The Federal Government has announced financial support for South Australians stuck in lockdown – on the same night the PM was criticised for being notably absent amid Australia’s latest Covid-19 crisis.
In a joint statement announced overnight alongsideGovernment Services Minister Linda Reynolds and Emergency Management and National Recovery and Resilience Minister Bridget McKenzie, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said “help is available for South Australians and more help is on the way”.
“Our Government will stand by South Australians, as we will with other states and territories, in support of those communities that are facing the economic consequences of extended lockdowns.”
But it hasn’t come without criticism for the PM.
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The Project host Steve Price slammed Mr Morrison on the current affairs show on Tuesday night for being nowhere to be seen as the Delta variant sweeps the nation.
“Where the hell is the Prime Minister?
“He’s got half his country locked down and we haven’t heard from him for a week.”
As The Project aired, the PM’s office announced the new measures, with residents affected by SA’s shutdown eligible for the same Commonwealth payments accessed by those in NSW and Victoria.
Australia’s chief medical officer Paul Kelly has declared a number of local government areas as hotspots under Commonwealth definitions, and the South Australian Government has declared a lockdown for the state for seven days.
How does it work?
Under the payments, individuals can claim up to $600 a week for those affected by the restrictions.
Individuals will be eligible for the Covid-19 Disaster Payment if they have lost between eight and less than 20 hours of work for a payment of $375, and for 20 or more hours of work for a payment of $600, during the period of the lockdown.
There will be no liquid assets test applied to eligibility for these payments.
Anyone who is required to self-isolate by South Australian health directions is also eligible for payments of $1500 to support them and help replace lost income.
The payments will be paid in arrears for the lockdown and anyone affected can apply through myGov from Wednesday, July 28. More information about this payment and how to claim, will be available on the Services Australia website.
Who can apply?
South Australians in the following local government areas can apply:
The cities of: Adelaide, Burnside, Campbelltown, Charles Sturt, Holdfast Bay, Marion, Mitcham, Norwood Payneham and St Peters, Onkaparinga, Playford, Port Adelaide Enfield, Prospect, Salisbury, Tea Tree Gully, Unley, West Torrens.
The towns of: Gawler, Walkerville.
And the council of: Adelaide Hills Council.
What if I don’t live inside the hotspots?
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said those outside the eligible areas will still be able to claim financial assistance from the State Government.
“It’s obviously a challenging time ahead over the next week for South Australians,” he said.
“Obviously those same offers of arrangements will exist in relation to SA. I imagine those discussions will continue with the SA Government in the days to come.”
He revealed Mr Morrison and Premier Steven Marshall have spoken “on multiple occasions to ensure we understand the situation that is occurring in South Australia”.
South Australia was plunged into lockdown for seven days at 6pm on Tuesday after it recorded a fifth case of Covid-19 in less than two days.
Mr Marshall said health authorities had confirmed the highly contagious Delta variant had infiltrated the state.
“If we let this run for too much longer we could be in an extended lockdown situation in South Australia, something that we have always wanted to avoid,” he said.
“We have always had the situation where we go hard and we go early, it has put us in a very enviable position throughout this pandemic.”