The Informer: 'What we're dealing with here is a disaster' says PM Scott Morrison

The Prime MInister Scott Morrison and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews ave revealed new economic and business measures for Victoria.
The Prime MInister Scott Morrison and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews ave revealed new economic and business measures for Victoria.

Retail in Melbourne has been all but closed for now, manufacturing has been severely reduced and the ramifications will rebound not just around the state but the country for a long time to come.

Almost straight after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews finished a marathon press conference explaining how business restrictions would work, the PM stepped up - and it was to announced another payment.

This one a $1500 paid pandemic leave payment because, Scott Morrison said: "What we're dealing with here is a disaster."

"We will make sure that everyone else who finds themselves in this situation and they don't have that leave available to them through their sick leave because it's been exhausted will get a $1500 payment for that fortnight," Mr Morrison said.

The pandemic leave payment, for now, only applies to Victorians, the PM said.

"This is a disaster payment," he says. "If another state were to be in a position - and God forbid they were - that there was a disaster of the scale that we're seeing in Victoria, then a disaster payment of this nature would be entered into".

The segue to the PM in Canberra from Mr Andrews in locked down Melbourne was a smooth one - something not generally afforded politicians in such a climate of crisis.

Barely an hour earlier Mr Andrews explained why he had taken the significant steps he had.

"As heartbreaking as it is to close down places of employment, while I never thought that I would be telling people not to go to work, that is what we have to do in order to stop the spread of this wildly infectious virus, this deadly virus," Mr Andrews explained.

Supermarkets, grocery stores, bottle shops, pharmacies, petrol stations, banks, newsagencies and post offices will stay open. Meat processing and distribution centres statewide will work at reduced capacity while supermarket distribution will decrease its workforce by one-third.

You can find all the business closures and changes for Melbourne explained here.

Mr Andrews estimated about 250,000 workers will be affected by today's changes. And that's on top of around 250,000 who are currently stood down. He estimates around 500,000 people are currently working from home.

Elsewhere, Tasmania bunkered down for longer - refusing to reopen its borders on Friday as planned; South Australia tightened social distancing measures; and aged care facilities in a number of Queensland locations resumed operating under robust restrictions.

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This story 'What we're dealing with here is a disaster' first appeared on The Canberra Times.