Victorian tenants struggling to pay rent due to the coronavirus will be temporarily protected from eviction under a $500 million rent relief package.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Tuesday a six-month ban on evictions and rent increases for both commercial and residential tenants, as well as tax relief for landlords.
“We will support the most vulnerable, but also make sure that landlords and tenants are getting the benefit of these arrangements,” he told reporters.
The new measures will be backdated to March 29 for six months, as agreed by the national cabinet, while state parliament will sit next week to pass urgent bills relating to the coronavirus.
It comes as a further eight people tested positive to COVID-19 overnight, bringing the state’s total to 1299.
No new deaths were recorded and the state’s virus toll stands at 14.
It follows slow growth in new cases over the Easter weekend, though authorities are warning against compliance or lifting strict social distancing rules too early.
Under Victoria’s stage three restrictions, people can leave their homes to shop for food and essential items, medical care or caregiving, work or education and exercise.
Individuals can be fined $1652 if they leave home for non-essential reasons and businesses face a $9913 fine if caught in the wrong.
More than 21,000 spot checks had been done since March 21.
Police conducted more than 800 checks in the last 24 hours and issued some 52 fines, including to six people playing tennis at a closed tennis court at Maribyrnong on Tuesday.
Eight young people “socialising” at a closed school and 10 at a skate park in Greater Dandenong were also fined.
Victoria Police has vowed to review every lockdown-related fine for non-compliance of the chief health officer’s directive to stay home.
Meanwhile, students will mostly be at home from Wednesday after the state government said those who can study at home, must do so.
Those students whose parents are on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19 or have to go to work, will go to school. But those who attend school will still learn remotely, under supervision. Vulnerable children are also allowed to go to school.
AAP