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Joint Chief Minister/Orr Media Release: Supporting casual and part-time workers during COVID-19

August 17, 2020

As the Territory emerges from the combined impact of bushfires and COVID-19, we are providing further support to vulnerable members of the Territory workforce.

Casual and part-time workers have been among the hardest hit with widespread unemployment across a range of sectors.

A Hardship Fund for workers experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic will also be created. Having seen some of the issues faced in Victoria for individuals that rely on insecure work but need to take time to quarantine, the fund will be available to help Canberrans who need to take time off work due to public health risks.

Canberrans who are unable to temporarily work under a COVID-19 direction or health guidance will be eligible payments of up to $1,500 depending on an individual’s circumstances (such as available sick leave through their employer).

Throughout 2020, we have experienced some of the lowest hotel occupancy rates with no international visitors coming to Canberra and low numbers of domestic visitors, temporary business closures and major event cancellations. This has had a significant impact on our tourism and hospitality industry, which pre-COVID-19 employed over 18,000 Canberrans, many of which in either casual or part-time roles.

As part of a suite of measures to support these Canberrans and keep them in employment, the Government will deliver a new Tourism Support Package. 

The Tourism and Hospitality Support package, which is designed to protect and create local jobs, will include;

  • Establishment of a Tourism Cooperative Marketing Fund to provide matched funding to cooperative marketing projects proposed by ACT tourism operators and attractions;
  • Further tax relief to Canberra's hotels and hospitality industry through rebates and fee relief;
  • Increased funding for community events and support staffing to deliver the current Events ACT calendar of events throughout the year; and
  • Support for  a physical distancing technology pilot to help position Canberra to attract new business events in the current environment.

Funding of $100,000 for an infection control support program will also be allocated to an online platform to provide information to businesses about workplace health and safety, workers’ rights and how to keep safe and report non-compliance in the hospitality industry. 

A tender for this work will go live today. It will be advertised for two weeks from 17 – 31 August and the contract is expected to start on the 21st of September. The request for proposal will be available in Tenders ACT as the central point for managing ACT Government tenders. To view the documents please visit

The Government is also extending assistance provided under the utilities concession to eligible asylum seekers for 2020-21. Asylum seekers with a valid ACT Services Access Card will be able to apply by 30 June 2021 for a $900 rebate on their electricity bills for 2020-21, which includes the annual $700 utilities concession and additional one-off $200 rebate.

To find out more visit the business and work hub on the COVID-19 website

Statement ends