PM announces $500 per week temporary COVID disaster payment

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a new emergency COVID-19 disaster payment for Australian workers affected by snap coronavirus lockdowns.

The “temporary COVID disaster payment” will be made available for workers aged over 17-years-old in states that have been locked down for more than seven days.

Those who would ordinarily work more than 20 hours a week will be entitled to $500 a week, while $325 will be made available for those who normally work less than 20 hours.


“If a lockdown, as a result of a state public health order, continues in an area that is also defined by the chief officer of the Commonwealth, then we will be providing support for payments for those affected and those affected areas,” Mr Morrison said.

The Prime Minister said the hotspot could be as small as a postcode or as large as a state.

“Now that could be a particular suburb, defined by postcodes. It could be an entire metropolitan area as is indeed the case in the Melbourne metropolitan area right now… Or even more broadly, if the Chief Medical Officer was of the view that a hotspot encompassed an entire state jurisdiction.”

However, there is a catch, as only people who have less than $10,000 in liquid assets will be able to apply for the payment.

It also cannot be combined with other Federal Government funding and support payments like Jobseeker.

“We are talking about somebody getting through the next week.. Who would normally be in an economic situation where every dollar counts,” Mr Morrison said.

“Where those have independent means of supporting themselves for a week then I think they would agree that reaching out for Commonwealth taxpayer funded assistance is not something they would consider reasonable for such a short period of time.”

Those wanting to apply must also be Australian citizens, residents or visa holders with a right to work here and must be engaged in paid employment prior to the lockdown.

It’s estimated the payment will cost $50 million a week for every 100,000 people who claim the support funding.