South Australia could become the next state to offer a pandemic leave payment after similar policies were introduced in Victoria, Australian Capital Territory and Queensland.
Also read: New $1,500 payment for Aussies in the ACT
Also read: How to access $1,500 disaster payments
South Australian Treasurer Rob Lucas said the state government was currently considering ways to fund such a scheme, with more details expected to come next week.
The opposition backs the $1,500 fortnightly payments, which are targeted at vulnerable workers who don’t have sick leave and who are forced to quarantine for 14 days.
Lucas said it wasn’t clear how much such a scheme would cost given South Australia’s success in containing the virus.
“Clearly, if we were to ever end up in the circumstances of Victoria, and let’s hope that we don’t, then you have a potential significant additional cost to taxpayers,” Lucas said.
“If we manage to keep the spread of the coronavirus to the levels that we’ve looked at here, it wouldn’t be as bad.
“It just depends on the extent of quarantining or directions to self-isolate that the public health officer makes.”
Treasury spokesperson Stephen Mullighan said everything needs to be done to assist in compliance.
“Nobody should be left financially disadvantaged by doing the right thing,” Mullighan said.
Lucas noted that Victoria, the ACT and Queensland are offering one-off payments and said that raised questions around further payments if workers tested positive again.
“They’re the sorts of technical questions our Treasury office has been having with interstate colleagues,” he told ABC Radio Adelaide.
As it stands, Victoria’s scheme is funded by the Commonwealth due to the scale of the disaster in that state, while the Queensland and the ACT governments foot their own bills.
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