COVID-19 – New stimulus package welcomed

The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) has welcomed the second ACT Government stimulus package, which focuses on relief to renters and additional funding to community organisations working to see Canberrans through the COVID-19 crisis.

Highlights of the second phase of the ACT Government’s economic survival plan include:

  • In addition to the initial $7 million support for the community sector, an additional $2 million to support the not-for-profit sector to deliver further mental health and community support
  • Financial incentives for residential landlords to significantly reduce rents for struggling tenants
  • $126 million worth of health spending initiatives to support the frontline response to the pandemic, including $23 million to establish a pop-up emergency department dedicated to treating coronavirus patients
  • A 12-month deferral of residential rates bills for households experiencing “significant hardship”. The Government will also delay sending out the next quarterly rates bills by four weeks
  • Chromebooks or similar devices to all students in years four to six and free Wi-Fi in the homes of the most disadvantaged
  • Up to $250,000 for a new fund to assist households facing energy stress as a result of COVID-19 impacts
  • Jobs for Canberrans Fund to allow the ACT Public Service to employ casual workers
  • Additional funding for Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).

ACTCOSS CEO Dr Emma Campbell said: “At a time when thousands of jobs have been lost due to the economic shocks caused by the pandemic, we need to ensure that workers can keep a roof over their heads.

“We also welcome funding for some organisations working at the front line of the crisis, including in domestic violence prevention, youth and family support.

“We also note the Federal Government has announced a childcare package today. We are looking at the details and will work with ACOSS and our members in the ACT to ensure it meets the needs of the ACT childcare sector which has been badly hit,” Dr Campbell concluded.

ACTCOSS advocates for social justice in the ACT and represents not-for-profit community organisations.

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