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How to access $1,500 disaster payments

Are you eligible? Images: Getty
Are you eligible? Images: Getty

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed Victorians without sick leave who contract Covid-19 will be eligible for $1,500 support payments.

The Commonwealth disaster payments will be targeted at Australian residents and citizens who are unable to access JobSeeker or JobKeeper. The Victorian government will foot the bill for non-resident visa holders.

How do I access the leave?

Victorian residents will be able to access the $1,500 payment by contacting 1802 266, the country’s disaster response department.

They will be able to do so from Wednesday 5 August, Morrison said. They will then be able to make their application over the phone.

“That should be turned around fairly quickly. That means that those who need to self-isolate as a result of an instruction by a public health officer, there is no economic reason for you to go to work.”

They will only be able to access the leave if they have tested positive to Covid-19 or are a close contact of someone who has.

Visa holders will still be able to access the $1,500 payments, but they will do so through the Victorian government. They can apply by ringing the coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398 to access the payments.

Those waiting on test results can still access the $300 short-term payment, which the Victorian government will pay for.

In order to access this, those waiting results will need to provide a payslip or a statutory declaration, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said. This is the application form.

“Paperwork is always important but it’s about making sure that we get those payments out as fast as possible. What we’ve got at the moment is people who feel unwell, but don’t want to go and get tested quick enough because they’re fearful of not being able to go to work,” Andrews said.

What if I’m not from Victoria?

Morrison said the paid pandemic leave scheme is only in place for Victoria, as it is in a state of disaster.

“This is a disaster payment. So if another state were to be in a position - and God forbid they were ... then a disaster payment of this nature, of pandemic leave, would be entered into, but that would be done on the same basis of what will be established with Victoria. So this is to deal with a disaster,” Morrison said.

However, workers in certain sectors already have access to paid pandemic leave.

The Fair Work Commission last year decided casual aged care workers would be able to access paid pandemic leave across the country as Covid-19 cases in aged care homes continues to pose a major threat.

Wesfarmers has also told casual workers at Officeworks, Kmart and Target will be paid up to weeks’ pay if they are required to self-isolate due to Covid-19. Woolworths has a similar policy, with the two retail giants taking the steps in mid-March.

"If casual team members are required to be quarantined, or care for loved ones due to Covid-19, they will be paid for a maximum of up to 14 days based on their agreed and rostered hours for that period," Officeworks staff were told.

"This will be paid at the same rate as the rostered shifts, inclusive of penalty rates and loadings."

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