The weekly support payments will be phased out as states and territories reach 70 per cent and 80 per cent vaccination targets, the federal Treasurer has confirmed.
In June, the federal government announced a COVID-19 Disaster Payment for those whose work hours were negatively impacted by the pandemic.
Under the payment, eligible recipients could receive $750 per week if they lost over 20 hours of work, $450 per week if they lost between eight and 20 hours, and $200 per week for those on income support payments who lost over eight hours of work.
It has so far supported approximately 2 million Australians with over $9 billion in payments made.
However, the federal Treasurer flagged on Wednesday morning (29 September) that the government will soon start rolling these back as states and territories reach their vaccination targets.
Once a state or territory reaches 70 per cent full vaccination, the automatic renewal of the temporary payment will end.
Individuals will therefore have to reapply each week that a Commonwealth hotspot remains in place to confirm their eligibility.
In a joint statement with senator the Honourable Bridget McKenzie, Minister for Emergency Management and National Recovery and Resilience, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said: “As part of our economic recovery plan, the temporary payment will begin to transition once a state or territory reaches 70 per cent full vaccination of its population (16 years and older) in line with the movement into Phase B of the National Plan agreed to at [the] National Cabinet.
“In line with the movement into Phase C of the National Plan, where a Commonwealth Hotspot remains in place and a state or territory reaches 80 per cent full vaccination of its population (16 years and older), the temporary payment will step down over a period of two weeks before ending.”
In the first week after a state or territory reaches 80 per cent vaccination, there will be a flat payment of $450 for those who have lost more than eight hours of work, while those on income support will receive $100.
In the second week, the payment will be $320 for the week (in line with JobSeeker) for those who have lost more than eight hours of work.
The payment will end for those on income support.
“For those who haven’t already returned to the workforce following the end of the temporary payment as the economy opens up, the social security system will support eligible individuals back into work,” the two ministers said.
The government has, however, said it will leave in place the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment until 30 June 2022.
Based on current figures, the ACT would be the first territory to reach 70 per cent vaccination. It currently has fully vaccinated 62.2 per cent of its population.
NSW will be next (61.7 per cent are fully vaccinated in the state), and will likely be followed by Tasmania (57.1 per cent), Northern Territory (where 51.5 per cent are fully vaccinated) and Victoria and South Australia (both at 48.4 per cent).
In Queensland 45.6 per cent are fully vaccinated, and 45.3 per cent are fully vaccinated in Western Australia.
[Related: Victorian SME COVID support extended]