The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced the introduction of a pandemic leave disaster payment for people who “through no fault of their own” cannot go to work but must instead self-isolate for 14 days.
“What we are dealing with here is a disaster and we need to respond on the basis of the way we provide support in the midst of a disaster,” Prime Minister Morrison said today.
“This is a disaster and we need a disaster payment.”
The pandemic leave payment is currently open to Victorians only, but any other state that declares a state of disaster will become eligible.
Workers without sick leave will be eligible for a $1,500 payment for their fortnight of isolation, which can be accessed multiple times if they need to isolate more than once.
Mr Morrison said he had encouraged the Victorian Premier to introduce strict penalties for people caught going to work when they were sick because there was no longer any “economic reason to go to work”.
“But today is not a day for that sort of instruction, today is a day for letting Victorians know we are there for them.”
The disaster payment can be accessed with a phone application on 180 22 66.
Prime Minister Morrison said Victorians had faced another “heartbreaking day” and urged Australians to support their Victorian friends.
“I know a lot of Australians would be at breaking point,” he said.
“Call your Victorian friends.
“We are there for you.”
The financial burden of the disaster relief payment will be shared between the state and Commonwealth, with Victoria covering the costs of short-term visa holders and the federal government covering the costs of Australian residents.
The payments will be available from Wednesday 5 August.