Date posted: 12/07/2021 3 min read

Australian government plays no favourites when helping NSW. Could data-sharing help?

Many businesses and workers struggling with the three-week lockdown in Greater Sydney will be disappointed with the initial outcome of discussions between the NSW and Federal government, says Chartered Accountants ANZ.

In Brief

  • The Prime Minister announced the relaxation of the less than $10,000 liquid asset test occurs from Week 3 of a lockdown
  • The Federal Treasurer has said there’ll be no return to JobKeeper
  • Members are keen for more details about eligibility of NSW small business grants package

Recent events in Melbourne and Sydney have again highlighted problems with Federal – State relations during COVID, especially when State and Territory leaders appeal for Federal financial assistance targeted to hot spot locations. And as the Prime Minister indicated, it’s time for State and Territories to draw upon their own balance sheets when dealing with localised COVD breakouts. 

The Federal Treasurer has also said there’ll be no return to JobKeeper. 

The NSW Treasurer is grappling with the eligibility design of his Small Business Assistance Grants package, with NSW accountants keen to learn more details about eligibility, particularly the ascertainment and measurement of the turnover decline necessary to access funds. 

One interesting topic Dominic Perrottet could explore with his Federal counterpart is whether the ATO’s JobKeeper turnover reporting functionality can be switched back on to provide the States and Territories with the necessary data, without the accompanying JobKeeper payment.

For workers, whilst today’s announcement by the Prime Minister will help some access the Commonwealth COVID-19 Disaster Payment, the relaxation of the less than $10,000 liquid asset test occurs only from Week 3 of a lockdown. Hospitality workers are again hit hard, and will continue to seek work outside the sector. 

Job seekers in Greater Sydney will not face payment suspension or financial penalties for failing to meet their mutual obligation requirements. But this measure again reflects the Morrison Government’s desire to treat each State and Territory the same, has been applied before to NSW, and follows similar relief for those in Victoria, Queensland, West Australia and the Northern Territory.

Attention will now focus on the outcome of ongoing discussions which both the NSW Premier and the Prime Minister said would be held between the two governments.

Meanwhile Chartered Accountants throughout NSW are busy helping business clients with practical cost reduction advice – advice which typically includes stand downs, requests for rent relief and forbearance by creditors (including the ATO).

The proposed (but not promised) end of the Greater Sydney lockdown – Friday 16 July 2021 – cannot come quickly enough.  

COVID-19 Disaster Payment

The general eligibility rules to receive the payment and liquid asset rules

Find out more

Related reading: Accountants Daily 

Read Michael Croker’s commentary in Accountants Daily on the announcement

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