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COVID disaster payments for employees to be wound back

The Federal Government’s COVID-19 relief payments will begin to be wound back as vaccine targets are reached, regardless of whether states move out of lockdown.

The first change will come when states reach 70 per cent double dose vaccination. Once a state or territory reaches 70 per cent full vaccination, the automatic renewal of the temporary payment will end and individuals will have to reapply each week that a Commonwealth Hotspot remains in place to confirm their eligibility.

In line with the movement into Phase C of the National Plan, where a Commonwealth Hotspot remains in place and a state or territory reaches 80 per cent full vaccination of its population (16 years and older), the temporary payment will step down over a period of two weeks before ending.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said: “These emergency payments, like lockdowns, cannot continue indefinitely. We are expecting that as restrictions are eased people will get back to work, businesses will reopen and people will get about their daily lives.”

The changes will mean that in the first week after a state or territory has reached 80 per cent vaccination there will be a flat payment of $450 for those who have lost more than eight hours of work, while those on income support will receive $100.

Then in the second week, the payment will be bought into line with JobSeeker at $320 for the week for those who have lost more than eight hours of work, while the payment will end for those on income support.

For those who haven’t already returned to the workforce following the end of the temporary payment as the economy opens up, the social security system will support eligible individuals back into work.

The Government will leave in place the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment until 30 June 2022. Since the start of the pandemic the Federal Government has provided $291bn in direct economic support to households and businesses.

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