Prime Minister Scott Morrison, through gritted teeth, has today finally unveiled some sort of financial assistance scheme aimed at giving Victorians some semblance of aid through the current lockdown period. And in doing so, Morrison has come out with one of the all-time great Morrisonisms on the state of the pandemic, and how we are supposed to overcome it.
Captain Cornflakes fronted media a short time ago to unveil what the Federal Government is calling the National Lockdown Framework; a scheme that, in theory, provides financial assistance for people who are put out of work due to various COVID-19 lockdown measures. In practice it ah… sucks ass. But we’ll get to that in a bit.
During Morrison’s address, delivered in typical sermonising fashion, the Prime Minister remarked with some simmering disdain that “Resilience, strength, character, determination. That is what beats a virus, never fear.”
Which, sure. But a competent vaccine rollout and federalised quarantine system would probably be a pretty good leg up too, hey.
The National Lockdown Framework contains provision for people whose work gets disrupted by lockdowns to receive a payment of up to $500. But as usual, with all things associated with the current administration, there are numerous strings attached.
To access the $500 payment, a worker must be over 17 years of age, ordinarily work more than 20 hours a week (less than 20 hours and that payment drops to $325), not be receiving JobKeeper benefits, and have liquid assets of less than $10,000.
So, for example, if someone withdrew $10k from their super account – like the Federal Government encouraged them to last year – they would not qualify, even if work was lost. They must also have used up all pandemic or other leave available to them through their employer. In addition, the area affected must be defined as a hotspot by the Commonwealth, not just the individual states.
Crucially, this also only applies to lockdowns that extend beyond 7 days. For less than that? “They are matters entirely for state and territory governments, as they wish to provide support,” Morrison reckons.
And then there’s the tiny, small matter of who’ll actually pay for the Framework assistance, which Morrison hasn’t actually figured out yet.
“What I put to the acting Premier last night was that we should split 50-50 both payments. Go 50-50 on household and 50-50 on business. Either way, we will work it out and [at] National Cabinet tomorrow we will have a good discussion about it,” he said.
So we’ve announced it, but we didn’t bother to figure out who will pay for it and how.
Great gear, as usual.