Up to half a million Australian workers who lose their jobs because of coronavirus set to be given Centrelink payments higher than the dole
- Half a million Australian workers could lose their job because of the coronavirus
- Enhanced Centrelink payments to be paid as part of upcoming stimulus package
- Payments will be made to those who have lost jobs through no fault of their own
- Comes as G20 leaders prepare for virtual summit to co-ordinate virus response
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
Australian workers who lose their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic will reportedly receive welfare benefits which pay more than the dole.
The enhanced Centrelink payments will reportedly be a part of a second government package to keep the economy alive following last week’s $17.6billion stimulus – which promised a cheque of $750 for six million Australians.
Small and medium businesses given tax breaks and subsidies under the original plan are also expected to be given a boost in the upcoming support package.
The bolstered benefit payments will be made to those who have lost casual and full-time roles through no fault of their own, The Australian Financial Review reported.
Three women wearing face masks to step out during their lunch break on Wednesday in Neutral Bay in Sydney’s lower north shore, as COVID-19 cases soar. Australians who lose casual and full-time roles through no fault of their own will receive enhanced Centrelink payments
It comes as leaders of G20 countries, including Australia, prepare to meet for a virtual summit in Saudi Arabia to discuss the coronavirus crisis.
Council of Small Business Organisations Australia CEO Peter Strong predicts about 500,000 will be forced out of work nationally as a direct result of COVID-19.
More than 200,000 people have been infected with the disease globally since it first spread out of Wuhan in China, while the Australian case count has reached 568 – with six deaths.
The jump in infections on Wednesday of 110 is the highest increase day-to-day in Australia since the outbreak.
Whether those already on Newstart will have access to the high-paying welfare benefits or will instead receive an extra stimulus on top of the $750 payment is still unclear.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the new package, which follows $17.6 billion worth of support announced last week, will be significant.
It’s set to be announced in coming days so it can be passed as law when a scaled-down parliament resumes next week.
Senator Cormann said the economic hit from the coronavirus pandemic could last up to nine months, as countries move to shut their borders and industries suffer.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 596
New South Wales: 267
South Australia: 37
Western Australia: 35
Northern Territory: 1
Australian Capital Territory: 3
TOTAL CASES: 596
The government is aiming for measures that cushion the blow of the virus, so the economy can eventually bounce back.
The Reserve Bank is expected to cut the cash rate to 0.25 per cent on Thursday afternoon.
RBA governor Philip Lowe is due to deliver a speech online shortly after the announcement.
The government’s first stimulus package included $750 one-off payments for pensioners and welfare recipients, as well as grants of up to $25,000 for small business.
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has recommended a range of measures for the second package, including help for businesses to keep employees as well as concessional loans to assist with cash flow restraints.
Australia’s small business and family enterprise ombudsman Kate Carnell has urged the government to include sole traders in its support package, as they can’t access the grants on offer.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media about the coronavirus on Wednesday. The bolstered benefit payments will be made to those who have lost employment through no fault of their own