ACT announces new hardship relief and more events funding

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

The Australian Capital Territory government has announced a new hardship fund for pandemic leave, as well as a further increase to events funding.

Canberrans who are unable to temporarily work under a COVID-19 direction or health guidance will be eligible for payments of up to $1,500, depending on their individual circumstances (such as available sick leave through their employer), the state government said on Monday.

A hardship fund will also be created and made available to casual and part-time workers who have been “among the hardest hit”, with widespread unemployment across a range of sectors.

The ACT government said that after seeing the issues faced in Victoria for individuals reliant on insecure work who may need to take time to quarantine, the fund will be available to help Canberrans who need to take time off work due to public health risks.

Moreover, as part of a suite of measures to support these Canberrans and keep them in employment, the government will deliver further relief for events, as well as a new tourism support package.

“Throughout 2020, we have experienced some of the lowest hotel occupancy rates, with no international visitors coming to Canberra and low numbers of domestic visitors, temporary business closures and major event cancellations,” the state government said in a statement.

“This has had a significant impact on our tourism and hospitality industry, which pre-COVID-19 employed over 18,000 Canberrans, many of which in either casual or part-time roles.”

The ‘Tourism and Hospitality Support’ package, which is designed to protect and create local jobs, will include:

  • The establishment of a tourism cooperative marketing fund to provide matched funding to cooperative marketing projects proposed by ACT tourism operators and attractions.
  • Further tax relief to Canberra’s hotels and hospitality industry through rebates and fee relief.
  • Increased funding for community events and support staffing to deliver the current Events ACT calendar of events throughout the year.
  • Support for a physical distancing technology pilot to help position Canberra to attract new business events in the current environment.

To find out more, visit the business and work hub on the ACT government’s COVID-19 website.

The news comes after the ACT introduced border restrictions on visitors from Victoria, as well as Greater Sydney and Newcastle.

Featured image source: iStock/Mlenny