Workers to receive extra lockdown support

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced new financial support for workers in lockdown.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced new financial support for workers in lockdown.

Workers who lose hours because of coronavirus lockdowns in NSW will receive weekly payments of up to $750 under a boosted federal support scheme.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the full-time rate will rise from $600 after a four-week extension of the lockdown in Sydney and surrounds was confirmed.

"Our measures of support are never set and forget," he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

Part-time workers will be eligible for $450, up from $375, while welfare recipients will no longer be excluded.

People on Centrelink payments will be eligible for $200 a week if they lose more than eight hours of work.

The higher rate of coronavirus disaster payments is in line with the original rate of JobKeeper wage subsidies which were set at $1500 a fortnight.

Mr Morrison said the disaster payments were faster, more effective and better targeted.

"We are not dealing with a pandemic outbreak across the whole country," the prime minister said.

"JobKeeper was a great scheme but you don't play last year's grand final this year."

He confirmed the new rates would apply to future lockdowns in other parts of Australia.

There were 177 new local cases in NSW on Wednesday, another outbreak-high daily tally.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced lockdown across Sydney and surrounding regional areas would continue until at least the end of next month.

The federal government also agreed to help with an expansion of the state's business support program, which is now available to businesses turning over up to $250 million.

Victoria and the Morrison government will split the cost of a $400 million business package.

That includes support for sectors under strain from capacity limits, small businesses and a specialised fund for hospitality.

There was one additional case of coronavirus in Melbourne on top of 10 local infections that were in isolation as the state eased its lockdown.

South Australia's snap shutdown has also ended after a Delta outbreak was contained.

One new local infection was detected in Queensland along with 19 cases on a ship offshore.

Australia's sluggish vaccination rate continues to creep higher with 16.7 per cent of people aged 16 and over now fully immunised.

Australian Associated Press