The government is working on a second package to cushion the blow of the coronavirus on the economy, focused heavily on small and medium-sized businesses and sole traders.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a second stimulus package while also confirming that the budget will be postponed for the first Tuesday in October.
“We are working on a package that will cushion the blow over the next six months, and will provide the necessary support so people can get on that bridge, to get them to the other side,” PM Morrison said.
“That is focusing heavily on small, medium-sized businesses, sole traders, and it is also providing for the incoming support that will be necessary for those most directly impacted by the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus.”
Also addressing the media, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg hinted that the new package will address the regulation of lending to business.
“We’ll be cutting some red tape because it’s critical that businesses not just have access to capital, but the speed at which that capital is delivered by the banks is as fast as possible.”
The Treasurer confirmed that the budget will not go ahead as planned in May; instead, it is currently scheduled for the first Tuesday in October.
All other states and territories are said to be working to similar timetables.
“Forecasting for budgets is difficult at the best of times, let alone when we’re in the middle of a global pandemic,” Mr Frydenberg said.
Just this morning, the Australian Banking Association (ABA) said that their members will defer loan repayments for six months for small businesses who need assistance because of the impacts of the coronavirus.
Speaking to the media, the Treasurer applauded the move, calling it a “game changer”.
He said: “It will provide a big boost to the confidence of small businesses at this difficult time. The banks have stepped up to the plate and are playing their role as part of Team Australia.
“Small businesses are the backbone of the economy, employing more than 5 million Australians who stand to benefit from this relief.”
On Thursday, the Reserve Bank and the government injected $105 billion of new funding into the financial system to back loans to small businesses.
“The Australian people can be reassured that our financial system remains strong, and our actions have made the system even stronger,” Mr Frydenberg said.
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of My Business.
Maja has an extensive career as a journalist across finance, business and market intelligence. Prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja spent several years unravelling social, political and economic intricacies in Eastern Europe.
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