Labor’s $300 vaccine payment idea has been slammed by Finance Minister Simon Birmingham, who has labelled it as “unnecessary and unlikely to work”.
Under Labor leader Anthony Albanese’s plan, every Australian citizen who is fully vaccinated by December 1 would receive a $300 cash payment from the government.
But Senator Birmingham was highly dismissive of the proposal when he spoke to the ABC on Tuesday.
“We looked at it, and the evidence says it’s unnecessary and unlikely to work,” he said.
“It’s clearly unnecessary in the sense that Australians are responding … They do want to get their vaccines.”
Senator Birmingham said Labor’s plan was “insulting” to the Australians who were already doing the right thing and getting vaccinated.
But when Mr Albanese announced the proposed plan on Monday, he was quick to highlight the sluggishness of the Coalition’s vaccine rollout.
“The government has failed on its two jobs this year, the rollout of the vaccine and fixing quarantine,” he said.
“It needs to use every measure at its disposal to protect Australians and our economy.”
Less than 20 per cent of Australians aged 16 years and over have been fully vaccinated.
After national cabinet last Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison made it clear that this number would need to more than triple to 70 per cent before the country could transition away from lockdowns and other restrictions.
But Senator Birmingham maintained that the $300 payment plan would not help increase the vaccination rate, accusing Mr Albanese of “splashing cash and hoping for the best.”
“The most important incentive to be vaccinated is it could save your life, save the lives of your loved ones, save the lives of your fellow Australians,” Senator Birmingham said.
“That’s what is driving Australians in record numbers to get vaccinated.”