Australian PM announces disaster payments for workers affected by COVID-19 lockdown

CANBERRA, June 3 (Xinhua) -- The Australian government has announced a new disaster payment for people affected by coronavirus lockdown.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud on Thursday said in a press conference that people aged 17 and over who lose work as a result of lockdown will receive the "temporary COVID disaster payment" made on a week-by-week basis.

In order to be eligible, people must prove that they have lost income because of a lockdown, have used all of their pandemic sick leave and that they have less than 10,000 Australian dollars (7,742.6 U.S. dollars) in "liquid assets."

Eligible recipients who work more than 20 hours per week will receive 500 Australian dollars (387.1 U.S. dollars) or 325 Australian dollars (251.6 U.S. dollars) if they work less.

"We are talking about somebody getting through the next week," Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

"Someone who would normally be in an economic situation where every dollar counts."

"What matters is that businesses get the support they need and households get the support they need."

It comes after the Victorian government called for federal financial aid after extending the restrictions for the Melbourne area by a further seven days.

Victoria, Australia's second-most populous state, has been the hardest-hit state by the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

"But I tell you, as a Victorian, it has been devastating for our state," Frydenberg said on Wednesday in another press conference.

According to him, Victorians have been subject to 140 days of lockdown, whereas the average across the other states is six days, which is "an incredible contrast."

[ Editor: WPY ]