Scott Morrison has announced new social distancing rules, an aged care boost and has postponed the federal budget until October because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Government was due to deliver the budget in mid-May but has pushed it back as Australia responds to the spreading disease.
“It was agreed today that putting budgets together at this time, with the great uncertainty that exists, is not something that any commonwealth or state government should be doing,” the Prime Minister said in Canberra.
“As a result, we have already decided that we will not be now handing down a budget until the first Tuesday in October.
“States and territories will be working to similar timetables.”
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the virus was creating too much uncertainty to craft a budget.
“Forecasting for budgets is difficult at the best of times, let alone when we’re in the midst of a global pandemic,” Mr Frydenberg told reporters.
“It’s important that we are able to deliver a budget at a time where there is more certainty about the economic environment.”
The federal government will pour an extra $444.6 million into aged care facilities, including money to help them hold onto staff amid the coronavirus crisis.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the extra funding would comprise $234.9 million in retention bonuses, $78.3 million to support continuity of workforce and $26.9 million to keep facilities financially viable.
Australians will also have to space themselves out one person for every four square metres for gatherings of less than 100 people.
Mr Morrison has introduced the new measure as part of a crackdown on activities to slow the spread of coronavirus.
“So for example, if you’ve got a room, if you’ve got a premises, if you’ve got a meeting room or something like that, that’s 100 square metres, then you can have 25 people in that room,” he said.
Travel will be restricted into remote indigenous areas to prevent coronavirus infecting communities.
Mr Morrison said states and territories would work with indigenous leaders to put forward areas that will be on the list for restricted travel.
Some travel exemptions will apply, including for medical treatment, food and medical supplies, mental health and domestic violence support and emergency services.
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