Victorian government disappointed, perplexed and insulted by the temporary coronavirus disaster payment offer

Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos
Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos

A senior Victorian Government source has described the proposed temporary COVID-19 disaster payment offer from the federal government as perplexing and insulting.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison's announcement on Thursday of a scheme to support workers during extended lockdowns included an offer of $500 for people who usually work more than 20 hours in a week and $325 for those who work fewer hours.

However the Victorian government is understood to have concerns that the payment is too low and the plan shifts responsibility for income support to the states.

"The states handle business support, income support is the Commonwealth's responsibility. That's always been our position, that's what we'll support at National Cabinet," the Victorian government source said.

"We've put forward half a billion in business support this year alone. Income support is the responsibility of the federal government and always has been. It's the one thing they haven't yet shunted to someone else to take care of and we don't want to see them start now."

The offer for workers is noted by the Victorian Government as being under the national minimum wage of $19.84/hour, or $753.80 for a full week.

"This payment from the commonwealth doesn't come anywhere near covering that," the source said.

"They're not even matching the national minimum wage and that's before you get to the hoops they're making people jump through to be eligible."

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The ACTU is also unhappy with the level of payment on offer and that the pleas to reopen JobKeeper for Victorian workers during the lockdown have been ignored.

"This payment will leave working people with nothing for a full week before a restricted number are able to access a small support payment, a third below the minimum wage and half the standard disaster relief payment, which will not secure their employment," ACTU President Michele O'Neil said.

National Cabinet will on Friday discuss either splitting worker and business support, as it is now, or move to a cost sharing option to, according to the Prime Minister, "go 50-50 on household and 50-50 on business."

"I think this is a very sensible and fair proposal," Mr Morrison said.

"I've already had the opportunity to discuss this with other premiers who consider either approach as a reasonable way to deal with this."

The proposal came on the same day as the federal government gave support for a stand-alone quarantine centre for Victoria.

The Victorian government put the proposal to the federal government in late April. It wants the Commonwealth to fund and build the 500-bed facility at a cost of $200 million. It would chip in $15 million for design of the centre, and also operate it.

On Thursday the Prime Minister sent a memorandum of understanding to Victoria.

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This story Victoria furious with federal Covid disaster offer first appeared on The Canberra Times.