COVID live updates: Scott Morrison announces disaster payments for lockdowns in declared COVID-19 hotspots


PM announcing support for lockdowns that last longer than seven days

Mr Morrison says it will be called a Temporary COVID Disaster Payment

“What we are proposing to do in this situation, in fact, what will be done in this situation, we will be putting in place a national framework for circumstances where there are lockdowns imposed by state, public or health orders in areas that are defined as a Commonwealth hotspot by the Chief Medical Officer.

“Those arrangements will provide support for periods of time where the lockdown has been greater than seven days. So the first seven days, they are matters entirely for state and territory governments, as they wish to provide support.

“If a lockdown, as a result of a state public health order, continues in an area that is also defined by the Chief Medical Officer of the Commonwealth, then we will be providing support for payments for those affected and those affected areas.

“Now that could be a particular suburb, defined by postcodes. It could be an entire metropolitan area as is indeed the case in the Melbourne metropolitan area right now. Or even more broadly, if the Chief Medical Officer was of the view that a hot spot encompassed an entire state jurisdiction.

“So the Commonwealth’s decision to provide that support will be based on the medical advice received by the Chief Medical Officer of the Commonwealth, which is only reasonable, given that the Commonwealth has no part in the decisions made by state governments when they are coming to their view as to how they might impose their restriction.”

He says it’s important that the lockdown doesn’t impose a greater harm than the virus.

“What is important, is that we ensure that the decisions that are made are commensurate with the risks that are faced to avoid any unnecessary hardship on Australians and that there is a balance of those risks assessed so that the harm we seek to prevent is not exceeded by the harm that is imposed by the various measures that could be put in place, and that is a decision that governments honestly have to make.

“We respect those decisions. Commonwealth, State Government, Territory governments, have all got to make those calls. Doing it on the basis of the best possible advice on the judgement on those who are making them.”

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