The WA State Government and Commonwealth Government have announced measures to support individuals and jobseekers, and families and households, who have been impacted by COVID-19.
There's also support available from the WA Jobs and Skills Centres, and in your local community.
The content provided here is for general information only, and is updated regularly.
You should always refer to the relevant State and Commonwealth Government agency websites for full details and current information.
Follow the links to find out more.
- Support from Jobs and Skills Centres
- COVID-19 Training for jobs
- Support for apprentices and trainees
- Working from home expenses
- Early release of superannuation funds
- Jobs Hub for jobseekers
- Financial support for those unable to work or unemployed
- $750 Economic Support Payment
- Coronavirus $550 fortnightly supplement payment
- Know your workplace entitlements and obligations
- Looking after your mental health
- WA Government household assistance
- Free child care
- Special benefits and Crisis payments
- How to register to claim with Centrelink
- Changes to existing Centrelink payments and services
Support from your local Jobs and Skills Centre
Jobs and Skills Centres are one-stop shops for free careers, training and employment advice and assistance, and are located across Western Australia.
Your local JSC can provide professional and practical advice on training and employment opportunities, including apprenticeship and training information, and assistance with jobseeking including helping to update your CV and write job applications.
Support services for Aboriginal people, ex-offenders and people from a culturally or linguistically diverse background are also available.
The JSCs also have a free online jobs board, to connect jobseekers with local employment opportunities including apprenticeships and traineeships.
Support for apprentices and trainees
If you are employed as an apprentice or trainee, or have had your training contract cancelled or suspended due to the impact of COVID-19, we can help.
For support, advice and information — including available financial support — please visit our COVID-19 Support for apprentices and trainees page.
COVID-19 Training for jobs
A number of short courses are being developed to prepare Western Australia to rebuild and reshape our business and workforce.
These short courses will be available from a range of training providers, including TAFE colleges, and will provide opportunities for people to upskill for jobs during the COVID-19 recovery phase.
Working from home expenses
If you are working from home as a result of COVID-19, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) has put together some useful information about expenses that you may be able to claim. These expenses may include costs related to phone and internet, electricity, items such as paper and other stationery, and office furniture.
Full details, including a list of eligible expenses and how to calculate them, are available on the ATO website.
Early release of superannuation funds
The Australian Government is allowing eligible individuals affected by COVID-19 to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019—20 and a further $10,000 in 2020–21. Individuals will not need to pay tax on amounts released and will not need to include it in their income tax return.
New Jobs Hub for jobseekers
While many businesses have been adversely affected by COVID-19 and are reducing their workforces, in some areas there is now an increased demand for workers. These areas include jobs in healthcare and allied health, transport and logistics, some areas of retail, mining and mining services, manufacturing, agriculture and government sectors — among others.
On 2 April, the Commonwealth Government’s Department of Education, Skills and Employment launched a new Jobs Hub, where vacancies and employment opportunities from across Australia are all available in one place. Updated daily, the Jobs Hub is free to use and includes Australian Government jobs.
Support for those unable to work
You may be eligible for financial support through Services Australia (Centrelink) to assist you through the impact of COVID-19.
Support is available if you are:
- not able to work or don’t have work;
- an employee who has been stood down or lost your job;
- an employee whose hours of paid work have been reduced;
- a sole trader, self employed, casual or contract worker whose income has reduced;
- caring for someone who’s affected by coronavirus; or
- in isolation or hospitalised, or caring for children.
Waiting periods, asset tests and some other conditions have been waived at this time, making it easier for you to access these payments quickly.
You will still need to meet all the eligibility rules including residence rules and income tests.
What payments are available?
- JobKeeper Payment
Employees can receive a minimum of $1,500 per fortnight, for up to six months, if they are stood down or their hours are reduced.
Find out more about the JobKeeper payment
- JobSeeker Payment
If you're between 22 and aged pension age and looking for work, or if you're sick or injured and can't do your usual work or study for a short time.
Find out more about the JobSeeker Payment
- Youth Allowance
If you're 24 years of age or younger, and a student or Australian apprentice. Or if you're 21 or younger and looking for work.
Find out more about the Youth Allowance
- Parenting Payment
An income support payment for while you are a main carer for a young child.
Find out more about the Parenting Payment
$750 Economic Support Payments
The Government is providing two separate $750 payments to social security, veteran and other income support recipients including those receiving:
- Youth and Newstart Allowance;
- Age and Disability Support pension;
- Carer Payment and/or Allowance; and
- Parenting Payment and Partner Allowance.
You will also get the payment if you have a Pensioner Concession, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card or Veteran Gold Card.
A number of Department of Veterans' Affairs payments are also eligible.
Coronavirus $550 fortnightly supplement
If you are receiving a payment from Services Australia (Centrelink), you may be eligible to receive a temporary $550 fortnightly Coronavirus Supplement. This will be an extra $550 a fortnight, on top of your income support payment. Eligible payment types include Jobseeker Payment, Youth Allowance, Austudy, ABSTUDY, and Parenting Payment.
- If you are already receiving one of the eligible payments, you don't need to do anything — you will automatically receive the supplement.
- If you have not yet registered for one of the eligible payments, if your claim is approved you will get the supplement automatically.
WA Government household assistance
On 31 March, the WA State Government announced a new economic relief package to support WA households experiencing financial difficulties due to COVID-19, offering three key measures.
Assistance with energy bills
The Energy Assistance Payment (EAP) boost now includes new eligible applicants until 30 September 2020.
Through the EAP, any person unemployed due to COVID-19 who becomes eligible for a concession card will receive an upfront $305 credited against their electricity bill (from 11 May 2020) and up to a further $305 credited over the course of the next year. Please visit your electricity provider's website for full details.
Additionally, the State Government announced:
- there would be no new energy tariff price increases or new charges for households to at least 1 July 2021;
- no WA households experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 will have their power disconnected (until 30 September 2020); and
- no interest will be charged on deferred bill payments for those experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 until further notice.
Government duty and tax payments relief
Households that are directly or indirectly impacted by COVID-19 may apply for an interest-free payment arrangement and for late payment penalties to be waived for transfer duty, landholder duty, vehicle licence duty and land tax.
Support for Keystart loan customers
Keystart customers facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 can apply to defer principal repayments and waive interest costs by up to six months.
Keystart is also offering options to assist customers to pay their loan; including deferring repayments, reducing repayments or extending the term of the loan.
For customers that are particularly vulnerable due to COVID-19, Keystart may consider waiving interest repayments (on a case-by-case basis) for up to six months.
Rent relief for tenants
On 23 April, the WA State Government announced $30 million in Residential Rent Relief Grants for residential tenants who have lost their job and are facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.
Grants equivalent to four-weeks rent — up to a maximum of $2,000 — will be paid directly to the tenant's landlord, to contribute to the tenant's rental payments. Applications for the grant will open on 1 May.
Free child care
On 2 April the Prime Minister announced a plan for free child care, for parents who are using it during the COVID-19 pandemic, to support families as well as assist businesses and employees in the early childhood education and care sector to continue operating.
Under the plan, the Government will pay centres for the next six months, as long as they remain open and don't charge parents any fees.
Please contact your child care service provider for further information.
Special benefits and crisis payments
Special Benefit payment
If you are in severe financial hardship and can’t get other income support from the Government, you may be able to access the Special Benefit payment from Centrelink. The amount you receive will depend on your circumstances.
You may be eligible for a one-off Crisis Payment payment, if you're in severe financial hardship because of extreme circumstances. The amount you receive will depend on your circumstances.
Registering to claim with Centrelink
If you’re affected by COVID-19, the first step is to register your intention to claim a Centrelink payment.
Once you have registered your intention to make a claim, Centrelink will contact you to let you know what the next steps are.
You do not need to come into a service centre to register your intention to claim.
Please register online via the myGov website.
All payments will be backdated to the date you registered.
Changes to your current Centrelink payments
There are changes to the following payments and services for people affected by COVID-19 who are already receiving income support from the Government.
- Students and trainees
- Families (including child support)
- People with disability
- Indigenous Australians
- Older Australians
- Rural and remote
- Families and separated parents
Your workplace entitlements and obligations
It's important to know about your workplace entitlements and obligations if you're affected or impacted by COVID-19. This includes information about your pay, your leave entitlements, what happens if you can't attend work because you have to care for a family member, and working from home.
The Australian Government's Fair Work Ombudsman has produced some helpful information on COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and Australian workplace laws. It includes answers to frequently asked questions such as "when can employees be stood down without pay?" and "What about casual employees and independent contractors?".
Looking after your mental health
It's normal to be concerned about COVID-19, but for some people that concern can turn into feelings of anxiety and distress which can be overwhelming. At times like this, you need to look out for your family and friends but most importantly - look after your own mental health.
Beyond Blue is one of Australia's largest mental health organisations, working all across Australia to improve the lives of individuals, families and communities affected by mental health issues. They have some excellent information and resources on their website, and some great advice that can help you stay as positive as possible through this challenging time.