The government is due to announce a new package in the next few days, aimed to ensure businesses forced to close as a result of the lockdown measures are able to resume operating and rehire following the coronavirus, without overbearing debts.
Speaking to media following a national cabinet meeting, Scott Morrison said: “The Treasurer and I will have more to say about that in the next few days, as we are preparing to put in place the third tranche of the measures that will be.
“Part of that plan that we will be announcing will be to seek to hibernate Australian businesses.”
Essentially, the PM explained, the hibernation period will mean that businesses are able to come out at the other end of this crisis as unscathed as possible.
“We want these businesses to effectively go into hibernation, which means on the other side, the employees come back, the opportunities come back, the economy comes back,” he said.
Asked whether this could mean businesses will emerge out of the crisis debt-free, the PM said: “There will be a burden for everyone to share and that will include the business as well.”
Banks and landlords are also expected to bear some of the brunt.
The PM said: “There will be landlords who will suffer, either the banks will be having to make arrangements with them, whether councils are involved in providing waivers on rates and things of that nature… whether land tax will be relieved for those who have tenants in a distressed situation.
“All of these things are what we’re having to work through and it’s not a simple process.”
He confirmed that the plan will include support from states and territories, especially on the issue of commercial and residential tenancies.
With more details expected in the coming days, the PM said: “We want Australia to rise again, on the other side of this.”