More people in New South Wales will be eligible for emergency Covid-19 payment as the state grapples with a worrying outbreak of the virus.
The state’s lockdown was extended for a week on Wednesday after recording its 15th consecutive double-digit increase as the state struggled to bring the highly infectious Delta variant under control.
The federal government confirmed in June a new emergency payment of $ 325 or $ 500 for some people living in Covid-19 hotspots lasting longer than a week, although beneficiaries were forced to prove they had less than $ 10,000 in assets – like a car – and cash savings.
But in his first public appearance since Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed that the cash requirement would be lifted when lockdowns enter a third week.
âIt doesn’t matter how much money you have in your bank account or what you can easily convert to cash,â Mr. Morrison said.
People who work 20 hours or more receive the payment of $ 500, while people who work less than that receive the lower amount. Support was available online via the Services Australia website.
Australian residents aged 17 or older are eligible, but must prove that they have lost their job or income due to the virus.
Recipients must also have âinsufficientâ leave entitlements, excluding annual leave, and cannot benefit from any form of income support payment or pandemic leave payment.
Couples who live together can apply individually.
Mr Morrison warned that the “quicksand” in New South Wales had implications for the national economy and signaled discussions of further support if the crisis worsened.
âIt is absolutely imperative that in this phase where we are now, the suppression phase, that we work together to ensure that we can suppress this latest outbreak as effectively as possible,â he said.
“We will work with the government of New South Wales to make this happen, both economically and from a health perspective.”
The announcement came after Prime Minister and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg held a “long meeting” on Wednesday with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet to discuss support for the struggling state.
Another 300,000 additional doses of vaccine, half Pfizer and half AstraZeneca, will be advanced for the state, targeting in particular areas with high infection rates.
Mr Morrison said he âunderstandsâ the frustrations associated with the lockdown, but warned his compatriots in Sydney after a series of violations over the past week.
âThe virus doesn’t move on its own, it moves from person to person. People wear it from one to the other, âhe said.
Mr Morrison called on all eligible Australians to be vaccinated, urging the public not to succumb to pandemic fatigue.
âI know people get tired. I know they get frustratedâ¦ (But) now is not the time to give in to that frustration, âhe said.
The support was initially unveiled in June after Victoria’s lockdown was extended to 14 days, with the federal government covering the cost of payments to individuals and states covering those to businesses.
Mr Morrison said the extended lockdown in New South Wales forced the hand of the federal government.
âYou have to respond to the evidence and the evidence is: there will be a need for additional support, as it lasts longer in Sydney than in Melbourne,â Mr Morrison said.
The prime minister said state and territory budgets were in a “stronger position” than that of the Commonwealth, which had already spent $ 27 billion on Covid-19 health support alone.
âYou all understand what the impact of this has been on the Commonwealth budget. This has been important, and it will be for a long time to come, âhe said.
Mr Frydenberg had previously rejected calls from the NSW state government to restart its JobKeeper wage subsidy, which expired in late March.
Labor Treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers insisted that a more efficient deployment of vaccines would have negated the need for blockages, which had “devastating consequences” for businesses.
“Whether it was JobKeeper or other types of support, Scott Morrison in particular left the people of Sydney hanging,” he told reporters on Thursday.
“If only they could roll out the vaccines so quickly that they have ruled out helping people who are doing it harshly because of the Prime Minister’s own failures.”