The region's casual workers are eager to discover whether they are eligible for the Federal Government's latest financial assistance package as the state prepares for an imminent shutdown of non-essential services in the wake of the growing coronavirus concern in NSW.
Supermarkets, petrol stations, pharmacies, convenience stores, freight and logistics, and home delivery are among the services that that will remain open, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Sunday.
While schools will be open on Monday, a further announcement is expected to change that situation from Tuesday.
Meanwhile, beauty therapist Eylem Duygun, is among those looking to the Federal Government for support.
Ms Duygun said her employer, Roza Rojano of Total Bliss Hair and Body Spa, had given her as much work as she could in recent weeks but says she will struggle to make ends meet when the business is forced to shut.
"It is a good thing the government is providing assistance," she said.
"When I can't work I don't get paid because I am a casual. I am not sure but I am hoping I am eligible.
"I have a son with mild autism. I am a carer for him and I have a four-year-old son in pre-school. I do get a parenting allowance and I think this is a good move if the government is willing to help us casuals."
In announcing details of the second stimulus package on Sunday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the doubling of the Jobseeker allowance, formerly known as Newstart, through the introduction of a temporary "coronavirus supplement" would allow more Australians to quickly access the support they need.
"It will provide an additional $550 a fortnight on top of the existing Jobseeker or Newstart payment," he said.
"It will be available to sole traders and casual workers who meet the income tests. Anyone eligible for the maximum Jobseeker payment will now receive more than $1100 a fortnight, effectively doubling the jobseeker allowance".
On March 12 the government announced a $750 payment for Australians on income support. On Sunday it announced a further $750 payment to those not eligible for the "coronavirus supplement, including those receiving the aged pension, carers allowance, family tax benefits and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.
Community Industry Group CEO Nicky Sloan said the stimulus will help prevent people falling into the poverty trap in the wake of widespread job losses expected as a result of the COVID-19 crisis
She said it was important to keep business going at this time of less demand.
Ms Sloan said the latest stimulus acknowledged that the $40 a day paid to job seekers was insufficient to support a reasonable life.
She welcomed the announcement that the Jobseeker Allowance and the Youth Allowance Job Seeker payment was being increased by $275 per week but said the fight to increase it further was not over.
"The temporary payment, which will be paid to both existing and new recipients of the JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance jobseeker, as well as to recipients of Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit will only be in place for the next six months," she said.
"There is no doubt that effectively doubling Newstart and Youth Allowance for six months will make an enormous difference to people who are struggling to manage on $40 a day".
Ms Sloan said with job losses expected as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the stimulus will help prevent more people from falling into the poverty trap.
But is concerned about what will happen when when the coronavirus supplement is removed.
"We are pleased to see the recognition that Newstart and Youthstart were insufficient to support people who are losing their jobs as a result of this crisis. However, if it's not enough for them, then it must be recognised that 'its not enough for anyone who is struggling to find paid work".
Ms Sloan said while the stimulus package provided additional funding for business she was concerned about community service organisations.
She said it was important to keep business going at this time of less demand but community service organisations are struggling with growing demand as people living on low incomes fall further into poverty and despair.
"The recent bushfire and flood disasters have placed further pressure on their already strained resources, and demand is already escalating as the impacts of the coronavirus are experienced," Ms Sloan said.
"Many services have seen no increase in funding for many years. With more funding, they could be not only offering increased services, but could also be putting on additional staff."
Ms Sloan said that would help stimulate the economy at this time.
She said the other initiative Community Industry Group would have like to see in the package was an increase in social housing at a time when the waiting lists was exceeding 10 years in the Illawarra.
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