Who’ll really benefit from the government’s stimulus package?

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Are you one of the one in four who’ll qualify for a $750 coronavirus cash handout?

If so, when will you get it? And what will you do with it?

Scott Morrison’s billion dollar stimulus package aims to get many Australians through a tough time, with $4.8 billion doled out in $750 portions to over six million residents who already receive some form of welfare or pension, be it the Age Pension, Newstart, Austudy, disability support pension, carer’s allowance or family payment. 

For those who do qualify, the one-off payment will be delivered using existing welfare systems into bank accounts from 31 March, 2020, by Services Australia or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Most payments should be made by mid-April 2020.

By targeting low-income earners and age pensioners, the government hopes recipients will spend it to boost the economy and, hopefully, avoid a recession.

However, new analysis suggests it may not be enough to prevent Australia’s first recession since 1991.

Aside from the $4.8 billion in handouts, another $8 billion will go towards wage subsidies and a major expansion of the instant asset write-off program and around $11 billion will go to businesses and households.

Where will the money go after that?

The experts say retailers, fast food outlets and gaming companies will be the big winners of the government’s cash splash, with pensioners and Newstart recipients expected to spend their windfalls on small-ticket items such as new shoes, clothes and fish and chips.

Retailers, pensioner groups and economists are hailing the PM’s plan as ‘sensible and the fastest way to inject money into the economy’, according to The Australian.

Small business will also benefit, says the Business Council of Australia, which believes the package will save many jobs.

BHP chief executive Mike Henry, while praising government’s “calm and methodical approach” in an “extremely challenging time”, believes “the coming weeks and months will challenge the Australian economy and the resolve of all Australians”.

“Moves to stimulate the economy, support small business and provide an additional safety net for the vulnerable in our community is the right thing to do,” said Mr Henry.

National Seniors Association chief advocate Ian Henscke said about 180,000 older people on the Newstart Allowance would spend the money on basic items such as food, clothing, medical appointments, car repairs and tyres.

“If you put it in realistic terms, [the $750 payments] is a bit more than $2 a day, so it’s not a huge amount,” Mr Henscke told The Australian.

“But obviously those who will get it will be grateful because if they were waiting to go to the dentist or buy a pair of shoes they now can.

“We hear stories from people that their only ‘takeaway mea’l is when they get the pension once a fortnight. One man I know says he looks forward to getting his pension cheque because that’s when he buys fish and chips – that’s his one treat.”

Retail giants Target, Kmart and Big W are hoping the money will be spent on children’s and budget clothes.

The biggest concern for retail during this pandemic should be to keep people employed, says outgoing Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman, who hopes this package will support businesses enough to achieve this end.

“It’s very targeted to the requirements of people who need it now rather than just being handed to everyone no matter who they are,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“These are people who have not had the money to buy extras in life, so any support that the government can give them is great. That money will flow on into the retail industry and we will see a far stronger retail economy moving forward.”

National Australia Bank chief economist Alan Oster agrees that giving pensioners and welfare recipients a little extra was the fastest way to inject that money into the economy.

“They will spend it,” he said. “It doesn’t go into the accounts until around 31 March so it will get spent in the June quarter and the poorer they are the more likely it is to be spent.

“If you have discretionary income, you would be unlikely to spend that money, which is what I think the government is trying to do.

“Retail will be helped to get over a difficult period by this, but it depends on what retailer you are. If you are in hospitality, things like that, I think it will be a problem. Department stores and, I suspect, supermarkets are doing better … I think basically the cash to households is deliberately being targeted to boost retail spending in the second quarter.”

Strip malls and smaller shopping centres may be bigger beneficiaries than larger malls, as consumers have been avoiding these spaces for fear of infection.

Immediate winners are likely to be convenience stores and neighbourhood shopping centres, as well as smaller liquor stores such as BWS and Liquorland, as people may choose to avoid pubs and social gatherings.

Tabcorp is also expecting a boost, although YourLifeChoices members believe that pokies could be a breeding ground for the virus’ spread.

All in all, the government’s package – which also includes $25,000 payments to businesses with annual turnover of $50 million, $7000 payments to support apprenticeships and raising the instant asset write-off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 – was “well thought through”, says the Business Council of Australia. 

However, “the longer the coronavirus goes on, the more vulnerable Australia’s biggest companies will become,” said Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott. 

“So, the [federal] budget is the next opportunity to shore up our competitiveness and permanently change the trajectory of the economy.

What do you think of the government’s stimulus package? Do you qualify for the $750 handout? How will you spend it?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?

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64 Comments

Total Comments: 64
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    Think we are all a bit in the dark re the outcome of the CV. Its a day by day development and apart from taking all possible aversion actions its hard to predict what the future holds.
    A case of hold tight, hang on and survive the ride. $750 ? Will got towards paying off the credit card.

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      Bet you you will spend it all on bulk buying toilet rolls, soap, Panadol, Aspirin, cough mixtures , lemons , tea and food.

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      Don’t be silly, Arvo – you can only buy so much toilet paper, etc.

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      Yes with things being the way they have for quite a while I’d say the stimulus will see people paying back bills or costs they’ve lagged behind in. I doubt it will kick the retail economy up to the top again, we’ve already seen big-name department stores closing down before COVID19 turned up?

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    Not sure whether I qualify for the payment, my income is mostly from super. However my disability pension from DVA may possibly attract something, do not know. Nevertheless, without wanting to appear like looking a gift horse in the mouth I suspect the Government has not made the best decision. The $750 will quickly dissipate so the stimulus effect will fade very quickly, probably within a few weeks. Would have been better to substantially increase social security payments, including pensions and Newstart, to spread the effect over several months. I suspect the government is throwing out crumbs to keep the ‘peasants’ happy.
    Giving businesses cash grants may be helpful for the businesses but unless there are stringent conditions it will soon be frittered away, and not necessarily spent on maintaining employment. Any business will only employ as many workers as is required to carry out any productive work, to do otherwise is counter-productive. I would have suggested investing in infrastructure like roads, schools, hospitals, public transport, airports, water, flood mitigation etc, something that, in the future, will give us taxpayers something tangible for the money we have spent. There must be projects all ready to go except for funding.

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      Probably will, Eddy – my pension attracts the cash, and some think I’m far better off than I am, so I expect your disability will draw something at least. I’m certified sane, but spinal fractures etc don’t really fit one for outside work.

      What you say is so right.

  3. 0
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    Got to admit it’s better than nothing. BUT! and that’s a big but, when will the government reinstate the billions ripped from pensioners over the past 6 years?.

    What planning is there in case we get taken over by PNG or Indonesia (population 440,000,000 plus? Do you think America will come to our aid and fight Indonesia? You have to be joking ScoMo! Pensions have not kept pace with inflation in prices. we expect we can buy the same as we did 12 months before for the same money – not so today. We get Occasional price reductions, but look carefully at the use by date, it’s old stock probably a dog won’t touch. Been at all the supermarkets, today, looking for toilet paper. Absolutely nothing in all supermarkets. Then since Sunday, all meat shelves are bare. Except the real butcher section, where they are offering fillet steak for $52/kilo. (Coles and Woolies)

    In the old days we had fillet steak at at least once a fortnight, now it’s a dream to get any. I mean $52/kilo makes any new car worth 1,800K x $52 = $93,600. A Mercedes would look ordinary next to a sporty Lexus or budget Lamborghini.

    So why and how can these bastards get away with it? The bullshit Coles ads used to say down,down in prices, first having put them to ridiculous levels, so they are lying through their teeth. ScoMo couldn’t give a shit about false advertising. The DHS Department, have to pay out a limited amount to pensioners, mainly because they see them “as on the take”, same for new starters.

    I see now Scomo’s popularity has gone up 3%. Why? Because the advertising press has been awarded a huge amount to promote LNP (at taxpayers expense of course, not one cent from ScoMo’s pocket).

    Let’s look at the figures: Welfare given $4.8 Billion (0.024% of GDP) but small and big business $45.6 Billion. That’s 0.228% of GDP, nearly ten times as much. So of course business is clapping their hands. They win big time and welfare recipients get the crumbs. Are there really that many people who rely on the LNP for good handouts? Do they get them provided they vote for this mob, maybe after we have this recession and the well off start to lose, they might come to their senses.

  4. 0
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    I don’t qualify for any handouts. I am unemployed, unable to get work due to ageism (let’s call it what it is). I cannot get unemployment benefits because I have some savings which I have been living off and so I wont’ be splashing out on anything extra.

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      Hang in there, Xmas 19. Stay positive, keep networking and something good will turn up through your own efforts.

    • 0
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      Have you used the Centrelink online estimator to check whether you may be entitled to any payment. You can have quite significant savings & still receive some Newstart payment depending on other deemed income from investments or assets you hold. Also, if you have been living off your savings they may have reduced enough to make you now eligible for at least a part payment.

    • 0
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      Rose is right.

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      doesn’t help your circumstances Xmas, but rest assured you belong to quite a large cohort of hidden middle aged unemployed. Many professionals have been cast aside over the last decade and find themselves forced into early retirement and living off savings with little support.

  5. 0
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    “What do you think of the government’s stimulus package? Do you qualify for the $750 handout? How will you spend it?”

    It seems to be a good package aimed in the right areas to help stimulate the economy and keep jobs and has the support of retailers, pensioner groups, economists and the Business Council of Australia. It is not the final word as further funds may be made available if needed.

    We are both entitled to the $750 payment and will purchase some furniture that is needed. We’re not sure where the furniture is made as we have yet to decide on a final choice but the retailer is a local and employs local people so every little bit helps.

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      Just don’t buy furniture from Fantastic….1-most beds, chairs, desks , tables, TV stands, you need to assemble yourself…
      2- some , made in China, like lounge chairs /sofas covered in vinyl will crack up and perish within 3 years….

  6. 0
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    paying the $750 at the end of march through to late April is so political all done to avoid two months of negative growth They have taken money from the bush fire funds and the NDIS
    They really have no idea how to run a country

    • 0
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      And I suppose your whinging will solve the issue. When do you expect them to dish it out, after we’ve gone into a recession.

    • 0
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      it needs to be out now Angus not whinging just facts they are duds

    • 0
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      Hold on! I’ve been doing and am still doing bushfire relief work** – if eraser can show us where that funding has gone, let him/her say so. I’d like to know where those needed funds are being hijacked, if that is the case.

      ** at the moment I’m applying pressure for emergency housing (still) for people burnt out on the Mid North Coast – I already pushed Morro into a medal (letter in December) for the firefighters… and am also pushing for at least a certificate of appreciation for all those volunteer aid workers who have put their hands in their own pockets to make up the shortfalls in disaster organisation… and they are many.

      I don’t need medals and I don’t want money… but I will stand for my people who do the work…

    • 0
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      Karen 2billion was allocated only 10% has got out they seem to do the talk and spin but where the funds are needed they are so slow about releasing it
      so many good people like you trying to assist whilst the Government fumbles about

    • 0
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      KAREN THEY AREN’T BEING HIJACKED, ERASER MUST HAVE EXPECTED THE STIMULUS “YESTERDAY”??
      Everything takes time, actually for distrubuting several billions of dollars to people is not something you just do out of your back pocket.
      The biggest problem with this stimulus is with the economy the way its been lately , this money will probably simply shore a few people up, paying late bills etc, whether people go on a shoe shopping spree I would doubt that very very much!
      The fire money I expect will come through too, but organising everything is not something you do in 5 minutes , you have to arrange things properl;y and fairly , it takes time.

      As for the stimulus I think if things get to the point of lots of people banned from working that this stimulus should have been doubled, if things are that bad?
      This $750 dollars for some, will not go very far. Mine will catch up two bills that I am way behind on!!! My wife is retired, but too young by a year to get any sort of pension , so she gets no $750, as well like some will, so what we get through me, its gone already.

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      John they have been asleep at the wheel a very disappointing Government
      every thing they do is either slow or ill thought out

  7. 0
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    For me it will help pay bills and food. Stimulus pacake a good idea provided that the money goes back into the economy helping Australians

  8. 0
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    For me it will help pay bills and food. Stimulus pacake a good idea provided that the money goes back into the economy helping Australians

  9. 0
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    Spent mine on Private Health Insurance before I get it, if I get it. Only count it when in the bank.
    JoJozep is writing about fillet steak – here in the butcher’s this morning it was marked $58.95 per kilo, eating more pork and chicken these days but still have a few whiskies after sun down (cheaper than fillet steak!)

  10. 0
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    I am elderly (78) and I do not work. I do not get, nor do I qualify for, any Centrelink payments, but I don’t complain. I just get on with my life. Everybody keeps on complaining about Scomo, be it for the fires or the CV. WHY? None of it is his fault. If you don’t have him, would you have preferred the idiot Shorten to be PM?.
    Stop complaining and get on with your lives. It seems like so many people have nothing better to do with their day than WHING, WHING, WHING.
    If any of you think you can do better than our PM, STAND UP AND BE COUNTED.
    Lead us away from all these problems. No? I didn’t think so.

    • 0
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      your LNP/NATIONAL cheque is in the mail.

    • 0
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      ..because of the lack of timely action, and the ongoing sloth in response to needs after the fire disaster….

      THAT is why we criticise politicians who were advised two years+ ago that infrastructure such as water bombing aircraft were needed.**

      **After I set about organising a fundraiser for those water bombing aircraft, Morro committed to buying them – but haven’t heard one word since his public announcement to that effect.

    • 0
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      Well Nnud, I won’t be getting anything either, but for some, it can mean a feed or not for themselves and their kids. But I would disagree with you about your summing up of Scomo. Most of what has happened can be laid at his door. Bushfires, due to his cutting back on funding, Climate Change which if handled correctly and he listened to the science, would have gone towards bushfires being controllable. Corona Virus, sat on his hands wondering what to do. He still acted in his own interest when he closed gatherings of 499 or more not immediately but days later, just to suit his own needs. Hopping off to Hawaii in the middle of a disaster was not what a Leader does as unfortunately he is first and foremost the Prime Minister, and acts on behalf of the Country and its people. If he can’t act for us, then he is not up to the job. Bill Shorten, because of the continual lying of this present Christian PM was reduced to rubble. If you can’t be truthful, say nothing. People can now see through the deceit and lies.

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      I think that people politicise everything even disasters Morrison is not to blame for fires, or corona, and is as Nnud says doing his best, with the uncosted policies of Shorten and now Albo, I think the bleating about the LNP has just about run its damned race, and people need to get on and do their best, the other side would really be in strife, and NO I DON’T GET A CHEQUE FROM THE LNP either 80plus

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      agree and I get nothing either…I think the PM is doing an excellent job…the latest polling says so too…the alternative Albanase and crew..give me a break.!!

      https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/mar/11/essential-poll-scott-morrison-regains-lead-as-preferred-prime-minister-after-bushfire-backlash

    • 0
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      Yes hyprrhole, now that SOOTY from marketing is copying Labor strategies he is finally achieving something. I note that on this occasion he is doing it with support of the opposition, unlike when Labor did it to save us from the GFC.
      I admire a man who can admit his mistakes and is not afraid to take advice from those he has criticised. With Labors ideas and his marketing experiance, he may make something if the job yet.

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