Govt prepares $5b stimulus package: report

The government reportedly plans a $5 billion package to boost the economy in the shadow of COVID-19.
The government reportedly plans a $5 billion package to boost the economy in the shadow of COVID-19.

The federal government is reportedly finalising a $5 billion economic stimulus package amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The government is considering further reducing deeming rates for pensioners, providing all local councils with funding for small projects and expanding instant asset write-offs for businesses, according to News Corp Australia.

Ministers are due to meet on Sunday to prepare the details of the package to boost the economy, with the cabinet expected to rubber stamp the measures on Tuesday.

The government will also be sitting down with employers and union leaders on Tuesday to discuss the virus' impact on business.

Opposition health spokesman Chris Bowen said Labor would support a direct household stimulus package, similar to the payments Australians received under the Rudd government during the GFC, if it was "sensible".

A lift to Newstart payments could also help boost the economy in the wake of the virus, Mr Bowen told ABC's Insiders program on Sunday.

Mr Bowen would quickly convene a shadow cabinet meeting once the government had released details for its stimulus package.

"If it's good, it we will support it," he said.

"But we also, of course, reserve the right to criticise it if it needs improvement and if it's not big enough."

Attorney-General Christian Porter is meeting with union and business heads in Sydney on Tuesday to discuss how to keep key industries - including food and pharmaceuticals - operating at full capacity.

He says unions and employers have a key role to play to keep shops stocked as Australians resort to panic buying.

"It's vitally important that we are all working towards the same goal," Mr Porter said.

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said any change to Newstart would be separate to the stimulus package.

"The stimulus package ... is around a short term, measured and proportionate response to the economic conditions that we're encountering right now," Senator Ruston told Sky News on Sunday.

Australian Associated Press