVID-19 testing capacity and the purchase of additional medical equipment and supplies," he said.
"The health funding will also involve working with Winnunga Nimmityjah to enable the service to provide a respiratory assessment service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans."
Mr Barr said the ACT Budget later this year and the 2020-21 Budget review will provide further phases of economic support.
Additional measures will continue to be announced as the government engages with various sectors over the coming weeks, he said.
Master Builders ACT CEO Michael Hopkins welcomed the announcement but said more needed to be done to support small businesses and the local construction industry as the crisis developed.
"While these initial measures will assist some businesses, we are urging the government to bring forward further announcements of economic support," he said.
"In order to provide immediate relief to these businesses we would like to see the ACT government provide direct financial support for small construction businesses at risk of closure, on top of the measures announced today."
Unions ACT secretary Alex White said employers needed to use the stimulus to protect jobs.
"It is now up to business executives and employers to do the right thing and protect jobs, rather than hoard cash at the expense of job security for their employees," he said.
"Unions welcome the ACT Government's first stimulus, and we acknowledge that as this crisis unfolds, additional stimulus packages will be announced."
The opposition said the government's package did not reflect the urgency of the situation for many Canberra families.
"A number of the measures announced today will not come into effect until later this year," Opposition Leader Alistair Coe said.
"A $150 rates rebate will not arrive in wallets until August or September. There is little detail about what assistance will be provided to renters. Help is needed now for many households."
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