Australia Minister defends welfare payment exclusion
‘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.
The minister responsible for emergency payments has boldly declared she would rather be on welfare in Australia than anywhere else in the world.
State and federal governments have ramped up support for individuals and businesses affected by Greater Sydney's extended lockdown.
People who usually work 20 hours or more will get $750 per week and those who work less will get $450.
Welfare recipients who have lost eight hours of work a week or more will get a $200 top-up on their regular payments.
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A 16-year-old policy that stops alleged gangsters from doing business at Crown and on the track may be declared legally invalid.Powers used by Victoria Police to ban underworld figures from Crown casino and the state's racing venues have been called into question after secret legal advice suggested the nearly two-decade-old crime fighting tactic may be invalid.
But there are 350,000 people on welfare in Greater Sydney lockdown areas who won't get any extra support.
They can't look for work because they're in lockdown and will not be offered coronavirus supplements that were given out last year.
Video: The 'only real difference' between JobKeeper and JobSaver is workers get paid directly (Sky News Australia)
Emergency Management Minister Bridget McKenzie defended the exclusion of unemployed welfare recipients from disaster payments.
Senator McKenzie said the scheme was designed to supplement the incomes of working people and argued everyone left out could access to a "strong and supportive" welfare system instead.
"When you look globally at the economic impacts on individuals we can be very, very glad we actually live in a country like Australia where we have such a strong social network of welfare payments," she told ABC radio.
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The online petition for monthly direct payments of $2,000 has drawn more than 2,695,300 signatures.Denver restaurant owner Stephanie Bonin created the Change.org petition last year, which calls for the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to pass legislation that would provide families with a "$2,000 payment for adults and a $1,000 payment for kids immediately, and continuing regular checks for the duration of the crisis.
"I would rather be on welfare here in Australia than anywhere else in the world going through this global pandemic."
Welfare advocates have been quick to point out Australia has the least generous unemployment payments in the developed world.
Australia also has one of the highest rates of poverty among people on age pensions.
University union official Damien Cahill described the minister's comments as disgraceful, disrespectful and completely out of touch.
"If any coalition minister tried to maintain their privileged lifestyle whilst subsisting on Australia's meagre unemployment assistance programs, they'd blow the lot in a hour and starve for the rest of the week," he said.
Churches, religious groups received millions of dollars in JobKeeper while staying in the black, accounts show .
Dozens of Australia's biggest churches and other religious institutions pocketed millions of dollars in JobKeeper payments while remaining in the black during 2020, research shows.An ABC investigation into the financial records of more than 100 religious organisations has found many qualified for the emergency wage subsidy despite seeing little financial impact from last year's COVID-19 economic shock.