Victoria has marked an increase of 288 coronavirus cases on Friday, bringing the total to around 3,000, but only 100 income support payments have been made, according to reports.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews promised residents diagnosed with coronavirus or living with someone with the disease would be eligible for support payments of $1,500 in a bid to keep infected people at home, and not at work. The payments, under the Hardship Fund, were targeted at vulnerable Australians who were not currently accessing other support payments like JobKeeper or JobSeeker, and who were also not getting paid.
However, according to reports in The Guardian, only 100 Victorians have received the payments despite there now being 3,000 cases.
Andrews announced the payments on 20 June, noting that many people do not have access to sick leave.
“People are, sadly, making the choice that public health is less important than the welfare and survival, in a financial sense, of their family,” the premier said in June.
"They're wrong to make that judgement but I can appreciate that that is a judgement that is being made."
Andrews had previously announced fines of $10,000 for businesses that unnecessarily force work staff to come into the office.
In the time since Andrews announced the payments, Victoria has recorded a surge in cases with consecutive record daily increases sending Melbourne into six weeks of lockdown. Travel bans have also been placed on Victorians exiting the state as other states and territories attempt to stop the spread.
Nine public housing towers have also been placed into lockdown.
Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus on Thursday called for greater pay protection for casual workers who contract the respiratory illness.
“It is clear our country must do much more to contain and live with the coronavirus. What we have done so far is not enough and has exposed the holes in our defences,” she said.
“All workers need to know they will receive 100 per cent of their wage while waiting for results and while in quarantine. If we do not urgently adopt this approach, insecure low paid workers are more likely to avoid testing because they are scared of losing their job and being left with nothing.”
She said Australia also needs laws preventing employers from sacking staff who have to enter quarantine.
“People who are quarantining should be supported and acknowledged for saving lives and jobs by making this sacrifice,” she said.
“Paid pandemic leave costs are a drop in the ocean compared to ongoing lockdowns.”
Yahoo Finance has contacted the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services for comment.