COVID stimulus to cost extra $600m

Australians who qualified for the second $750 stimulus payment can expect to receive the money in their accounts from tomorrow, while others will receive theirs by the end of the month, government agencies have promised.

And Prime Minister Scott Morrison has revealed that the federal government will end up paying an extra $600 million on top of the $8.8 billion it had originally budgeted. That figure has been revised up to $9.4 billion.

A total of about 6.5 million Australians were expected to receive the first payment in March and April, but an analysis found that at 30 June, more than seven million had been paid the $750 at a cost of $5.6 billion.

About five million Australians are expected to receive the second $750 at a total cost of $3.8 billion.

“Approximately five million lower-income Australians will receive the second $750 economic support payment this month,” said social services minister Anne Ruston.

“This payment is providing additional support to eligible pensioners, families, veterans and concession card holders who do not get the fortnightly coronavirus supplement as part of their current payment.”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is urging people to use the cash boost on “things that matter the most to you”.

“The Morrison government will continue to do all that is necessary to ensure Australia bounces back stronger on the other side,” he said ahead of his budget update on 23 July when he will outline the next phase of income support.

“The government is helping to keep businesses in business and Australians in jobs, with $259 billion – or 13.3 per cent of GDP – in total economic support.”

Economist Chris Richardson told the ABC that it appeared people had used the cash to buy goods.

“The standout success in Australia economically so far has been that people have continued to spend a lot more than Treasury and the Reserve Bank had feared they would spend,” he said.

The Deloitte Access Economics partner said that with official interest rates at rock bottom and unemployment high, it was a time for government spending to step into the breach. “A given dollar of government spending can do more good today than at any other time that Australians have ever known,” he said.

“The hidden weapon we had coming into the crisis was we had a balanced federal budget and a low public sector debt.

“Those massive stimulus programs we rolled out … the money got to people faster than the equivalent schemes in the Global Financial Crisis.

“Sure, our debts will be higher at the end of this – it doesn’t terribly worry me – interest rates have never been lower, they’ll stay nailed to the floor for some years.”

Welfare and seniors groups say the $750 payments and other stimulus measures do not go far enough in supporting the most vulnerable Australians, and are seeking a permanent increase to the JobSeeker payment.

The government advises that the second $750 payment will be made available to the same recipients who were eligible for the first payment – and who are eligible for a qualifying payment or card on 10 July – with the exception of those who are receiving the Coronovirus Supplement on that date. This will exclude the following payment recipients:

  • JobSeeker Payment (and the payments transitioning into JobSeeker Payment including Sickness Allowance, Wife Pension and Bereavement Allowance)
  • Youth Allowance for jobseekers, students and apprentices
  • Parenting Payment (Partnered and Single)
  • Austudy
  • ABSTUDY Living Allowance
  • Farm Household Allowance
  • Special Benefit.


If your financial circumstances have changed after the first payment, you may be eligible for this $750. Two government measures have come into effect: revised income and assets test thresholds for the Age Pension and a reduction in the deeming rates. Both may alter your assessable income for the Age Pension and associated benefits, including the Commonwealth Senior Health Card.

Services Australia advises that if you received an eligible payment, or had an eligible concession card on 10 July, you will automatically receive the stimulus.

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Written by Janelle Ward

Energetic and skilled editor and writer with expert knowledge of retirement, retirement income, superannuation and retirement planning.

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