Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has hinted Victorians could be given a $1,000 disaster payment as compensation for the drawn-out two-week lockdown.
The senior cabinet minister from Melbourne has so far ruled out reviving a JobKeeper wage subsidies scheme for his home state, with the Covid restrictions extended for another week.
But he hinted he was open to a $1,000 payment, similar to a policy deployed during natural disasters as Victoria recorded three new locally-acquired coronavirus cases.
‘Any support provided to Victoria, would be temporary, it would be targeted, it would be through existing systems,’ Mr Frydenberg told Sunrise on Thursday.
‘They are the principles that serve does very well from the start of the crisis.’
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Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has suggested Victorians could be given a $1,000 disaster payment as compensation for the two-week lockdown
Who would get $1,000 Covid payment?
The existing Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment policy provides $1,000 to adults and $400 to families for each child under 16
It applies to those whose principal place of residence has been destroyed or badly damaged from a natural disaster
Recipients have to produce either a birth certificate, driver’s licence, bank statement or Medicare card
The relief policy was last activated in March to help residents of the New South Wales mid-north coast who suffered from flooding
‘We do recognise that with the extension of the lockdown in Victoria, there is a need and there is obviously a lot of pain that families and businesses have been going through.’
Under the existing Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment policy, adults affected by a flood, bushfire or earthquake are each entitled to $1,000 each, while children under 16 each get $400.
Instead of having to retool the JobKeeper scheme, which ended on March 28, individuals affected by the lockdowns would be able to have assistance paid straight into their bank account.
Mr Frydenberg, the Liberal Party’s deputy leader, said Victoria’s Labor government would have to chip in too.
‘They have to make a significant contribution,’ he said.
‘There are mechanisms for shared responsibility.’
Victoria’s Acting Premier James Merlino on Wednesday announced the state’s lockdown would be extended for another seven days when there were 60 active cases and two hospitalisations linked to the current outbreak.
Following that announcement, Mr Frydenberg said the federal government was considering a series of policies to compensate Victorians who are being forced to stay at home.
‘There are options that we are considering and that is one of many that we have looked at,’ he told ABC radio on Thursday.
‘There is a need in Victoria for continued support.’
Under the existing Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment, adults affected by a flood, bushfire or earthquake are each entitled to $1,000 each, while children under 16 get $400 each. Pictured are empty seats in Melbourne
Victoria is now on its fourth statewide lockdown since the Covid pandemic began, with the latest restrictions blamed on an infected man returning to Melbourne after staying in Adelaide hotel quarantining accommodation.
The Labor state government has been blaming the federal government for the failed hotel quarantining system and wants the commonwealth to pay for purpose-built, cabin quarantining facilities like the ones at Howard Springs near Darwin.
In July last year, the federal Treasury estimated Melbourne’s three-month lockdown would cost the state economy $1billion a week.
The federal government has already spent more than $300billion on Covid relief measures, including $90billion on JobKeeper.
Mr Frydenberg’s third Budget, announced in May, delivered a deficit for 2021-21 of $161billion comprising 7.8 per cent of gross domestic product, the biggest proportion of the economy since World War II.
The strong economic recovery from the Covid recession reduced that deficit from $213.7billion, or 11 per cent of GDP, as announced in the delayed October 2020 Budget.
Victoria’s Acting Premier James Merlino on Wednesday announced the state’s lockdown would be extended for another seven days. Pictured are women exercising in Melbourne
Following that announcement, Mr Frydenberg said the federal government was considering a series of policies to compensate Victorians who are being forced to stay at home. Pictured is an empty cafe near the Yarra River