New South Wales residents will receive more COVID-19 financial relief as the state eyes a protracted lockdown.
Cases of community transmission hit 112 on Sunday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed on Monday, with little sign Australia’s most populous state will exit lockdown on the scheduled 16th of July.
New financial assistance payments will flow to households as part of a new national policy to be announced as early as Monday.
Berejiklian said high-level discussions are currently underway to deliver more financial support to Sydneysiders affected by the lockdown.
"The NSW government has done a lot of work in this regard and I hope to have something to announce within the next couple of days. It is imminent, can I say," she said.
"We don't want anyone to have a reason for having to go outside the home unless it is absolutely necessary. Let me make that very clear. The package we announce will have that top of mind."
NSW residents unable to access Victoria-style testing payment
Residents of Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory have been eligible for payments of up to $450 if they needed to isolate while waiting for test results.
Victoria was the first state to introduce the scheme in July last year, in a bid to ensure workers with even mild symptoms have not felt compelled to go to work or lose income. Workers were first offered $300, before it was increased to $450.
“This... payment will go a long way to supporting those families, and having them make much better choices. If you’re sick, get tested quick and then isolate until you get a test result,” Andrews said at the time.
"This is about trying to make being an earner doesn’t compromise or see you making bad choices for every other family across our state so this ensures that people are no worse off.”
Asked about the test payment schemes on Monday, Berejiklian said the state government and Federal Government are in conversations about a similar program for NSW.
"That is something we are looking at as well in terms of the package we are going to announce. That is on the table," she said.
$500 payments currently available
As it stands, New South Wales residents in Commonwealth-defined COVID-19 hotspots are eligible for up to $500 a week in assistance. Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday announced the scheme would be eligible to more people as the $10,000 liquid assets test was waived.
However, he is expected to announce a new support scheme within days, amid calls for JobKeeper-style payments to be reinstated.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese has led the calls, warning NSW businesses will collapse without greater support.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet on Sunday said he was considering launching a JobKeeper style program for NSW, however the scheme will now be a national one that includes business and individual support.
The support package is due to be discussed by the federal expenditure review committee on Monday, while Morrison is also considering the mental health supports for Sydneysiders stuck in an extended lockdown.