Changes To Restrictions In Regional NSW And Government Support Packages




Key Member Takeaways

  • Stay-at-home restriction for the Port Macquarie-Hastings, Muswellbrook, Oberon, Snowy Monaro, Bathurst Regional, Bourke, Central Coast, City of Cessnock, Dubbo Regional, Eurobodalla, Goulburn Mulwaree, Kiama, City of Lake Macquarie, City of Lithgow, City of Maitland, City of Newcastle, Port Stephens, Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional, City of Shellharbour, City of Shoalhaven and Wingecarribee Local Government Areas (“LGAs”).

  • The stay-at-home order lifted for Kempsey, Mid-Western Regional, Hilltops, Walgett and parts of Central Darling Shire LGAs.

  • General concepts of upcoming rules for business re-opening on 11 October under the Roadmap.

  • Transcript of part of the NSW press conference on 29 September 2021 (in relation to the general concept of the upcoming rules) is attached.

  • COVID-19 financial support may be scaled down after the 70% and 80% double dose rate.

1.         Stay-at-home restriction for parts of Regional NSW
 
1.1       The Port Macquarie-Hastings and Muswellbrook LGAs are under a 7-day stay-at-home restriction from 6pm on Tuesday, 28 September 2021. The stay-at-home restriction will also apply to anyone who has been in the Port Macquarie-Hastings and Muswellbrook LGAs since 17 September 2021 and 22 September 2021 respectively.
 
1.2       The Oberon LGA is under a 7-day stay-at-home restriction from 6pm on Tuesday, 29 September 2021. The stay-at-home restriction will also apply to anyone who has been in the Oberon LGA since 20 September 2021.
 
1.3       the Snowy Monaro LGA is under a 7-day stay-at-home restriction from 3pm on Thursday, 30 September 2021. These stay-at-home orders also apply to anyone who has the Snowy Monaro LGA since 22 September 2021.
 
1.4       The Bathurst Regional, Bourke, Central Coast, City of Cessnock, Dubbo Regional, Eurobodalla, Goulburn Mulwaree, Kiama, City of Lake Macquarie, City of Lithgow, City of Maitland, City of Newcastle, Port Stephens, Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional, City of Shellharbour, City of Shoalhaven, Wingecarribee, Menindee and Wilcannia LGAs will continue to be under the stay-at-home restriction until 11 October 2021.
 
 
2.         Stay-at-home restriction lifted for parts of Regional NSW
 
2.1       The stay-at-home restriction lifted for:

  • the Kempsey LGA from 12:01am on Wednesday, 29 September 2021.

  • the Mid-Western Regional, Hilltops and Walgett LGAs from Friday, 1 October 2021.

  • parts of the Central Darling Shire LGA (except for the Wilcannia and Menindee towns therein) from Friday, 1 October 2021. The town of Wilcannia will remain in lockdown until 11 October 2021 and the town of Menindee will remain in lockdown until 7 October 2021.

 
2.2       These LGAs will nevertheless continue to operate under some restrictions to ensure community safety.
 
 
3.         General concepts of upcoming rules for business re-opening on 11 October under the Roadmap
 
3.1       General concepts of upcoming rules for businesses re-opening from 11 October 2021 were announced during the NSW press conference on 29 September 2021.
 
3.2       Health NSW is still formulating advice to the NSW government, with more information to be conveyed to the public when available. Subject to any change, the general concepts of the upcoming rules are currently being considered and are as follows:
 

  • Proof of vaccination: Indoor face covering, COVID-Safety Plan and QR Code check-in will remain in place subject to these proposed changes:

    • The Service NSW application will be updated to include vaccination status.

    • Large business will be expected to have a staff member checking as visitors or customers come in. For very small business, that expectation is less.

    • There will be extra onus/obligation on individuals to demonstrate that they are fully vaccinated or have a medical contradiction.

    • We will update Members on the requirements and restrictions of vaccination for employees once the details are made available.

 

  • Isolation and venue of concern: The NSW government will provide to business with a matrix in relation to staff isolation and business shutdown when there is a positive case:

    • Close contact at a venue of concern may be required to isolate for 2 weeks. A workplace having indoor mask wearing and fully vaccinated employees on site will less likely to have self-isolation requirement imposed in the event of a positive case. The definition of close contact will be changed once NSW has achieved 70%, 80% and 90% of the double dose vaccination rate.

    • A business venue with a positive case may or may not be required to shut down for cleaning. This will depend on the risk setting of a particular business operation. Some settings like health care, disability, aged care will require a more precautionary approach. In other settings where everyone is fully vaccinated, a less precautionary approach is taken.

    • This appears to incentivise businesses to allow only fully vaccinated individuals into their premises during the First and Second Stages in the Roadmap.

 

  • LGA lockdown and contact tracing: From 11 October 2021, the stay-at-home-order will be lifted across NSW. Contact-tracing would be scaled back. A local government area with positive cases may no longer be in lockdown. As for the LGAs of Concern, we will update Members of additional restrictions (if any) imposed once more information are made available by the NSW government.

 
3.3       For more information on the general concepts of the upcoming rules, click HEREto read the attached transcript for part of the NSW press conference on 29 September 2021.
 
 
4.         COVID-19 financial support would be scaled down after the 70% and 80% double dose rate

 
4.1       The Commonwealth-funded COVID-19 disaster payment currently gives $750 a week to people who have lost at least 20 hours of work, and $450 a week to those who have lost between eight and 20 hours. However, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg had recently announced that:

  • when a State and Territory reaches the 70% double dose rate for those aged 16 and over, people will have to reapply each week for the payment, instead of it being automatically renewed.

  • when a State and Territory reaches the 80% double dose rate for those aged 16 and over, the payments are subject to the followings:

    • First week –the payment will drop to a flat rate of $450 for anyone who has lost more than eight hours of work a week. The supplement for welfare recipients will drop from $200 a week to $100 a week.

    • Second week – the payment will drop again for those who have lost at least eight hours of work to $320 a week, while welfare recipients will receive no extra support.

    • Third week – the payment will be phased out entirely and workers will have to apply for unemployment benefits if they need financial support.

 
4.2       The pandemic leave disaster payment, which gives $1,400 a fortnight for anyone who cannot work because they have to isolate, quarantine or care for someone with COVID-19, will remain in place until 30 June 2022.
 
4.3       As for JobSaver, the Federal government will cease its 50% contribution when NSW reaches 80% of double dose rate for those aged 16 and over, whereupon the NSW government will then continue to maintain its 50% contribution until 30 November 2021 but the payments will be tapered from 30% to 15% of weekly payroll as per the table below:
 

JobSaver (excluding extension program)
 

Share of weekly payroll

Weekly payment range (paid fortnightly)

Weekly payments to non-employing business (paid fortnightly)

Current
 

40%

$1,500 to $100,000

$1,000

10 October
 

30%

$1,125 to $75,000

$750

80% double dose
 

15%

$562.50 to $37,500

$350

30 November
 

nil

nil

nil

 
4.4       The Federal government is yet to announce the future of business support payments, which are jointly funded by the Commonwealth and states and territories.
 
When more information for the upcoming rules and financial support are available, MTA NSW will provide further updates for Members to plan their business operations ahead.
 
If a Member has any question or query then please contact the MTA NSW Employment Relations at P: (02) 90169000 or at E: [email protected]



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