One NECA

TAS COVID - 19 - 30 March 2020

Key developments in the last 24 hours

State

Tasmanian accommodation operators and non-essential workers

Following consultation with industry and airlines, we have extended the checkout of all non-essential workers and visitors from Sunday 29 March 2020 to 11:59pm Wednesday 1 April 2020.

Accommodation providers continue to be able to offer service to the following:

  • Tasmanian workers;
  • Interstate workers deemed as “Essential Workers”;
  • People that are in a self-isolation period (who must vacate at the end of the 14-day required period);
  • People currently residing permanently at the premises;
  • People that predominantly reside while their principal residence is unavailable; and
  • People currently residing permanently there for compassionate reasons, including emergency accommodation due to an emergency, family violence or vulnerability.

 

Commercial accommodation operators include, for example, hotels, hostels, Air BnB, bed & breakfasts, holiday home rentals and caravan parks offering self-contained cabin type options.

Read more here.

 

27 March Guy Barnett, Minister for Energy

Energy consumers protected

The Tasmanian Government welcomes the Australian Energy Regulator’s Statement of Expectations for energy businesses and is acting to support energy consumers with our $985 million stimulus package that caps energy prices for 12 months and will waive the first quarterly bill after April 1 2020 for small business customers and community service organisations.

Aurora has also established a support fund that will assist Tasmanian residential and small business customers impacted by COVID-19 through actions such as payment plans, freezing debt, bill relief, and waiving fees and charges.

In further support of Tasmanian residential and small business customers, Aurora Energy will not be disconnecting any residential or small business customers, without their agreement during this crisis.

Read more here.

 

Rapid Response Skills Initiative

With a significant numbers of Tasmanians now out of work due to the coronavirus, the existing Rapid Response Skills Initiative will be expanded with an additional $6.3 million to help redeploy people who have lost their job.

To support Tasmanians in these challenging times, $3,000 will be available for individuals to gain skills or licences to help them into a new role.

To help move workers into new jobs as quickly as possible, a Rapid Response Skills Matching Service is established to help match and prepare job ready workers with industries and businesses.

Businesses that have immediate job needs and opportunities available can register for the Rapid Response Skills Matching Service now.

For more information visit www.skills.tas.gov.au

Read more here on Rapid Response Skills Initiative

 

Federal

This is a summary of the latest Federal Government announcements a full update can be seen on the NECA website here.

 

Coronavirus national cabinet - update

The National Cabinet met on 27 and 29 March 2020, the Government is forecasting that we will be living with the virus for at least 6 months. The requirements introduced by Government include:

 

  • Public gatherings, excluding household members, have been reduced to a maximum of two people. Exceptions to this limit include:
  • People of the same household going out together;
  • Funerals - a maximum of 10 people;
  • Wedding - a maximum of 5 people;
  • Family units.

 

Individual States and Territories may choose to mandate and/or enforce this requirement.

  • Short-term intervention is needed for commercial tenancies. Work on this has begun, but there is more to do, including for residential tenancies. National Cabinet agreed to a moratorium on evictions over the next six months for commercial and residential tenancies in financial distress who are unable to meet their commitments due to the impact of coronavirus.

 

National Cabinet agreed to a common set of principles, endorsed by Treasurers, to underpin and govern intervention to aid commercial tenancies as follows:

 

  • a short term, temporary moratorium on eviction for non-payment of rent to be applied across commercial tenancies impacted by severe rental distress due to coronavirus;
  • tenants and landlords are encouraged to agree on rent relief or temporary amendments to the lease;
  • the reduction or waiver of rental payment for a defined period for impacted tenants;
  • the ability for tenants to terminate leases and/or seek mediation or conciliation on the grounds of financial distress;
  • commercial property owners should ensure that any benefits received in respect of their properties should also benefit their tenants in proportion to the economic impact caused by coronavirus;
  • landlords and tenants not significantly affected by coronavirus are expected to honour their lease and rental agreements; and
  • cost-sharing or deferral of losses between landlords and tenants, with Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments, local government and financial institutions to consider mechanisms to provide assistance.
  • Everyone should stay home unless you are: shopping for essentials, receiving medical care, exercising or travelling to work or education. 
  • People aged over 70, aged over 60 with pre-existing conditions, or Indigenous people aged over 50 should stay home wherever possible for their own protection.
  • If you are in self-isolation because you are confirmed or suspected to have Coronavirus (COVID-19), or have been in close contact with a confirmed case,
  • All travellers returning from overseas will be quarantined in a hotel or designated facility for 14 days. 

 

Pubs, licensed clubs and hotels (excluding accommodation), gyms, skateparks, indoor sporting venues, cinemas, beauty salons, play centres and outside playgrounds, places of worship and other public places must be closed. There are restrictions on attendance at weddings, funerals and outdoor fitness classes. Supermarkets and pharmacies remain open. National Cabinet agreed that playgrounds, skate parks and outside gyms in public places will be closed. Bootcamps will be reduced to two persons, including the trainer.

 

For more information visit australia.gov.au

 

National Stimulus Package

The Federal Government has released the ‘Safety Net Package’ which offers more funding and assistance to support our communities during the global health crisis. The new ‘Safety Net Package’ measures include funding for:

  • Medicare support at home – whole of population telehealth 
  • Domestic violence support 
  • Mental health support
  • Relief services for vulnerable Australians

 

See details here  

 

Statement on Schools

Th education system is in a transition phase until the end of term as schools prepare for a new mode of operation following the school holidays. Some States and Territories have moved to pupil-free days, and each State and Territory will come to their own transition arrangements with their workforce for the rest of this term.

 

While the medical advice remains that it is safe for children to go to school, the Government asks that only children of workers for whom no suitable care arrangements are available at home to support their learning, physically attend school.  The Government will continue to meet with education stakeholders to understand the challenges for our communities. That will include the National Cabinet’s consideration of the measures needed for early childhood settings and TAFE.

 

Fairwork Commission bench varies clerks award to address covid-19

 

The Fair Work Commission made a decision on 27 March 2020 to vary the Clerks Private Sector Award to insert a Schedule of special conditions to assist employees adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision allows those special conditions to operate until 30 June 2020.

The special conditions provide flexibilities around hours of work and annual leave to facilitate businesses and their employees being in the best position possible to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic, while retaining the rates of pay for work performed.

 

Government releases new ‘whatsapp’ messaging service

The Federal government has announced new ways to receive official information and advice on COVID-19. The first is a WhatsApp messaging service which can be accessed by visiting australia.gov.au/whatsapp on your smartphone. The second service is an official coronavirus app available on the app store known as ‘Coronavirus Australia’.

 

Energy suppliers pledge to defer bills/disconnections

  • AGL announced the ‘COVID-19 Customer Support Program’ which will fast-track access to a program that defers payments and suspends disconnections until July 31 for customers who may be under financial stress as a result of the pandemic.
  • Origin Energy has pledged new measures that include:
  • no disconnections for any residential and small business customers in financial stress until at least 31 July 2020;  
  • no default listing for any customer who is having trouble paying; 
  • pause to all late payment fees effective immediately.

 

Key past announcements

State

For previous announcements, please visit:

 

Federal

For previous announcements, please visit:

 

NECA Policy proposals/ media releases

Measures to help protect businesses and jobs

NECA has called on the Federal and State Governments to consider a number of measures in an open letter to the Federal Treasurer, the Honourable Josh Frydenberg MP. These measures will help to protect businesses and jobs and support the Australian economy as it rebuilds following the COVID-19 crisis.

Link to media release and letter

 

Liquidated damages arising from delays and stoppages

NECA is seeking urgent clarification from the Federal Government in relation to Liquidated Damages that may be imposed as a result of delays or stoppages arising from the COVID emergency. NECA is seeking protection for sub-contractors caught up in this scenario. Once we have clarification we will advise members.

 

Health advice

Please monitor the following sources for the latest health advice:

 

If you notice a change in the way that you or others around you are thinking and feeling, or you feel that you are not coping, then it is important to talk to a health professional.

You can access a range of telephone and online based supports through:

  • Beyond Blue, 1300 22 46 36
  • Lifeline Australia, 13 11 14
  • Mens Line Australia, 1300 78 99 78
  • Kids Helpline, 1800 551 800

 

NECA has a dedicated webpage for all COVID 19 updates here.

Contacts
NECA
☎:1300 361 099
@:memberservices
✉: 122 Hume Highway, Chullora NSW 2190

 

Made possible by our Business Partners: