News, Culture & Society

Changes to $500 Covid relief payments Sydney gets 300,000 extra vaccine doses

Huge changes to $500 Covid relief payments for lockdown-affected workers – as Scott Morrison sends 300,000 more vaccine doses to Sydney hotspots

  • Sydney residents in lockdown who lost work can apply for $500 payment 
  • Requirement for them to have less than $10,000 in assets has been scrapped 
  • Federal Government will dish out 300,000 extra vaccines to south Sydney 

Thousands more Sydneysiders will qualify for a $500 lockdown payment after the requirements were relaxed.

Greater Sydney residents who lose more than 20 hours of work a week can claim a one-off $500 disaster payment from the federal government while those who lose fewer than 20 hours can claim $325.

Previously only people with less than $10,000 in their bank accounts could apply for the payment, but this requirement has been removed for lockdowns around the country that go on for more than three weeks.  

Lockdown for eastern Sydney will hit the three-week mark on Friday, while the rest of the city will qualify on Sunday. 

Some 300,000 extra doses of Covid vaccine will be diverted to Sydney to help fight the growing outbreak in city

Meanwhile, some 300,000 extra doses of Covid vaccine will be handed to Sydney to help fight the growing outbreak in city.  

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the doses of both Pfizer and AstraZeneca will be targeted to south-west Sydney where most of the new cases are being recorded. 

He said he has managed to secure the doses from overseas so other states will not lose supply. 

The city suffered 38 new cases on Thursday, a day after Premier Gladys Berejiklian extended lockdown for another week until Friday July 16.

Of those cases, 20 were out and active in the community; 11 throughout their infectious period and nine for part of it.

Australia has only fully vaccinated 9.81 per cent of adults, meaning state governments still want to use lockdowns to prevent the disease from spreading rapidly. 

In the UK, 65 per cent of adults are fully vaccinated, allowing the government to relax restrictions.

But Mr Morrison said the comparison is not fair because the UK largely used the AstraZeneca vaccine which is not recommended for under 60s in Australia.

He also said nations with onshore production of Pfizer including the US had much greater access to that jab than Australia. 

‘At no stage, at any time, in the past 12 months, has there been any suggestion we would reach the same level of vaccination as in the UK [by now],’ Mr Morrison said.

‘The suggestion that somehow there was a vaccination rate that would have somehow put us in a different situation than we are right now is simply not true.’   

Case numbers throughout the state have bounced around in recent days - peaking at 38 cases on Thursday

Case numbers throughout the state have bounced around in recent days – peaking at 38 cases on Thursday

Premier Berejiklian earlier said the chances of the three-week lockdown ending as scheduled on July 16 remained in the balance.

‘Experts have told us it is achievable,’ Ms Berejiklian said. ‘If it was not achievable we would not have provided those details to the community.

‘All the experts have said if every single person does the right thing, that we can get to where we need to go at the end of the three-week period.

‘That is a big ask because we know that unfortunately, unintentionally at times, people don’t do the right thing, so it’s really important for all of us to have equal responsibility.’

The outbreak of cases that began on June 16 has now reached 395 local infections, with 40 of them requiring hospital treatment, and 11 in intensive care.

NSW Health said 21 of the new local infections reported in the 24 hours to Thursday morning are from south-west Sydney, which is the new epicentre of the outbreak that began in the city’s east.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant called for higher rates of testing in suburbs where the virus was spreading fastest: Smithfield, Glenfield, West Hoxton Park, and St Johns Park in the Fairfield local government area.

Ms Berejiklian once again pleaded with people from that area not to visit one another and only leave their houses when absolutely necessary.

‘I want to say in the strongest possible terms, please, please avoid contact with other households,’ she said.  

How to claim the $500 lockdown payment if you lose work 

Sydney residents who lose more than 20 hours of work a week can claim a one-off $500 disaster payment from the federal government, and those who lose less than 20 hours can claim $325.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet asked Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to reinstate JobKeeper but he refused.

‘We are providing the same support to New South Wales in this lockdown as we did to Victoria just weeks ago,’ Mr Frydenberg said. 

To claim the cash you’ll need a Centrelink online account linked to your myGov. It’s easy to set these up.

Once you’re logged in, you will be asked a few questions about your situation to see if you’re eligible.

Officials need to know if you lived or worked in a Covid-19 hotspot that’s under lockdown or restricted movement.

Once you’ve completed your claim, hit submit and officials will process it for you.

You don’t need to call them, they’ll send you an SMS when you successfully submit your claim.

If you are eligible, officials will make a payment into your bank account and send you a letter with the details.

For more information click here