Tag: PM Scott Morrison

PM ScoMo bats for “world order that favours freedom with liberal values” ; supports probe into the origins of COVID-19

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Photo- @PerthUSAsia

By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 9 June 2021: Australian Prime Minister today minced no words batting for a “world order that favors freedom with liberal values” and cautioned about world instability with a danger of conflict in the Indo-Pacific region. He called the Indo-Pacific an ‘epicenter’ of competition in the region. The Australian Prime Minister was today addressing a select gathering live-streamed and televised at the Perth USAsia Centre ahead of his departure to the G-7 Summit.

The speech without naming focussed on the obvious rising global economic power of China and its influence in the world and the Indo-Pacific region. The PM’s reference to an open liberal society many times in the speech, sniped at the authoritarian set up in China and the challenges it posed to the liberal democracies. That Australia is firmly embedded in the US-led western alliance was laced with many words in the speech.

He said the G-7 countries will emphasize vibrant liberal democracy, open societies, sovereign capacity, countering challenges, and business-led growth. “We cannot be casual about our values,” he said.

Touching the digital and tech issues, the PM said, Our technological edge is “under challenge” and that has to be overcome by us and our allies. Technology should reflect our “shared values”, he said.

The PM referred to Japan and India as being part of the ‘ reliable supply chains’ to meet the emerging global challenges. He also said the World Health Organisation (WHO) be strengthened and the origins of the COVID-19 be investigated.

Morrison added a positive note saying competition in the Indo-Pacific should not lead to conflict and we are ready for dialogue with any country including China.

- The report will be updated.

Uncertainty for 9,000 Australians stranded in India after flight ban till 15 May; support package for India announced

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Australian PM photo grab was taken on 19 April 2021

By SAT News Desk

SYDNEY,27 April 2021: Prime Minister Scott Morrison today at a media conference announced an inbound flight ban from India for two weeks till 15 May and an initial support package to fight the rising COVIDE tide in India. In a nationally televised media conference, PM Scott Morrison said passengers in future flights will require a negative PCR test and a negative Rapid Antigen Test prior to uplift.

Addressing the media the Australian PM said, ” We recognize that this has been a very significant outbreak in India and we know for Australians who have family in India at this time that they will be very distressed. From the scenes we are seeing from India, they are truly heartbreaking.”

Over 9,000 Australians of Indian origin who are either citizens or Permanent Residents are likely to be badly hit by the flight ban. Some people are stranded in India for more than a year and many families are separated. Since March last year, 19,400 Australians have returned from India.

The flight ban will instantly affect two passenger services from India into Sydney and two repatriation flights from India into Darwin impacting around 500 arrivals.

Addressing the media Marise Payne, Minister For Foreign Affairs and Women assured, “…those Australians in India and Indian Australians here that our four Indian network posts remain staffed by Australian diplomats. They will continue to provide that consular assistance to Australians in distress, including through the DFAT’s financial assistance program, and that has of course been in place for many months now. Our posts will also be redoubling their efforts to maintain contact with Australian citizens in India to make sure they are informed about travel settings, any changes and about any changes and about assistance programs. That has been part of their work for many months now, but certainly, in the current circumstances, those efforts will as I said be redoubled.”

The PM also announced passengers on all future flights will require a negative PCR test and a negative Rapid Antigen Test prior to uplift. For indirect flights through Doha, Dubai, Singapore, and Kalua Lumpur flights to and from these transit points and India have already been paused by respective governments.

In a reference to Australian-Indians, the PM said,” …the Australian Government will be reaching out through the Department of Home Affairs directly through the Minister and the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, to engage with the Australian community with Indian descent and reaching out to them, listening to them, engaging in roundtables with community leaders to keep them informed of the information we have available as well as listening to them about what they are hearing on what they are understanding of the experiences of family members and friends and other associates in India. It is very important we remain in close contact with them over the course of what will be a highly stressful period for those Australians who are caught up or have family members affected by this humanitarian crisis in India. And we are very keen to make sure they know that we are standing with them during what is an incredibly difficult time for them and their families and communities.”

Earlier, after the National Cabinet meeting on Friday (23 April) Australia will further restrict outbound travel exemptions to high-risk countries to strictly essential travel only (national interest, medical exemption, and COVID purposes only).

In addition to the flight ban from India, PM Sco Mo today announced an initial package of support to India as soon as possible that includes the supply of 500 non-invasive ventilators,1 million surgical masks, 500,000 P2/N95 Masks,100,000 surgical gowns,100,000 goggles,100,000 pairs of gloves and 20,000 face shields.

In addition, Australia will procure 100 00 oxygen concentrators, along with tanks and consumables for India and the DFAT will manage the movement of PPE and other equipment over the next week.

End COVID For All Campaign spokesman, Reverend Tim Costello Says, ” “COVID is visiting untold misery on the Indian people and it is important for Australia to step up with proportionate, targeted support where it’s needed. Ventilators, oxygen concentrators, protective gowns, goggles, and face shields are on their way to India. This will directly assist nurses, doctors, and health workers to ease and prevent this awful outbreak.

India is a nation with whom we have profound family, cultural and sporting ties. It is heartbreaking to see India battle this outbreak. This support from the Australian people is a good first step and I am confident the Prime Minister will make good on his promise to go further.”

English test essential as it unites the country & enables social-economic connectivity: PM

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File photo.

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 7 October 2020: The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison today had an interactive post-budget virtual press conference here with the multicultural media. He gave the opening remarks on the pandemic, it’s consequences, new economic steps for employment and infrastructure development and the government plans till now and the steps charted out in the budget 2020 announced yesterday by the Treasurer. This was followed by a lively question-answer session.

Prominent takeaway’s from the Q-A session were:

- Opening borders to ‘safe countries’ could see it happen with New Zealand.

- English Language requirement for Partner visas essential as ‘English unifies the country and it enables us all to connect both economically and socially and so that’s why we believe that’s an important step that needs to be taken’.

- There has been a need to ensure we get women and young people back into jobs.

- There are pluses and minuses compared to previous recessions.

- Reduced migration intake will have an impact on the Australian economy.

Lastly, the PM said, self-funded retirees, facing reduced income because of the uncertain stock-market, can use the pension loan scheme.

Australia’s three-step staggered measures to relax COVID-19 restrictions

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By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 8 May 2020: Australia’s three months staggered 3-step roadmap to dilute Coronavirus restrictions starting this month is likely to generate 850,000 jobs by the end of July. Prime Minister Scott Morrison today announced at a nationally televised media conference his ‘go back to work in a COVID-19 safe environment and getting the economy back to a more sustainable level’ plan finalized by the National Cabinet, which met today morning. The plan to be reviewed in three weeks will see individual states deciding their course of actions as per their objective situations.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews addressing a media conference here said he will announce the changes to the rules in Victoria on Monday (11 May 2020).

There have been 6,899 confirmed cases in Australia and sadly 97 people have died. There are now only around 1,000 active cases in Australia, and over the past week, daily infection rates have remained low. Testing remains high, with more than 730,000 tests undertaken in the country.

Australia has so far been highly successful in ‘flattening the curve’. The number of new COVID-19 cases in Australia each day is very low. We can now begin to take careful steps to ease some of the restrictions that have helped us suppress the spread of this virus.

The PM said, “We are confidently and cautiously taking the first step to lifting restrictions. Our success so far means we have slowed the spread of COVID-19 and built the capacity in our health system to manage the impact of the virus. We can now start to progressively ease the restrictions we have in place. The AHPPC has provided strong advice on the conditions that must be met as we establish COVID safe ways of working and living so that we can reopen parts of the economy in the safest possible way while living with COVID-19. This means that many Australians can start getting out to the shops, undertaking some local trips and travel, visiting playgrounds and public parks, and having friends and family around with a bit more freedom.

But the National Cabinet is very clear: continued suppression of COVID-19 is about collective action. Success depends on maintaining our new community norms – physical distancing, good hygiene practices, and downloading the COVIDSafe app to keep us all safe while we are out and about.

For businesses, this also means taking the time to prepare and develop a plan to operate in a COVID safe way to protect their customers and workers. With every one of us playing our part, we should all feel safe and confident in leaving the house and starting to do some of the things we’ve missed in the last few months – like getting back to work, having a quick bite in a restaurant or cafe, attending auctions and open houses, and participating in group exercise.”

For each of the major areas of restrictions we have set out three key steps between where we are now and where we want to be.

·Step 1 will focus on carefully reopening the economy, and giving Australians opportunities to return to work and social activities, including gatherings of up to 10 people, up to 5 visitors in the family home and some local and regional travel

·Step 2 builds on this with gatherings of up to 20, and more businesses reopening, including gyms, beauty services and entertainment venues like galleries and cinemas.

·Step 3 will see a transition to COVID safe ways of living and working, with gatherings of up to 100 people permitted. Arrangements under step 3 will be the ‘new normal’ while the virus remains a threat. International travel and mass gatherings over 100 people will remain restricted.

See the above graphic for a detailed plan of the three steps.

” National Cabinet also committed – as part of the three-step plan – to regular reviews and stocktake assessments of our progress every three weeks. We will be closely monitoring the situation as restrictions are eased. This will enable us to assess the impact of changes, track progress against our agreed precedent conditions, determine the pace of moving through the steps, and make any further decisions. The AHPPC and National Cabinet were very firm on this. We are prepared for an increase in case numbers or possible outbreaks, but relapse should not be an option. A second wave is not something we can afford to go through. The cost to our people, our economy, our social fabric, is too high. We should look to build success in each step, and move forward safely and with confidence, ” the PM said.

Addressing the media conference the PM said the ” National Cabinet again encouraged Australians to download the COVIDSafe app to ensure that we can protect Australians and reset baseline restrictions. More than 5.3 million Australians have already downloaded the COVIDSafe app. This is an enormous achievement, but more is needed.”

ScoMo announces second $ 66 billion stimulus to counter COVID19 crisis & tells people to get ready for strong steps

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By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE,22 March 2020: The Prime Minister Scott Morrison today said at a media conference in Canberra that decoration steps are possible to deal with the COVID19 crisis. He was answering questions from media persons while announcing the second $ 66 billion stimulus package which he called a safety net package.
The PM also said, ” Together, we will get through this>”

Media Release from the PM’s office:

The Commonwealth Government has today released the second stage of its economic plan to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus and help build a bridge to recovery.

A total of $189 billion is being injected into the economy by all arms of Government in order to keep Australians in work and businesses in the business.

This includes $17.6 billion for the Government’s first economic stimulus package, $90 billion from the RBA and $15 billion from the Government to deliver easier access to finance, and $66.1 billion in today’s economic support package.

Our economic support package includes:

· Support for households including casuals, sole-traders, retirees and those on income support

· Assistance for businesses to keep people in a job

· Regulatory protection and financial support for businesses to stay in business

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Government was acting to cushion the blow from the coronavirus for businesses and households to help them get through to the other side of the crisis.

“We want to help businesses keep going as best they can and for as long as they can, or to pause instead of winding up their business. We want to ensure that when this crisis has passed Australian businesses can bounce back,” the Prime Minister said.

“Our focus is on cushioning the blow and providing hope to every Australian that we will get through this and come out the other side together.

“We know this will be temporary. That’s why all our actions are geared towards building a bridge, keeping more people in work, enhancing the safety net for those that aren’t and keeping businesses alive so they can get to the other side and stand up their workforce as quickly as possible.

“We know Australia’s more than 3 million small and medium businesses are the engine room of our economy. When they hurt, we all hurt.

“The next few months are going to be a difficult journey but we all have a role to play to adapt to the changes we’re facing, to cushion the impact of what is happening and to pull together so we can bounce back when we get to the other side.”

The Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the $189 billion economic support package was the equivalent of 9.7 per cent of GDP.

“The Government is taking unprecedented action to strengthen the safety net available to Australians that are stood down or lose their jobs and increasing support for small businesses that do it tough over the next six months.

“These measures build significantly on what we have already announced.

“These extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures.”

Support for workers and households
Coronavirus supplement

The Government is temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments and establishing a new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight. This will be paid to both existing and new recipients of the JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.

The Coronavirus supplement will be paid for the next 6 months. Eligible income support recipients will receive the full amount of the $550 Coronavirus supplement on top of their payment each fortnight.

This measure is estimated to cost $14.1 billion over the forward estimates period.

An increase of up to 5,000 staff for Services Australia will assist to support delivery of new Government measures.

Payments to support households

In addition to the $750 stimulus payment announced on 12 March 2020, the Government will provide a further $750 payment to social security and veteran income support recipients and eligible concession card holders, except for those who are receiving an income support payment that is eligible to receive the Coronavirus supplement.

This second payment will be made automatically from 13 July 2020 to around 5 million social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. Around half of those that benefit are pensioners.

The first payment will be made from 31 March 2020 to people who will have been on one of the eligible payments any time between 12 March 2020 and 13 April 2020.

This measure is estimated to cost $4 billion over the forward estimates period.

Early release of superannuation

The Government will allow individuals in financial stress as a result of the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21.

Eligible individuals will be able to apply online through myGov for access of up to $10,000 of their superannuation before 1 July 2020. They will also be able to access up to a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020 for another three months. They will not need to pay tax on amounts released and the money they withdraw will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

This measure is estimated to cost $1.2 billion over the forward estimates period.

Temporarily reduce superannuation minimum drawdown rates

The Government is temporarily reducing superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products by 50 percent for 2019-20 and 2020-21. This measure will benefit retirees by providing them with more flexibility as to how they manage their superannuation assets.

Reducing social security deeming rates

On top of the deeming rate changes made at the time of the first package, the Government is reducing the deeming rates by a further 0.25 percentage points to reflect the latest rate reductions by the RBA.

As of 1 May 2020, the lower deeming rate will be 0.25 percent and the upper deeming rate will be 2.25 percent.

The change will benefit around 900,000 income support recipients, including Age Pensioners.

This measure is estimated to cost $876 million over the forward estimates period.

Assistance to business to keep people in a job

• Boosting Cash Flow for Employers

The Government is providing up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium sized businesses, and not‑for-profits (including charities) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000. These payments will help businesses’ and not-for-profits’ cash flow so they can keep operating, pay their rent, electricity and other bills and retain staff.

Under the enhanced scheme from the first package, employers will receive a payment equal to 100 per cent of their salary and wages withheld (up from 50 per cent), with the maximum payment being increased from $25,000 to $50,000. In addition, the minimum payment is being increased from $2,000 to $10,000. The payment will be available from 28 April 2020.

By linking the payments to business to staff wage tax withholdings, businesses will be incentivised to hold on to more of their workers.

The payments are tax free, there will be no new forms and payments will flow automatically through the ATO.

This measure will benefit around 690,000 businesses employing around 7.8 million people, and around 30,000 NFPs (including charities).

Small and medium business entities with aggregated annual turnover under $50 million and that employ workers are eligible. NFPs entities, including charities, with aggregated annual turnover under $50 million and that employ workers will now also be eligible. This will support employment at a time where NFPs are facing increasing demand for services.

An additional payment is also being made from 28 July 2020. Eligible entities will receive an additional payment equal to the total of all of the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers payments received.

This measure is estimated to cost $31.9 billion over the forward estimates period, including the value of the measure announced in the first package.

Regulatory protection and financial support for businesses to stay in business

Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme

The Government will establish the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme which will support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to get access to working capital to help them get them through the impact of the coronavirus.

Under the Scheme, the Government will guarantee 50 percent of new loans issued by eligible lenders to SMEs.

The Government’s support will enhance lenders’ willingness and ability to provide credit to SMEs with the Scheme able to support $40 billion of lending to SMEs.

The Scheme will complement the announcement the Government has made to cut red-tape to allow SMEs to get access to credit faster. It also complements announcements made by Australian banks to support small businesses with their existing loans.

This builds on the investment the Government is making to enable smaller lenders to continue supporting Australian consumers and small businesses, through providing the AOFM an investment capacity of $15 billion to invest in wholesale funding markets used by small authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADI) and non-ADI lenders.

It further supports the Reserve Bank of Australia’s announcement of a $90 billion term funding facility for ns ADIs, that will reduce the cost of lending, with particular incentives to lend to small and medium enterprises.

The measures the Government is announcing today, along with the previous announcements, will deliver a total of $125 billion to support Australians get through the impact of the coronavirus.

The Government will guarantee up to $20 billion to support $40 billion in SME loans.

Providing temporary relief for financially distressed businesses

The Government is temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company and the time companies have to respond to statutory demands they receive. The package also includes temporary relief for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent. The Corporations Act 2001 will be amended to provide temporary and targeted relief for companies to deal with unforeseen events that arise as a result of the Coronavirus.

• This builds on the support for business and business investment provided in our first economic support package, which included:

• increasing the instant asset write off

• backing business investment by providing accelerated depreciation deductions

• supporting apprentices and trainees

• targeted support for Coronavirus-affected regions and communities

Support for the aviation industry

As previously announced, the Government is also providing up to $715 million in support for Australian airlines and airports, which will ensure that our aviation sector receives timely cash flow support through an unprecedented period of disruption to international and domestic air travel.

While these are challenging times, Australians can rest assured that the Commonwealth Government will do all that is necessary to support them and build a bridge to ensure that all Australians can get to the other side of this crisis.