Australia

Here’s how Victorians can access cash payments for the latest COVID-19 lockdown

Victorian workers and businesses will be handed cash payments to support those hit once again by a coronavirus lockdown in the state.  

The five-day statewide lockdown has been imposed in response to concerns over the spread of the Delta variant of the virus with Victoria recording six new cases on Friday.

A payment of $600 will be made available to workers across the state who lose more than 20 hours during the period of the lockdown.

People who have lost between eight hours and 20 hours will also be eligible for payments of $375, with the state and federal government’s agreeing to share the cost burden.   

The state government will also provide $3,000 and $2,000 payments to 90,000 businesses affected by lockdown restrictions. 

The announcement comes after a deal over the emergency support was struck late on Thursday night between the federal and Victorian government.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said he recognised the need for immediate assistance.

“We are all working as hard as we possibly can to make this as short a lockdown as possible: five days,” he told reporters.

Here are the key support measures available:

COVID-19 Disaster Payment

The COVID-19 Disaster Payment, first introduced during Melbourne’s May coronavirus lockdown, will be made available to Victorians for the latest five-day lockdown. 

The change comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the scheme would be amended to allow  workers who lose hours to be paid for the first week of a lockdown.

Workers can expect the payments to be made in arrears to their application to Services Australia coming 7 days after the commencement of the lockdown.

People and businesses in hotspot areas – which includes greater Melbourne, Geelong, and the Surf Coast Shire in Victoria – will receive assistance from the federal government under the scheme. 

But Mr Andrews said the state government would pick up the tab for support in areas outside the federally declared areas.

“If you lose hours and you are eligible then the length of the lockdown doesn’t matter. You’ve lost those hours,  you’ve lost those wages and you should be supported,” he said. 

Business support

Up to $200 million in cash grants will also be handed to businesses affected by the lockdown with an automatic payment to be made to eligible businesses and sole traders across the state. 

This will apply to up to 90,000 businesses that have received – or are set to receive – payments through the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund and Business Costs Assistance Program, established in the state’s May-June lockdown. 

The payments will be made at $3,000 and $2,000 respectively, with events affected this weekend also eligible to make an application.

Mr Andrews said money would rollout as soon as possible, promising a release of funds by at least by early next week.

“We will waste no time in providing affected businesses with the support they need,” he said. 

Business Council of Australia Jennifer Westacott welcomed the assistance package, saying the support will help keep many businesses afloat. 

“Every time businesses are knocked down by a new round of restrictions, it gets harder for them to get back up, so getting this support out the door quickly is critical,” she said. 

The five-day lockdown is the state’s second in seven weeks.

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