Big change on way for COVID-19 disaster payments

The payments will initially be reduced once the 70 per cent vaccination target is reached in states, with people required to reapply on a week-by-week basis as needed.

Once the 80 per cent full vaccination target is reached, the amount of money received will be wound back over a two-week period.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has confirmed a plan to scrap COVID-19 disaster payments. (Alex Ellinghausen/Sydney Morning Herald)

The current COVID disaster payment is $750 per week if you have lost more than 20 hours of work a week and $450 if you have lost less than 20 hours. If you are on income support you receive an extra $200 a week.

At 80 per cent double dose vaccination the payment will be wound back to a flat $450 for anyone who has lost more than eight hours work, before dropping to $320 then dropping out.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg warned state leaders that economic support would end if they remained in lockdown once the agreed 80 per cent vaccination targets are met.

“We have in place a COVID disaster payment that provides up to $750 a week, right now it’s supporting about 1.5 million Australians and the Federal Government is providing about a $1 billion of that,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“So we are doing the bulk of the heavy lifting.”

Mr Frydenberg acknowledged that even with restrictions eased once the 70 and 80 per cent vaccination targets are met, certain industries would still be feel the financial impact of being shut down for so long.

“We have announced economic support programs for tourism industries right across all of the states and the territories, as well as other entertainment venues and businesses,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“That is important, including in Queensland, which is not in lockdown today, but because of those closed borders, a number of those big tourism businesses in Queensland are hurting on the Sunshine Coast, in Cairns, on the Gold Coast.”

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