Chamber praises economic stimulus package


Hunter Business Chamber Chief Executive Bob Hawes has urged recipients of a $17.6 billion economic stimulus package to invest within the Hunter Region wherever possible.

The Federal Government announced the package last week in response to the coronavirus-hit economy.

It includes household stimulus payments, wage subsidies for apprentices and trainees, cash flow support of up to $25,000 for businesses through tax concessions, and incentives to invest in business equipment via an increase in the instant asset write-off threshold.

Mr Hawes said the chamber was pleased to see measures that would encourage businesses to continue spending and supporting employees.

However, he stressed the importance of consumers shopping at regional retailers, particularly on the back of devastation caused by the bushfires and drought.

“To ensure the benefits of these payments and incentives flow to our local economies, I urge people to look to regional retailers and suppliers first when spending on household goods or investing in new business equipment,” he said.
“It is really important in these challenging times that we all do what we can to sustain local businesses.
“Many of our local economies are already reeling from the impact of drought and bushfire and need our support to trade through the coronavirus threat.

“Even if you are home and shopping on the internet, try to look for a local retailer before you go to one of the big online platforms.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said up to 6.5 million individuals and 3.5 million businesses would be directly supported by the stimulus package.

Eligible welfare recipients, including pensioners, carers, veterans, families, young people and jobseekers, will get a one-off cash payment of $750 on a progressive basis from Tuesday 31 March.

Mr Morrison also confirmed casual workers who contracted COVID-19, or had to isolate themselves, were eligible for a Newstart welfare payment while out of work, and the typical wait time to access it would be waived.

The stimulus package is set to offer further support via a $1 billion commitment to sectors, regions and communities disproportionately affected by the economic impacts of the virus, including those heavily reliant on industries such as tourism, agriculture and education.