Government response to COVID-19, 26 March 2020



Contents

  • Federal government update
  • Tourism sector update
  • Key government announcements for business (download the pdf to gain full information)

Federal Government

National COVID-19 Commission

  • The Commonwealth Government has established a new National COVID-19 Coordination Commission that will coordinate advice to the Government on actions to anticipate and mitigate the economic and social effects of the pandemic.
  • Mr Neville Power has been appointed Chair. The other members of this board are Greg Combet; Jane Houlton, whose last role was as head of the Finance Department; Paul Little, former head of Toll; Katherine Tanner, head of Energy Australia and who sits on the Reserve Bank of Australia board. The deputy chair of the organisation will be Mr David Thodey, chair of the CSIRO. The board will be joined by Phil Gaetjens as the Secretary of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and the Secretary of the Home Affairs Department, Mike Pezullo. – Prime Minister of Australia, 25 March 2020

Coronavirus Economic Response package passes Federal Parliament

  • The Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus Act 2020 legislative package implementing the Government’s economic response to the spread of the Coronavirus, which the Government announced between 12 and 22 March 2020, received assent from the Governor-General on 24 March 2020. – Federal Parliament, 24 March 2020

Tourism, accommodation and short-term rentals

Tourism Australia webinar with Minister Birmingham

  • On Friday 27 March, Minister Birmingham will talk about different government initiatives in response to COVID-19.
  • This is the first of weekly webinars that Tourism Australia will be hosting to update the industry on the latest announcements and measures being made to support industry during this crisis – Tourism Australia

Victorian Accommodation Inventory

  • Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) has been approached to assist the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions to quickly secure inventory so that they can provide accommodation as a precautionary quarantine measure for the purposes of self-isolation, housing vulnerable people, and/or to support essential service workers.
  • The government will support this initiative and will provide a financial contribution to secure these rooms for a period of time, initially up to a three-month period.
    • They are prepared to offer $120 per room per night (inclusive of GST) for a committed period of 3 months, with potential for further activation depending on future need.
  • They are working as quickly as possible to provide extra capacity and will need accommodation providers in both metropolitan Melbourne and regional communities to provide information on the inventory they are prepared to contribute to this effort quickly, so they can understand where there is available supply and the types of room available.
  • In this initial phase, government will be seeking to secure 1000 rooms for this inventory pool, with the potential for more as demand dictates.
  • At this stage it is only VTIC that has been requested to facilitate this offer.
  • It’s possible that this concept will be extended to other facilities such as convention centres, who are already part of emergency response plans for other critical events requiring evacuation and sheltering.

Accommodation Association of Australia offer to federal government

  • On behalf of Quest Apartment Hotels, the Accommodation Association of Australia (AAA) made a formal offer to the federal government last week to turn up to 80 of its hotels into quarantine or isolation facilities as they require them.
  • Western Australian Premier, Mark McGowan, on Sunday warned his state government was looking at acquiring hotels for the purpose of quarantining people.
  • Again, this concept to be extended to include other facilities such as convention centres.

– Australian Financial Review, 23 March 2020

Postponement of September local government elections in NSW

  • The NSW Government has made the decision to postpone the September local government elections for 12 months in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The NSW Electoral Commissioner has also requested that the Government postpone the council elections.

Minister for Local Government, 25 March 2020

Please download the entire Government response to COVID-19, 26 March 2020 in pdf