Australia National cabinet to plot path out of lockdown, payments return to original JobKeeper levels
‘Nothing more than penny-pinching’: those most in need excluded from COVID-19 pay
The Morrison government's disaster relief payment has been welcomed by many, but not by those ineligible because of 'ridiculous conditions'.In lieu of bringing back JobKeeper, in early June Prime Minister Scott Morrison introduced the federal government’s COVID disaster payment to support workers caught in lockdowns lasting more than a week. Yesterday Morrison announced an increased payment of $600 for workers who have lost more than 20 hours of work, and $375 for those who lost up to 20 hours.
National cabinet will start creating the path out of lockdowns on Friday when the country's leaders look at how many Australians must be vaccinated in order to end economically damaging restrictions.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed the federal government has been sent the Doherty Institute's modelling on the vaccination levels required to end the need for lockdowns and work is underway to combine that with Treasury predictions ahead of Friday's meeting.
"I don't want to say that will be resolved on Friday... that will be our first discussion. I suspect many more will be required after that," Mr Morrison told reporters.
SA's COVID-19 lockdown will hit businesses hard, but the Premier is promising support
As South Australia prepares to plunge into its biggest lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are in limbo about what support they will receive to tide them over — but the SA Premier says he has already approached the Prime Minister.The Australian Hotels Association (AHA) described the restrictions imposed on South Australia as a "brutal" response — and that was before a full lockdown was announced this morning, to curb a growing cluster of Delta variant coronavirus cases linked to a man who attended Modbury Hospital.
"I hope we'll be able to set those targets and give more definition to phase two and phase three in that time. But, we have a plan for that.
"We are setting the targets scientifically, combined with the economic advice as well, and that gets us a roadmap to Christmas, I think, that means that we'll be living life different at Christmas than what we are now."
At the start of July, Mr Morrison revealed a four-phase plan to return Australia to a form of Covid-normal, with open borders and few restrictions. This masthead has reported the Doherty Institute's modelling will have different vaccination thresholds for older and younger Australians.
Friday's meeting will be the first time state and territory leaders will have detailed targets on how many of their citizens must get vaccinated in order to end border closures and business shutdowns.
Consumers lose confidence, and those in states not affected by COVID lockdown feel it most
With almost half the Australian population in lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus, businesses are struggling because consumers are shutting their wallets. JobKeeper supported up to 3.5 million workers at one point last year, providing decent wages and cementing a link between bosses and employees.At the same time, a coronavirus supplement was added to welfare payments, boosting the amount of money in the economy.Both schemes have ended.Businesses affected by lockdowns can attempt to access state-based schemes.
Mr Morrison also announced on Wednesday that income support for people in lockdown has returned to the level of the original JobKeeper scheme and those on welfare who have lost work hours will get a $200 weekly supplement under further changes to the pandemic disaster payments.
The new arrangements will automatically kick in for the more than 463,000 people in NSW already receiving disaster payments. Those who have lost 20 hours or more of work in a week will receive $750, up from $600 a week, and people who have lost fewer hours will now get $450.
People on JobSeeker, pensions, Youth Allowance and other welfare payments whose work has been cut during the lockdown will be able to apply for a new $200 weekly supplement from Tuesday.
These new payment levels will also apply from day one of any future lockdowns.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the new arrangements were more flexible than the JobKeeper scheme, which was paid to businesses, not individuals, and took much longer to get money flowing into the economy.
Qantas flags stand-downs if state lockdowns drag on
The airline has been forced by state border restrictions and lockdowns to cut back domestic flights to 40 per cent of normal levels.Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has warned he may have to stand down staff without pay if state coronavirus lockdowns drag on after the national carrier was forced to slash domestic flights to less than half their normal rate.
"JobKeeper was a great scheme but you don't play last year's grand final this year. You deal with this year's challenges. You deal with this moment's problems" he said.
One of the arguments in favour of JobKeeper was it kept people connected with their employer since it was paid through regular payroll systems. But critics of the scheme noted how many businesses reported profits while on JobKeeper, which they have not been required to repay.
Mr Morrison said the fact there hadn't been an "uptick" in people going onto the JobSeeker unemployment payment meant people were staying in touch with their employers while receiving COVID disaster payments.
"Because they understand they are getting that support from the government, they're staying with their employers. That means that in a month, hopefully, when business returns, they will go back into work with those employers, they will get on with their jobs, and our economy will roar back to life," he said.
He also announced further support to businesses in both NSW and Victoria, in conjunction with the state governments.
Scott Morrison steps down as ‘prime minister for NSW’
The public relationship between ScoMo and NSW has always been a complicated one. Now the cracks are starting to show.The prime minister’s repeated praise for how his home state of New South Wales handled the pandemic now looks similarly awkward, with Sydney’s lockdown set to continue possibly well into spring.
In NSW, eligible businesses and not-for-profits will be paid between $1500 and $100,000 a week, with the payment based on 40 per cent of their payroll level. The maximum turnover threshold has been increased from $50 million to $250 million but businesses must have suffered a drop in turnover of 30 per cent or more to be eligible.
Sole traders will continue to receive $1000 a week.
The new payment levels will be backdated to July 18 and are contingent on businesses not sacking anyone who they employed at July 13.
For Victorian businesses, the federal and state governments are paying half each for a.
A $156 million business continuity fund will offer grants of up to $5000 to 30,000 businesses hit by continuing limits on their capacity, such as cafes, gyms, catering services and hairdressers. Outlets in the CBD will receive an extra $2000 because of the reduced foot traffic in the area.
Licensed venues can get grants of up to $20,000 from a separate fund and small businesses will be able to access up to $5000 each.
The package also includes special grants for businesses in the alpine areas, which have suffered from lockdowns and border closures during the peak ski season.
Damaged-goods government struggles to convince in its path to living with COVID .
Faced with the challenging task of convincing the electorate to accept large numbers of deaths from COVID, like any other common disease, Scott Morrison opted for cheap nationalism.That’s dramatically at odds with the current position of all governments — which took over a year to reach — that even a tiny number of cases is good cause for a sharp lockdown. The policy goal is to reach a state where COVID is treated like influenza, not the society-stopping pandemic we’ve been told it is for eighteen months.