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Immediate support available to Victorian businesses and workers

With Victoria entering its fifth lockdown since March last year, the Prime Minister and Victorian Premier, supported by their Treasurers have agreed to new arrangements to offer financial support to workers and businesses subjected to a lockdown imposed by a State or Territory Government for a period of less than seven days.

The move comes after the Commonwealth Government proposed changes to the way economic support is delivered to individuals and businesses, in partnership with States and Territories, in areas that are subject to a Commonwealth Hotspot declaration and to State or Territory lockdown restrictions.

The Commonwealth will provide income support through the COVID-19 Disaster Payment as follows:

  • A Commonwealth Hotspot has been declared by the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer.
  • The Commonwealth Government will provide income support for those who work or live in the areas declared as a Commonwealth Hotspot. The provision of income support outside of these areas will be provided where requested and at the cost of the State or Territory Government.
  • Individuals will be eligible for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment if they have lost between 8 and less than 20 hours of work for a payment of $375, and for 20 or more hours of work for a payment of $600, during the period of the lockdown. There will be no liquid assets test applied to eligibility for these payments.
  • A commitment has been made by the State or Territory Government to provide significant economic support, for the same lockdown period, to ensure cost sharing between the Commonwealth and the State or Territory Government.

For workers impacted by Premier Andrews’ announcement yesterday, eligibility for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment will be made available for the period of the Victorian lockdown (five days) as it applies to each area of the State.

Payments will be made in arrears on application to Services Australia 7 days after the commencement of the lockdown (that is from Friday 23 July 2021). The payments will be $600 for individuals who lose 20 hours or more of work during the period of the lockdown (the next five days), and $375 for individuals who lose between eight and up to 20 hours of work during the period of the lockdown. No liquid assets test will be applied to the payment at any time.

In addition, the Victorian Government has agreed to provide significant additional economic support to businesses, from day one of this lockdown period, satisfying the Commonwealth’s cost sharing requirements for this arrangement.

Should the Victorian lockdown be extended, the additional features of the upgraded and revised economic support arrangements proposed by the Commonwealth will be activated by agreement.

By Andy Young

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