Coronavirus outbreaks have plunged more than half of Australia into lockdown, sparking calls for more federal support. Source: SBS News.
The Morrison Government is resisting pressure to reinstate JobKeeper wage subsidies with at least 13.5 million people under heavy restrictions in NSW, Victoria and South Australia.
Instead, people who lose work in designated hot spots can access weekly payments of between $375 and $600 when lockdowns extend beyond seven days.
Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said national wage subsidies, which initially paid out $1,500 a fortnight before being scaled back, were proven to work.
He told Sky News that while JobKeeper had its problems, it was an “incredibly stupid decision to end JobKeeper and replace it with something inferior”.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said disaster payments were higher than the $1,000-a-fortnight rate JobKeeper ended at.
In NSW, 388,000 claims worth $186 million have been approved during the outbreak which has infected 1,418 people in the past month.
Victorians will become eligible on Friday when the current lockdown enters its second week.
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall is confident assistance will be made available to his state despite restrictions being planned for an initial seven days. His state last night joined Victoria and Sydney and surrounds in lockdown.
The Australian Council of Social Service estimates 800,000 welfare recipients who support 400,000 children have been excluded from disaster payments.
ACOSS chief executive Cassandra Goldie is urging state and federal leaders to fill the gap ahead of a national cabinet meeting on Friday.