The ACT lockdown will be extended a further four weeks, until 11:59pm Friday 15 October 2021.

There are currently still only six essential reasons you can leave your home, including:

  • to buy essential groceries and medicine
  • to access essential healthcare including in-home care
  • for essential work
  • to exercise outdoors for two hours per day in your region
  • to get a COVID-19 test
  • to get a COVID-19 vaccination.

Slight change to restrictions for businesses: Small businesses who are currently permitted to operate a click and collect or click and deliver service can have up to 5 people in the business at any one time, or one person per four square metres (whichever is lesser). This is a 2 person increase from the previous rules and comes into effect from 11:59pm Friday 17 September 2021. Activities must accord with COVID-19 Requirements for Click and Collect Services for non-Essential Retailers.

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ACT’s pathway forward

ACT’s priority over the next four weeks will be to vaccinate as many people as possible. At least 48,769 Canberrans will receive their first vaccination dose at an ACT Government clinic, and 35,475 will become fully vaccinated. Many more people will get vaccinated through the primary health network over this time period.

As the nation reaches the vaccination thresholds outlined in the National Plan to transition Australia’s COVID-19 response, the ACT will be in a position to support the gradual easing of restrictions locally. Based on current trajectories, the ACT Government anticipates to reach the 70% and 80% effective vaccination milestones in mid to late October and early to mid November. Each of the phases outlined in the ACT’s Pathway Forward is an opportunity to consider our local public health response. When looking to ease restrictions, there will be a few considerations:

  • Vaccination rates both locally and nationally.
  • The levels of community transmission.
  • The ability to continue high level test, trace, isolate and quarantine responses.
  • How well the community and businesses are complying with Public Health Directions.
  • The ACT government’s health system capacity.

A mid-point review of the current health directions will be conducted after two weeks of the lockdown extension.

 

Additional financial support during lockdown

To support Canberrans significantly impacted by the lockdown, the ACT Government will extend and expand a range of financial support measures.

$1,000 Utilities Concession for 2021-22

The ACT Government will provide an additional one-off $200 increase in the utilities concession to bring it to $1,000 for 2021-22 – helping the most vulnerable in the community with a significant expense throughout the year. In addition to the $100 increase already announced in June, this will mean that the utilities concession for 31,000 eligible households in Canberra will increase from $700 to $1,000 from last financial year to this financial year.

Support for Tenants and Landlords

The ACT Government will extend the previously announced land tax and commercial rates relief to landlords who provide rent relief to their tenants through to 31 December 2021.

Commercial landlords who offer rent relief may be eligible for a commercial rates credit of up to $10,000 (increased from $5,000) at an estimated total cost of $5.5 million.

Residential landlords providing rent relief will be eligible for a credit on their residential land tax of up to $100 per week to share the cost of passing rent relief on to tenants – now extended out to 31 December 2021 at an estimated total cost of $2.2 million.

Further, the ACT Government will waive rent payments until 31 December 2021 for any business and community sector tenants of government-owned properties that have been significantly affected by the COVID-19 lockdown. Further information can be found here for landlords and tenants.

Jobs for Canberrans

The ACT Government will extend the contracts for over 110 staff in the Jobs for Canberrans program. This highly successful program has supported the ACT’s COVID response and provided employment opportunities to over 500 people to work within the ACT Public Service in areas like City Services, Access Canberra, Health and Education.

The Government has also extended all other ACT Public Sector temporary employment contracts due to expire for a further six weeks.

Community Sector

The Government will make additional funding announcements in the coming days regarding further crisis response funding in areas such as mental health and emergency relief, and related service delivery partnerships with the community sector.

ACT Budget 2021-22

The ACT Budget will be delivered on Wednesday 6 October.  Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the COVID response would be the major priority. The budget will also invest in healthcare, public education and TAFE, public housing, responding to climate change, and transport and infrastructure.

Jointly funded support with the Commonwealth Government

The ACT Government and the Commonwealth Government are extending jointly funded financial supports to support businesses significantly impacted by the public health measures, and consistent with arrangements in place for other jurisdictions. Mr Barr expects to make further joint announcements in the coming days.