20 March, 2020
We are experiencing an unprecedented crisis as COVID-19 (Coronavirus) continues to impact our way of life. My team and I are working with the government to help the Warringah community and Australia get through this.
I encourage you to physically distance yourself from other people as much as possible. Please make sure that you follow recommended guidelines. Because we need to be physically isolated does not mean that we need to be socially isolated.
We have a wonderful community and it is in times of crisis that we can all lean on each other. Be mindful and supportive of others, from shopping reasonably to checking on people that you know may be vulnerable or isolated.
My team and I are also constantly updating my website with the latest advice on health alerts, economic impacts and travel advice.
There is a National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It also offer translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.
Federal Health Department
The World Health Organisation has announced that COVID-19 is a pandemic. Find out how the government is monitoring and responding to the outbreak, how you can help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Australia, and what to do if you have symptoms. For the latest information go to www.health.gov.au
NSW Health Department
For the latest information and advice on isolation and social distancing click HERE
NSW Health is recommending people with acute, cold, flu-like symptoms who are returned travellers, or a contact of a confirmed case, be tested for COVID-19.
Testing clinics in Warringah and nearby include:
- Northern Beaches Hospital, 105 Frenchs Forest Road (West), 9:30am-6pm, 7 days
- Mona Vale Hospital, Coronation Street, Mona Vale, 10am-6pm, 7 days
- Royal North Shore Hospital, Reserve Road St Leonards, 8am-10pm 7 days
The situation is changing daily. I would recommend against any travel at this time as you may find yourself unable to return. Smart Traveller Advice is offering the latest information on affected international destinations on their website www.smartraveller.gov.au
24-HOUR Consular Emergency Contact
1300 555 135
+61 2 6261 3305
SMS +61 421 269 080
Stimulus Packages for Businesses and Households
Federal Government's Stimulus Package
The Australian Government has announced its stimulus package to address the economic effects of the COVID-19. The package is a measure that we hope will help constituents and businesses in Warringah get through this difficult time. Of particular note, small businesses, tradespeople and social security recipients (including pensioners) will benefit.
For more information visit the Australian Taxation Office website HERE. Today the Federal Government also announced the Budget will be held on October 6.
Services Australia via Centrelink have announced a number of changes to the payments people receive. Newstart has been replaced with JobSeeker, while a number of other payments have also changed. The rate of JobSeeker payments is approximately $76 more per fortnight than Newstart. For more information on how these changes will impact you click HERE
Reserve Bank of Australia
On 19 March, the RBA agreed to the following comprehensive package to support the Australian economy through this challenging period:
- A reduction in the cash rate target to 0.25 per cent.
- A target for the yield on 3-year Australian Government bonds of around 0.25 per cent.
- A term funding facility for the banking system, with particular support for credit to small and medium-sized businesses.
- Exchange settlement balances at the Reserve Bank will be remunerated at 10 basis points, rather than zero as would have been the case under the previous arrangements.
Financial Help from your Bank
Australian banks have hardship teams ready to help you, depending on your circumstances.
Assistance could include:
- deferring loan payments,
- waiving fees and charges,
- helping with debt consolidation,
- waiving penalties for early withdrawal of a term deposit or
- deferring upcoming credit card payments and increasing emergency limits
The Australian Banking Association has more information HERE
NSW Government Economic Response
The stimulus package will help to protect communities and jobs in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak over the next six months. This package has two key components — $700 million in extra health funding and $1.6 billion in tax cuts to support jobs.
Northern Beaches Council has responded to COVID-19 and released their business support plan HERE
North Sydney Council COVID-19 response HERE
Mosman Council COVID-19 response HERE
Representing you to the Federal Government
I am raising issues with the relevant Federal Ministers about how business, schools and mental health will be addressed by the government as we continue to be affected by COVID-19.
On 19 March, I wrote to the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg asking him to consider specific measures to assist communities like the Warringah electorate in the stimulus package to be presented to Parliament on Monday March 23. To read the full letter click HERE
1. Provide a direct cash payment to households capped at a certain income threshold, including all new applicants to Newstart
2. Provide Newstart to all new applicants without questioning the cause of their unemployment and removing the mutual obligations for at least three months
3. Work with all State Governments to provide utilities relief for both businesses and households
1. Provide targeted tax refunds for business in respect of their losses. This would be an important business continuity measure that would bring forward deductions for losses rather than the business having to wait for a return to profitability
2. Government support for interest free loans for businesses and wage subsidies for up to six months
3. Work with all State Governments to issue rent and mortgage holidays or discounts for small businesses
HEALTH AND EDUCATION
On 19 March, I also wrote to the Minister for Health Greg Hunt and the Minister for Education Dan Tehan on behalf of many concerned parents and teachers in the electorate to seek clarification of the risk of infection and transmission to children and the reasons for schools remaining open.
There a lot of concern about the risk this poses to teachers and educational staff. There remains some discrepancy between recommendations for workplaces and what is occurring in school which is resulting in a high level of concern and confusion. Please read the full letter HERE.
My team and I are working to find solutions for you, your family and friends during this time. As many of my staff as possible are working remotely so please keep up to date at our website www.zalisteggall.com.au and get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office on 9977 6411 if you have concerns.
Please forward this on to your network of family and friends in Warringah.