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Federal business handouts to end as NSW hits COVID-19 vaccine targets

Businesses are expected to see a sharp lift in their turnover levels, making them ineligible for the payments.

But the Berejiklian government is putting together its own support package to help businesses affected by the lingering impact of lockdowns, which is expected to be announced on Thursday.

Mr Frydenberg said under the national plan for the reopening of the economy, federal contributions to business support programs would end.

“At this point it will be a matter for each state to decide whether any additional targeted business support is needed in their jurisdictions as a result of any health restrictions they elect to impose,” he said.

“We can’t eliminate the virus, we need to learn to live with it in a COVID-safe way. Our economy has bounced back strongly before once restrictions are eased and is well-positioned to do so again when lockdowns lift.”

The winding down of the business support is in line with the federal government’s decision this week to gradually end COVID disaster payments which are made directly to individuals.

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The disaster payment provided $450 a week to those who have lost fewer than 20 hours of work a week and $750 for those who have lost more. Those on income support have received an extra $200 a week.

Under this scheme, people will have to reapply each week to continue receiving the payment once a state or territory hits 70 per cent full vaccination. At 80 per cent, the payment will be reduced over two weeks.

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said no one was arguing support for programs to go on forever, but argued it was too soon to remove them.

“What we are arguing, is that they are tailored to the economic conditions. Nobody who looks at what’s going on in NSW or Victoria right now could objectively argue that people aren’t still doing it tough,” he said.

“The support needs to reflect that. What we need from the government is urgency when it comes to their responsibilities, empathy when it comes to the support that we need to be providing people, and we need them to bring people together rather than pick these unnecessary fights.”

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