The New South Wales government has revealed its plan to save 10,000 jobs as the state approaches its 10th week in lockdown with cases reaching new highs.
Under the expanded JobSaver scheme, businesses with annual turnovers of up to $1 billion will be able to access the government subsidies, official JobSaver fact sheets now show.
Previously, businesses with turnovers above $250 million were excluded from the subsidies.
The JobSaver subsidies are based on pre-lockdown payroll costs, with businesses eligible to claim up to 40 per cent of their payroll costs, provided businesses maintain their staffing levels.
Businesses with turnovers between $500 million and $1 billion will need to show they have seen losses of at least 50 per cent to access support, and will be eligible for weekly payments of up to $500,000.
The extended scheme is also only eligible to businesses in the tourism, hospitality and recreation sectors.
According to reports in The Australian, the expansion is hoped to save 10,000 jobs.
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) welcomed the expansion, describing it is a "lifeline" for thousands of businesses.
“These measures will save jobs and will save livelihoods,” ACCI chief executive Andrew McKellar said.
“ACCI has strongly advocated for additional financial support, noting that cashflow is an urgent concern for many struggling businesses. After experiencing prolonged lockdowns, businesses are struggling to stay afloat.
“Mounting costs for businesses mean that increasing support is warranted. Businesses still need to pay rent, interest on loans, electricity and internet bills as well as other fixed costs – an impossible feat for many businesses that are closed or have had to significantly reduce trading. Without government assistance these expenses would continue to climb."
The JobSaver scheme was introduced in July 2020, but has been plagued by major processing delays with businesses often waiting weeks to see the support hit their bank accounts.
Some 260,000 businesses have already applied for support, but 200,000 approved applications were still being paid as of last week.
"I apologise profusely for any delays that anyone's experienced, I received a detailed update yesterday on the systems upgrades that have taken place," NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said last week.
"Whilst I know it's little consolation, the wait time is now down to 18 minutes on average."
It comes as NSW records 1,029 new cases of COVID-19 in the community, as the state races to vaccinate its population.