Victoria’s Acting Premier James Merlino has renewed calls for the federal government to activate JobKeeper-style support as Melbourne’s lockdown drags on another week.
The Victorian government has thrown an extra $209 million into its support package to help businesses doing it tough through the latest shutdown.
When announcing the initial $250 million package on Sunday, Treasurer Tim Pallas unleashed on federal counterpart Josh Frydenberg for declining to chip in with financial support for workers.
Victorian government renewed request for federal funded JobKeeper support (pictured: waitress cleaning tables in Melbourne)
The Victorian government has thrown an extra $209 million into support package to help businesses during lockdown (pictured: people exercising in Melbourne during lockdown)
Mr Merlino said Mr Pallas had again reached out to Mr Frydenberg on Wednesday morning to formally request the federal government reconsider its stance, and he would soon start lobbying the prime minister himself.
‘I do hope that the Commonwealth will swiftly confirm that they will step up and provide that support,’ he told reporters on Wednesday.
‘If they do not, I will be raising this directly at national cabinet on Friday.’
Facing another week without an income, Melbourne workers were crying out for support, Mr Merlino said.
‘The ball is in the federal government’s court,’ he said.
Victoria’s Acting Premier James Merlino (pictured) has renewed calls for the federal government to activate JobKeeper-style support as state enters fourth lockdown
Mr Merlino said ‘Melbourne workers were crying out for support’ after they facing another week without income during lockdown (pictured: empty coffee shop in Melbourne)
Treasurer Tim Pallas unleashed on federal counterpart Josh Frydenberg for declining to chip in with financial support for workers (pictured: woman walking with mask on Princess Bridge)
‘Victorian businesses, Victorian workers are demanding that they respond. That is what the treasurer is advocating for and what I am advocating for, and I am hopeful of a positive outcome.’
Victorian Council of Social Service chief executive Emma King said the time for delay and debate was over.
‘People are again missing shifts, losing their jobs and struggling to pay their bills,’ she said.
‘The federal government must step up and provide emergency support to Victoria.’
Chrissie Maus, general manager of Melbourne’s Chapel Street Precinct, said no government grant would come close to covering the ‘monumental economic costs’ of just seven days of lockdown.
‘The social impact is even worse and one that keeps me awake at night,’ she said.
‘Small businesses are again making heartbreaking decisions about whether to lay off staff or destroy inventory.’
Despite Victoria’s calls for JobKeeper-style support hasn’t been welcomed by all Australians (pictured: empty streets in Melbourne during fourth lockdown)
Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier this week said the federal government had already provided $45 billion in direct support to Victoria.
Despite calls for the federal government to re-introduce JobKeeper in Victoria, the move hasn’t been welcomed by other Australians.
‘I’m still not convinced that the support for businesses to keep jobs open when state governments unilaterally impose restrictions on them should automatically come from the Commonwealth,’ one person argued on Twitter.
Another said New South Wales managed the ‘Northern Beaches cluster without locking down the whole state’ or requesting for JobKeeper assistance.
‘JobKeeper wouldn’t be needed if the state government were in anyway competent,’ they said.
A third person argued that ‘Western Australia and Queensland didn’t put their hands out for their snap lockdowns.’
‘It’s embarrassing that Victoria, after singlehandedly forcing an extension to JobKeeper, leasing provisions and insolvency protections, now again asks to be bailed out,’ they tweeted.
Some Australians argue the federal government shouldn’t fund the JobKeeper-style support ‘if the state government were in anyway competent’ (pictured: bar tender in Melbourne)
Another stated: ‘If the federal government gives in and reinstate JobKeeper, it will simply justify Andrews and co to continue locking us down and sending people to the brink.’
Some argued against tax payers funding Victoria’s JobKeeper request.
‘If the Victorian government want Australian taxpayers to fund more JobKeeper, maybe the Feds should demand more say in when and how Victoria goes into lockdown,’ they said.