COVID-19 Update – Australian Government Measures

Apr 15, 2020

Additional information has recently been released regarding the Australian Government’s COVID-19 measures.

The Government is providing information about COVID-19 initiatives in more than sixty (60) languages. This can be accessed via the following links:

https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/translated-coronavirus-covid-19-resources

https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/covid-19/Pages/covid-19-english.aspx?lang=english

The government has also announced temporary changes to visa arrangements to help farmers access the workforce they need to secure Australia’s food and produce supply during COVID-19.

The changes allow those within the Pacific Labour Scheme, Seasonal Worker Program and working holiday makers to continue to work in agriculture and food processing until the coronavirus crisis has passed.

Further information is available via the following link:

https://minister.homeaffairs.gov.au/davidcoleman/Pages/supporting-agriculture-workforce-covid-19.aspx

Hardship Provisions for Energy, Water and Rates

The National Cabinet agreed to a nationally consistent approach to hardship support across the essential services for households and small businesses.

The principles specify that businesses eligible for the JobKeeper payment will automatically be considered to be under ‘financial stress’ for the purposes of accessing hardship arrangements.

https://www.business.gov.au/Risk-management/Emergency-management/Coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business/Help-with-your-energy-bills

Implementation of Visa Arrangements in the Agricultural Sector

The National Cabinet noted the approach to implementing measures to support the agricultural workforce needed to secure Australia food supplies:

  • the Commonwealth has implemented the visa measures and is urgently working on the associated changes to the Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme to ensure appropriate labour market testing continues; and
  • the same conditions that apply under the Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme visa arrangements with regard to approved employers will be carried over to the new visa arrangements, including employer sponsorship to continue the link with the agricultural sector.

National Cabinet agreed that the Australian and state and territory governments will undertake best efforts for these arrangements to be in place by 17 April 2020, or as soon thereafter as practicable.

The following link provides additional information:

https://www.pm.gov.au/media/update-coronavirus-measures-3

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