Federal government reveals financial support for Covid-stricken Victoria

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Unemployed Victorians are eligible for a new payment as the state grapples with the fourth Covid lockdown. Here’s how to claim yours.

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Morrison’s government has announced a disaster payment for eligible workers who have stepped down unpaid in Victoria – but there are obligations attached….

The Morrison government has announced a disaster benefit for eligible workers who have stepped down unpaid in Victoria – but there are conditions attached.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced new Covid support. Image: NCA NewsWire/Martin OllmanSource: News Corp Australia

Melburnians will have to prove they have less than $10,000 in cash and have « insufficient » leave entitlements to receive another $500 Covid lockdown emergency payment.

Victoria was thrown into lockdown more than a week ago to quell an escalating Covid outbreak, a measure that was extended earlier this week.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed on Thursday that people in hotspots are eligible for weekly emergency payments to help them through the crisis.

People who live in hotspots over the age of 17 and normally work 20 hours per week will receive $500 per week, while those who work less 20 hours will receive $325.

“They can do this from Tuesday by submitting an application online to Services Australia, and they will also have a number to contact. More information will be provided on that, » said Mr Morrison.

To be eligible, applicants must state that they would have worked without the lockdown and lost income as a result.

They must report less than $10,000 in cash and have « insufficient » leave entitlements, including special pandemic and sick leave.

They do not have to take holiday leave.

Emergency Relief Minister David Littleproud said Victorians « can rest assured that the money is in their account ».

He said Services Australia ensured that those eligible could submit their application to Centrelink.

Centrelink was « ready to use » and ensured that it had sufficient resources to process requests.

Morrison said: « Victorians just want to know they get help next week ».

« That’s the point and they will be able to do this from Tuesday, » said Mr Morrison.

« They want to know they’re getting that support and if you meet the criteria, you’ll get that support next week. »

Morrison said the federal government’s support is « commensurate with the risks being taken to avoid unnecessary hardship for Australians ».

The Commonwealth will also establish a national framework for support in areas defined as a hotspot, where the lockdown will last longer than seven days.

« The first seven days are entirely a matter for state and territory governments as they want to provide support, » he said.

“If a lockdown, due to a state public health order, continues (after seven days)… then we will support payments for those affected and the affected areas.”

Payments are reviewed weekly.

« We’re talking about someone coming through the next week who would normally be in an economic situation where every dollar counts. »

But the Prime Minister has denied that the move was an admission that the Commonwealth was partly responsible for the situation in Victoria.

“It’s an acknowledgment that the Commonwealth responds to disasters. That’s what it’s a confession of, » he said.

Morrison spoke to acting Victorian Prime Minister James Merlino on Wednesday, where he suggested dividing the funding for the new payment equally.

Another option suggested by the prime minister was for the state to cover all business aid and for the federal government to finance all household aid.

“Anyway, we will work it out tomorrow at the national cabinet. We’ll have a good talk about it, » he said.

“It’s about businesses getting the support they need and households getting the support they need.

« The politicians don’t have to discuss in public how that’s going to happen. »

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the lockdown had hit Victorians « very hard » but insisted they get to « the other side » of the crisis.

“The payment announced by the Prime Minister is so important. It’s going to support the Victorians at a time when they need that support, » he said.

Mr Frydenberg said the federal government has already provided three times as much aid at the state level.

Mr Morrison was pressured by the slow rollout of the vaccine in the country after Mr Merlino criticized progress as « unfortunately, painfully slow ».

The prime minister said there was a « significant scaling up » in the pace of the rollout.

« We’re working closely with the Victorian government and I think that’s what people want to see, » he said.

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