FINALLY. Melburnians affected by the extended lockdown will be eligible for a one-off payment of up to $500, after the federal government finally took its finger out of its ass and put it in its coffers.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the payment scheme on Thursday, and said the payment would be part of a “national scheme” available to all states where a lockdown is needed for more than a week.

Australians aged over 17 who are unable to work due to the lockdown will be eligible for this new payment. A $500 payment will be available to those who normally work over 20 hours, while a $325 payment will be available to those who normally work less than 20 hours.

However, the payment is only available to residents located in a place declared a COVID hotspot by the federal government, which would mean those currently in regional Victoria may not be eligible.

“We are talking about somebody getting through the next week,” Morrison said.

To be eligible, the recipient must also not be receiving any other kind of support payments, like JobSeeker or Youth Allowance. The Morrison government also proposed that the state government fork out 50% of the costs for this scheme, but whether that will happen or not is still not confirmed.

“What I put to the acting Victorian Premier last night was that we should split 50-50 both payments. Go 50-50 on household and 50-50 on business,” Morrison said.

“Alternatively, the states can agree that in these circumstances they will always provide the business support and we will always provide the household support.”

This initiative comes after immense pressure on the federal government to offer some kind of support while Victoria battles this current COVID outbreak. The Greens and unions were even calling on the federal government to bring back JobKeeper in Victoria.

Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, Victorian Acting Premier James Merlino slammed the Morrison government for not offering Victorian workers enough support.

“We asked multiple times [for] the federal government to support workers during this period, and the unrelenting answer has been no,” Merlino said.

“Victorian workers deserve more from the federal government, and I am beyond disappointed that the answer from the Prime Minister and from the Treasurer has been not to talk in further detail about the package.

“For the Prime Minister and the federal Treasurer to say ‘no’ is a disgrace and it should make every Victorian angry.”

Today, the Victorian Department of Health confirmed there were three new local COVID cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the current total of active cases to 69.

Image: Getty Images / Luis Alvarez