The Federal Government will seek to make sure apprentices can keep their jobs amid fears the spread of the coronavirus could have a crippling effect on employment.
- The Government will offer up to $7,000 per apprentice per quarter to keep them in work
- It hopes the money will protect the jobs of around 120,000 apprentices across the country
- The Government is also expected to announce temporary tax relief to encourage spending
The ABC understands the stimulus package, which Prime Minister Scott Morrison will announce tomorrow, will be worth more than $15 billion, spread over this financial year and until at least March next year.
The details of that package remain unclear, however, it will include $1.3 billion in support payments to keep almost 120,000 apprentices employed.
The package will include up to $21,000 per small business apprentice to help employers keep these people in work.
Small business apprentices
The businesses will receive $7,000 per quarter, backdated from the start of the year, until the end of September.
The Government wants its stimulus to be temporary and offer an immediate boost to the economy rather than making permanent changes to the budget.
Welfare recipients, including pensioners and those on Newstart, will receive one-off payments.
Medium and big business will be encouraged to spend on equipment and other investments through an extension of the instant asset write-off, which means they can claim a tax break for what they spend.
This is currently restricted to companies with turnovers of up to $50 million, for maximum investments of $30,000.
The ABC understands this will be significantly lifted, allowing companies with turnovers of up to $500 million to make assets write-offs of up to $150,000.
An adjustment to the deeming rate, to compensate for the Reserve Bank’s slashing of the official rate to a new low last week, will also be included in tomorrow’s announcement.
Sectors that are experiencing a severe downturn, like tourism, will be given incentives to place employees in training rather than laying them off.
Stimulus to include apprentice subsidies
Mr Morrison said the stimulus package would have three priorities: keep people in work, keep businesses open and ensure the economy bounces back when the spread of the disease abates.
“We want to ensure that as we go through these difficult months and quarters ahead, that young people and apprentices will be able to continue in those apprenticeships as we go through this very difficult period,” he said.
“As a result, we’ll be ensuring that we will provide a wage subsidy which will support 117,000 apprentices right across Australia.
“Working with small businesses employing less than 20 employees, we will be ensuring that we provide a wage subsidy of around 50 per cent of their wage.”
Ahead of Thursday’s stimulus announcement, Mr Morrison confirmed the Government would spend $2.4 billion on healthcare costs associated with the disease.
The Government on Wednesday also added Italy to the list of countries, including China, Iran and South Korea, facing travel bans.
Those travel bans, which require foreign nationals to spend a fortnight in a third country before travelling to Australia, are due to expire on Saturday.
Cabinet’s national security committee will meet on Thursday to consider the latest health advice and determine if an extension to those travel bans is needed.
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