Prime Minister Scott Morrison has asked businesses to hold fire on any further shutdowns or job cuts ahead of a third stimulus package to be announced in the next few days.
The package is expected to include a $1500 a fortnight "job keeper" allowance for those whose employers go into "hibernation" for the next six months, Seven News reported on Sunday night.
The government has so far announced two stimulus packages worth more than $80 billion aimed at trying to shield business and workers from the impact of coronavirus.
"The next stage ... will be even bigger than anything you have so far seen," Mr Morrison said on Sunday.
"It is part of the hibernation strategy of ensuring that we keep people connected with their businesses and with their jobs, so on the other side of this Australia can bounce back stronger."
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- $1.1 billion package to help with mental health, domestic violence prevention and other health measures.
- A WhatsApp group and a coronavirus app have been set up to provide Australians with updates.
- Australians returning home from overseas will be quarantined for two weeks in hotels or other accommodation before being allowed home.
- People flouting social distancing, isolation or quarantine orders faces fines of $1000 or more in most states.
- Around 350 Australian Defence Force personnel are supporting state and territory authorities to enforce quarantine compliance.
- Borders closed in Queensland, Tasmania, SA, NT and WA. Freight and essential travel excepted.
- Tasmania and SA has banned gatherings of more than 10 people.
- Non-essential travel should cease.
- Australians, excluding aid workers and compassionate travel cases, are banned from international travel.
- A limited number of international rescue flights will be made for stranded Australians.
- Groups of more than two people in public are discouraged. States are still deciding on whether to enforce the new rule, which is up from groups of 10.
- People aged over 70 or 60-plus with chronic illness are discouraged from leaving their homes unless essential for medical care.
- Still open: supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, public transport, some schools, hairdressers, petrol stations, postal and freight services, bottle shops, newsagents, retail shops. Restaurants restricted to take-away/delivery in most states.
- Closed: schools in Victoria and ACT, gyms, indoor sports venues, pubs, cinemas, nightclubs, casinos, places of worship, theme parks, auction houses, food courts in shopping centres, beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons, spas and tattoo parlours, galleries, museums, libraries, youth centres, community halls, clubs, RSL clubs, swimming pools, amusement parks, arcades, indoor and outdoor play centres, social sports that involve large groups, outdoor and indoor markets, outdoor playgrounds, skate parks.
- School holidays in Queensland, SA and WA also brought forward with only children of parents who have essential jobs allowed to stay.
- Funerals are limited to no more than 10 people, but states can provide exemptions; weddings restricted to the couple, celebrant and two witnesses.
- All elective surgery in public facilities put on hold.
- Testing extended to include anyone with a fever or acute respiratory infection who works in health care or aged care, lives in areas with an elevated risk of community transmission, or where there are two or more plausibly linked cases.
- All patients will be able to access Medicare-funded online consultations from next week.
As well as the wage subsidy, there is also expected to be an easing of restrictions on claiming benefits, and rental assistance for both business and individuals.
It comes at a time when economists are predicting a jump in the unemployment rate, possibly as high as 17 per cent.
The government has to date resisted the idea of a wage subsidy similar to the UK's, which would fund 80 per cent of the wage bill of a business so it can keep its workers on the payroll rather than having them join a lengthening dole queue.
Mr Morrison said it wasn't a question of just "cutting and pasting" what other countries were doing and that the government had been working to find a scheme to fit with Australia's system.
He asked businesses to hold off on any further decisions until they see the measures the government will be announcing in the next few days.
"We will be ensuring also that those who have already gone into this very devastating situation, where they have had to stand down workers, that any measures that we're announcing will be taking them on as well," he said.
Labor's industrial relation's spokesman Tony Burke said a wage subsidy needed to be implemented urgently.
"It has to be enough of a subsidy to give a real incentive to employers to keep people in their jobs," he said in Sydney.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said having doubled the level of income support under the JobSeeker payment, the government was also going to ease restrictions in terms of partner income.
This would ensure that those with partners who are seeking support would not be negatively affected.
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The current partner income test kicks in once a partner earns more than $48,000.
Several major companies including Qantas, Virgin Australia and Myer, and smaller companies - particularly in the hospitality and retail industries - have already stood down tens of thousands of workers.
Former ANZ chief economist Warren Hogan said the crisis had rapidly become an employment problem.
"I think a wage subsidy is critical at this juncture ... because we have such a significant amount of jobs losses," Mr Hogan told Sky News.
Treasury had estimated the impact of the coronavirus would see an additional one million people out of work, but already firms are shedding or have stood down between 60 to 90 per cent of their staff.
"I think very quickly we can talk about over a million jobs being lost. It looks like we are going to get through that in very short order," Mr Hogan said.
"I think by the time we get to Easter we are going to probably see about 1.5 to 1.8 million job losses due to stand downs.
That would see the unemployment rate soar from 5.1 per cent as of February to somewhere above, between 15 and 17 per cent."
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