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PM reveals new $1,500 ‘disaster payment’

Anastasia Santoreneos
·3-min read
PM announces paid pandemic leave. Source: Getty
PM announces paid pandemic leave. Source: Getty

Victorians with no sick leave entitlements will be eligible for a new $1,500 per fortnight payment, the Prime Minister announced on Monday.

Scott Morrison said that those who are required to self-isolate for 14 days due to the virus or become ill but aren’t entitled to sick leave or have exhausted it will be eligible for a $1,500 payment for the fortnight they are off.

The Prime Minister said the payment would be made in the same way that disaster recovery payments were made, and Australians would be able to ring 1802 266 from Wednesday and make applications over the phone.

“For 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,” Morrison said.

The announcement comes after Victoria entered its toughest restrictions yet, and the state recorded 429 Covid-19 cases and 13 more deaths on Monday.

“Today is a day where letting Victorians know that we are there to support you,” Morrison said.

“And we will be there to support you with a $1,500 payment in the same way that others receive JobKeeper that, if you're put in that situation, you can have that support for that two-week period.”

In terms of costs, the state of Victoria will be footing the pandemic leave bill for all short-term visa-holders, while the Commonwealth will foot the bill for Australian residents and citizens.

And, people can access the payment multiple times if necessary, Morrison confirmed.

“Hopefully that won't be too often, and hopefully people will only have to go through that on the single occasion, but we know that isn't always the case.”

As it stands, the payment is only available to Victorians, but the Prime Minister flagged this could change.

“This is a disaster payment,” he said.

“If another state were to be in a position - and God forbid they were - that there was a disaster of the scale that we're seeing in Victoria, then a disaster payment of this nature 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.”

The Prime Minister confirmed there was no end-date to the payment, and it would be in place for as long as Victoria’s situation is considered disastrous.

“We’ve left it open-ended at this point,” he said.

“Once the pandemic disaster is, we hope, returned to the sort of situation you're seeing in other states currently, then that's when disaster payments traditionally are no longer applied.

“But we anticipate that this payment will be needed for some time, and it will be made available for as long as it's necessary.”

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