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COVID-19 Disaster Payment increased for Australians in lockdown, as Greater Sydney restrictions are extended

ASSA | 2021-07-28 15:42:40

Australian workers who lose hours because of coronavirus lockdowns will receive increased weekly payments of up to $750.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison shared details of the boosted federal support scheme just two hours after NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed the Greater Sydney lockdown would be extended for four weeks until at least August 28.

The COVID-19 Disaster Payment full-time rate will rise to $750, up from $600, for those who lose 20 hours or more of work, while the part-time rate will increase to $450, up from $375, for those that lose between eight and less than 20 hours.

“Our measures of support are never set and forget,” he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

Support will also be extended to those on welfare payments who will be eligible for $200 a week if they lose more than eight hours of work.

The higher rate of coronavirus disaster payments is in line with the original rate of JobKeeper wage subsidies which were set at $1500 a fortnight - but Morrison said the disaster payments were faster, more effective and better targeted.

“We are not dealing with a pandemic outbreak across the whole country,” he said, “JobKeeper was a great scheme but you don’t play last year’s grand final this year.”

He confirmed the new rates would apply to future lockdowns in other parts of Australia.

The new national payment rate will commence for payments processed week commencing August 2.

NSW recorded 177 new locally acquired cases on Wednesday and another death, taking the number of fatalities in the outbreak to 11.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced lockdown across Sydney and surrounding regional areas would continue until at least the end of next month.

The federal government also agreed to help with an expansion of the state’s business support program, which is now available to businesses turning over up to $250 million.

Victoria and the Morrison government will split the cost of a $400 million business package.

That includes support for sectors under strain from capacity limits, small businesses and a specialised fund for hospitality.