NSW parents to get $500 for primary kids


Parents in NSW will get a $500 voucher for each primary school child to help with before and after school care costs, as students head back to classrooms this week.

Premier Dominic Perrottet will announce the $155 million program to support parents and the out-of-school hours care industry on Monday, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Catholic school children return to school on Monday, with state school pupils starting the year on Tuesday.

Parents will be able to apply for the vouchers through Service NSW from February 28, similar to the Dine and Discover program that was rolled out last year to stimulate the hospitality industry.

The voucher scheme comes a day after the government announced a $1 billion support package for businesses hit by the Omicron outbreak.

“No other jurisdiction, no other state to date has provided financial support except NSW because that is the NSW way,” Mr Perrottet said on Sunday.

The package includes a payment of up to $5000 per week, or 20 per cent of payroll, for businesses with a turnover between $75,000 and $50 million who suffered a 40 per cent downturn in January, and project to do the same in February.

The government has extended the Small Business Fees and Charges rebate program to $3000, which can include 50 per cent of the costs incurred to get rapid antigen tests for the workplace.

Relief for commercial landlords has also been extended until March 13.

But opposition treasury spokesman Daniel Mookhey said the support is too little, too late and “there is no recognition for the incredibly tough six weeks businesses have already been through”.

“Businesses need to prove they lost 40 per cent of their trade in January, and yet they won’t be compensated for that January loss.

“It’s concerning that the support available to businesses will be half that of last year, despite the impacts on many businesses being worse than last year,” Mr Mookhey said.

Opposition small business spokesman Steve Kamper says the government’s refusal to backdate payments is “a cruel trick on businesses who have been hanging out for support”.

Westpac welcomed the financial shot in the arm, noting that retail, hospitality and entertainment businesses had been hardest hit “as Australians take a more cautious approach to living with the virus”.

NSW recorded the deadliest day of the pandemic so far with 52 deaths reported on Sunday, along with 13,524 new positive COVID-19 tests.

There were 2663 people in hospital with the virus, 182 in intensive care and 73 on ventilators.