COVID-19 disaster payments to end when vaccination rates hit 80%

COVID-19 disaster payments for lockdown-affected workers will end when states and territories reach the 80 per cent vaccination target.

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenburg announced this morning that the government would wind back, then end, the financial support scheme for people who have lost work due to COVID-19.

The decision is designed to deter premiers from imposing lockdowns after vaccination rates hit their targets.

covid-19 disaster payments to end
Image: Janie Barrett/Getty

“We have in place a COVID disaster payment that provides up to $750 a week, right now it’s supporting about 1.5 million Australians and the federal government is providing about $1 billion of that,” said Mr Frydenburg.

“So we are doing the bulk of the heavy lifting.”

The current COVID-19 disaster payment provides $750 per week to those who have lost more than 20 hours of work per week. Individuals who have lost less than 20 hours of work receive $450 per week.

Once the 70 per cent vaccination target is hit, the payments will be reduced, and people will need to reapply on a week-by-week basis as required.

Once the 80 per cent vaccination target is hit, the payments will be cut down to a flat $450 if you have lost more than eight hours of work before dropping to $320.

Then the payments will cease within two weeks.

According to ABC, the federal government has had concerns that the COVID-19 disaster payments for workers make it easier for state and territory leaders to use lockdowns to control outbreaks, as it relieves some of the economic impacts.

Mr Frydenberg said that economic support would end if states remained in lockdown once the agreed 80 per cent vaccination targets were met.

Speaking to TODAY, the treasurer acknowledged that certain industries, such as the tourism industry, would still feel the financial impact of being shut down for so long:

“We have announced economic support programs for tourism industries right across all of the states and the territories, as well as other entertainment venues and businesses.”
New South Wales is expected to meet the 80 per cent full vaccination target by mid-October.