Lockdown support ends when jab targets reach | Liverpool City Champion


Workers and businesses will see their lockdown support payments canceled once key milestones in immunization coverage are reached.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Wednesday presented a plan to phase out billions of dollars in federal cash assistance once 70 and 80 percent of those over 16 are immune.

The COVID disaster payment provides $ 750 per week for people who have lost more than 20 hours of work and $ 450 for those below that threshold.

People on income support who lose eight hours can access $ 200 per week.

But once a state achieves 70% two-dose immunization coverage, workers will need to reapply every week for payments to prove they’re eligible.

At 80% there will be a two week transition until support is removed.

More than 1.5 million Australians living in lockdown in NSW, Victoria and ACT are receiving the payments.

Mr Frydenberg said roadmaps ending the restrictions showed people would be back to work and businesses would reopen.

“These COVID disaster payments, these business support payments have been emergency payments and we cannot go on and on with them indefinitely,” he said.

“We also cannot continue the lockdowns forever. If you look abroad, the UK, Canada, the US – countries are starting to live with COVID.”

Australian Council of Social Services chief executive Cassandra Goldie said there was a gaping hole in income support payments for those hardest hit by the pandemic.

“It is unreasonable to cut payments to low-income people when the government does not guarantee safe vaccination rates,” she told AAP.

Federal co-funded business support payments will also decrease under agreements to be reached with states and territories.

In the first week after a Territory state achieves 80 percent immunization coverage, people who have lost more than eight hours of work will receive a payment of $ 450.

Those on Income Support will see their assistance cut in half to $ 100.

In the second week, payment will reflect JobSeeker at $ 320 and be completed for Income Support recipients.

The disaster payment for workers forced to isolate or care for someone with coronavirus will remain in place until the end of June next year.

Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers said some people will continue to do it hard after the 80 percent mark is hit.

“The problem here is that we have a government that is quickly withdrawing its support, slow to roll out vaccines and quarantine, and too eager to fight with states,” he told reporters in Darwin.

Dr Chalmers said Labor did not want support to continue indefinitely, but preferred aid tailored to economic conditions.

“The federal government is responsible for this economic carnage. The least it can do is support people and help them get to the other side,” he said.

The treasurer said separate economic support for struggling sectors like hospitality and tourism would be considered.

More than $ 9 billion has been paid to stranded workers since COVID disaster payments began in June.

Australia has fully immunized over 52.5% of its population aged 16 and over.

Associated Australian Press

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