Lotterywest sets up virus-rescue fund

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The state government has unveiled $184 million in initiatives to boost crisis support and provide rent relief for small businesses and not-for-profit groups impacted by COVID-19, while the City of Perth has announced a rent-free period for tenants in city-owned buildings.

The announcements come as Western Australia’s confirmed COVID-19 cases grew by 44, bringing the state’s total to 355 infections.

Lotterywest today unveiled a $159 million COVID-19 Relief Fund, of which $59 million will be immediately available to eligible not for profits and community organisations.

The initial emergency support will cover costs related to demand for critical needs such as food, clothing and shelter.

The funding will also provide financial relief for not-for-profit sports, arts and community organisations experiencing hardship, a result of events cancelled due to coronavirus-related restrictions.

“From now on, every profit Lotterywest makes from jackpots, draws and tickets excluding statutory grants will go directly into a newly created COVID-19 Relief Fund,” Premier Mark McGowan said.

The premier also announced today that not-for-profit groups and small businesses in government-owned properties would not have to pay rent for six months under the latest stimulus response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr McGowan said $25 million had been allocated to the rent relief plan, marking the first time the state government had waived rental payments for any lease holders.

“We expect this measure will offer relief to many small businesses,” he said.

“The state government is leading by example and we’d like to see landlords follow suit, when they can.”

At the same time, the City of Perth has suspended lease and rental repayments for three months for tenants leasing city-owned property, including the relinquishment of bank guarantees.

The first hour of on-street parking in central Perth will be free for the same period, while the city has also reduced payment terms for creditors from 30 days to 15 days.

The announcements come as Health Minister Roger Cook revealed 44 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, bringing the state’s total to 355 infections.

Mr Cook said 27 of the new cases were passengers aboard the Artania cruise ship.

He said about 84 per cent of WA’s confirmed cases were linked to overseas travel or cruise ships.

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