The Greens and Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) have criticised the Morrison government’s one off $750 Coronavirus stimulus package, saying it only provides short-term relief.
Greens leader Adam Bandt said that his party will move in the Senate to expand the stimulus package to protect casuals by giving all workers 14 days paid coronavirus sick leave and lift Newstart & Youth Allowance.
Greens Senator Rachel Siewert tweeted that Newstart needs to be increased “permanently and immediately”.
“Any additional payment to those living in poverty will get spent but this is such an insult to all those living on the appalling low Newstart payment,” Siewert said on Twitter.
ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said that while the Government’s stimulus package provides welcome relief, much more is needed to safeguard people and the economy.
“While we welcome the waiver of some wait times for social security payments, such as Sickness Allowance, this is not the answer for people unable to work due to coronavirus,” she said.
“We know that increasing Newstart by $95 per week ongoing would inject $4 billion into the economy a year and generate more than 12,000 jobs”.
The Government announced yesterday that about 6.5 million low-income earners will receive $750 cash in a one off $17.6 billion coronavirus stimulus package from 31 March onwards.
Casual workers who lose work over COVID-19 will also be eligible for Newstart, with the Morrison government deciding to waive the requirement for a medical certificate.
The one-off payment will be paid automatically from 31 March 2020 by Services Australia or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Over 90 per cent of payments will be made by mid-April 2020.