NSW, Federal govts to boost support for Greater Sydney as lockdown is extended
29 July 2021
(See Translation in Arabic Section)
Sydney - M E Times Int'l: The Federal and NSW governments have agreed to expand their COVID-19 business support package after Greater Sydney’s lockdown was extended to August 28.
Eligible entities, which includes not-for-profits, will now receive payments of between $1500 and $100,000 per week based on their payroll with the maximum turnover threshold increased from $50 million to $250 million.
The payment will continue to be calculated based on 40 per cent of payroll for businesses that have suffered a 30 per cent or more decline in turnover.
For non-employing businesses, such as sole traders, the payment will remain set at $1,000 per week.
The expanded payment will now cover more than 400,000 businesses employing 3.3 million workers in NSW subject to eligibility. It will also provide more support for costs such as rent, insurance and maintenance and staff costs.
The added support will continue to be conditional on staff levels on July 13 and takes effect from July 18.
Further financial support announced for Sydney
Sydney: New South Wales Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has announced further financial assistance to help businesses and workers during Greater Sydney’s extended lockdown.
Mr Perrottet says in conjunction with the federal government, there will be an expansion of the JobSaver program “to ensure that more businesses are eligible to access those weekly payments”.
He said the current turnover threshold of $50 million will be expanded to $250 million.
“That will ensure that around 460,000 businesses with a turnover reduction of 30 per cent will be eligible for those support payments. That’s up from 230,000 businesses.
“That has coverage of around 3.3 million workers right across the state.”
He also said the maximum weekly payments will be increased from $10,000 per week to $100,000 per week.
“That will ensure that businesses have the cash flow and the financial support to get through this.”
Cash support for NSW workers boosted as covid-19 payments scheme expands
Canberra: MORE financial support for workers in New South Wales will be available from next week as part of the Commonwealth Government’s expanded national COVID-19 Disaster Payment deal.
Payments will continue to support workers in every state and territory who lose hours due to a state government lockdown or public health order.
Eligible workers will receive $750 per week if they lose 20 hours or more of work while those that lose between 8 and less than 20 hours, or a full day of work, will receive $450 per week.
The Commonwealth Government will provide financial support to those in a declared Commonwealth Hotspot. The provision of financial support outside of these areas will be provided where requested at the cost of state or territory governments.
The new national payment rate will commence for payments processed week starting on August 2 and will be automatically updated for those already in the Services Australia system.
We must all work together to ensure that the lockdown ends on 28 August 2021
Sydney: This a tough day for New South Wales, one of the toughest.
We know there is uncertainty and anxiety for many families, workers and businesses across Greater Sydney.
We have had 33 days in lockdown and now another four weeks.
NSW Labor continues to offer bi-partisan support for today’s announcements including the extension of the lockdown and the introduction of a singles bubble, based on the health advice.
We want this four week lockdown to be the last. Rolling four week lockdowns will sap community hope, damage our economy and risk a lack of compliance.
If further restrictions are required (beyond those announced today) based on the health advice and to ensure that we emerge from lockdown in four weeks’ time, they will get Labor’s support.
The latest government actions must be consistent and in the service of the publicly stated objective of getting infectious community COVID cases close to zero.
Stay strong: Lord Mayor’s COVID message for Parramatta
Sydney: City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Bob Dwyer has thanked the Parramatta community for their patience during the current COVID-19 outbreak and is urging continued cooperation after stricter lockdown restrictions were announced for the Parramatta Local Government Area (LGA).
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian this morning said that only authorised workers, as defined by the NSW Government, are allowed to leave the Parramatta LGA for work, starting at midnight Wednesday 28 July. She also confirmed the Greater Sydney lockdown will be extended by four weeks to Saturday 28 August.
“This is a very difficult time for the Parramatta community but if last year proved anything it’s that we are incredibly resilient and overcome challenges when we stick together. We can do this,” Cr Dwyer said.
“My message to the people of Parramatta is to stay strong, please continue to follow the health advice and do not leave the LGA unless you are an authorised worker.
FECCA welcomes protections for migrant workers contained in proposed laws
Sydney: Australia’s peak multicultural organisation, the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Council of Australia (FECCA) welcomes Federal Government proposed legislation to better protect migrant workers.
The Bill penalises and bans employers who violated the rights of migrant workers.
FECCA Chairwoman Mary Patetsos said the Migration Amendment (Protecting Migrant Workers) Bill 2021 would reduce the probability of migrants working against their will or under exploitative conditions.
Wage theft and other coercive practices committed by employers who prey on one of the most vulnerable groups in Australia must be stopped and perpetrators penalised accordingly, as outlined by the Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke.
“Circumstance pushes many migrant workers into jobs where they are underpaid and often at the mercy of the employer,” said Ms Patetsos.
“Employers will now have a duty of care towards workers from overseas - something woefully absent in many businesses.”
Paramatta City Council Announces 2.9 million Dollar COVID-19 Support Package
Sydney: Seven new initiatives worth $2.9 million dollars has been announced by the City of Parramatta to support local households and businesses impacted by the current COVID-19 lockdown.
Speaking after the endorsement by the Council last night, Paramatta Lord Mayor Cr Bob Dwyer said, “our top priority remains the safety and wellbeing of our community and as the lockdown continues, we’re delivering targeted and immediate support to households and businesses as quickly as possible.”
Included in the package is the wavering of fees backdated to June 26, for the next three months.
The Council is also participating in the Government’s scheme to waive the childcare gap-fee for parents or carers on days they choose to keep their children at home.
The new package comes on top of a range of other Council initiatives to support the community including opening up Council facilities to community organisations, such as food banks, as well as offering services, programs and resources online.
Biden accuses Russia trying to disrupt 2022 elections
US President Joe Biden on Tuesday accused his Russian counterpart of seeking to disrupt the 2022 congressional elections by spreading "misinformation."
"Look at what Russia is doing already about the 2022 elections and misinformation," Biden said during a trip to the office of the director of national intelligence near Washington, referring to information he receives during his daily briefing.
He also lashed out at Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The US leader also expressed concern about the recent increase in cyberattacks, including via ransomware, which typically see hackers encrypting victims' data and then demanding money for restored access.
The United States will hold midterm elections in fall 2022, in which all seats in the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate seats will be on the ballot.
Titmus claims another gold in the pool after Australia’s dual rowing success
After her triumph in the 400m freestyle event in the pool at the Tokyo Olympic Games, Australian swimmer Ariarne Titmus clinched another gold medal in the women’s 200m freestyle final.
Earlier, Australia’s rowers won back-to-back gold medals with Lucy Stephan, Rosemary Popa, Jessica Morrison and Annabelle McIntyre winning the women’s four final.
Shortly after, rowers Alexander Purnell, Spencer Turrin, Jack Hargreaves and Alexander Hill also won gold in the men’s fours in a chaotic race; the British team swayed into their rival’s lane just 200 metres from the finish and dropped out of the medals.
The Australian women’s and men’s quadruple sculls teams won bronze.
Titmus paced herself in the opening half of the women's 200m freestyle final only to surge past her rivals in the final two laps.
Titmus finished ahead of Hong Kong's Siobhan Bernadette Haughey to win gold in a new Olympic record time of 1:53.50.
Moscow awaits US "seriousness" in dialogue on "strategic stability"
Moscow is counting on the high-level talks it holds with the US side in Geneva, on Wednesday, to determine the extent of Washington's "seriousness" in advancing bilateral dialogue, a Russian official announced Tuesday.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said: “Following the talks, we must understand how serious our American colleagues are in their desire to establish a meaningful and vital dialogue on strategic stability.”
It was agreed to launch a dialogue on "strategic stability" during a summit on June 16 that brought together US Presidents Joe Biden and Russian Vladimir Putin in Geneva.
The initiative aims primarily to stabilize their tense relationship.
The meeting, the second at a high level in two months, is being held in Geneva behind closed doors.
Ryabkov explained that the aim of the meeting is to launch the path, conduct an in-depth analysis of the points of disagreement and try to find areas for joint action. This is considering that the "big question" revolves around knowing whether the dialogue will contribute to "moving forward" in bilateral relations.
"I will not set expectations too high," he added.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, in turn, considered improving relations a "very complex process", but at the same time praised the existence of "communication."
Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will lead the US delegation, while Ryabkov will lead the Russian delegation.
The meeting takes place amid tension on several fronts between the two countries. The United States has vowed that it will take measure against Moscow if it does not put an end to the wave of cyber-attacks against the US. According to the US, a large number of the cyber-attacks were launched from Russian territory.
Although Moscow denies any responsibility for the attacks, Putin has welcomed Biden's efforts to make relations between the two countries more predictable.
Announcing the launch of the dialogue, Putin and Biden emphasized that even at the height of the Cold War, Moscow and Washington were in touch to avoid the worst.
China issues ‘list of wrongdoings’, urges United States to ‘change course and correct mistakes’
In a series of high-level diplomatic talks, the Chinese Communist Party has issued the US a “list of wrongdoings” and warned the Biden administration to “stop crossing the red lines”.
It comes as US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman continues her diplomatic tour of China, conducting discussions with her Chinese counterpart.
While the US State Department described the meeting with Foreign Minister Wang Yi as a “frank and open discussion”, China told the press it had given Ms Sherman two lists detailing its “grave concerns”.
China’s Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng revealed to the media China had issued a ‘List of US Wrongdoings that Must Stop’ and a ‘List of Key Individual Cases that China Has Concerns with’.
The Chinese Communist Party urged the United States to revoke visa restrictions on CCP members and families, remove sanctions on China’s leaders, government agencies and officials, according to Xinhua.
China also demanded the US stop “suppressing Chinese enterprises” as well as students and Confucius institutes, while calling for Chinese media outlets to not be listed as “foreign agents”.
The second list covered specific individual cases where students’ visas had been rejected, claims of Chinese citizens being subjected to “unfair treatment” in the US and “Chinese diplomatic and consular missions being harassed”.
The Chinese Foreign Minister also released a statement following the meeting at the northern Chinese city of Tianjin in which he outlined China’s requirements of the US on how to “effectively manage differences”.
The strong diplomatic language emblematic of Chinese diplomats in recent years was taken further by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian who took aim at the United States’ apparent “wrong words and deeds”.
“China once again expressed strong dissatisfaction with the US side over its wrong words and deeds on issues relating to COVID-19 origin-tracing, Taiwan, Xinjiang, Hong Kong and the South China Sea,” he said on Monday (local time).
“Urging the US side to immediately stop interfering in China's internal affairs, stop damaging the interests of China, stop crossing the red lines and playing with fire.
“We urge the US to never underestimate the strong resolution, determination and capability of the 1.4 billion Chinese people to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests.”