The Morrison Government has introduced a $1500 'disaster payment' for workers in Victoria that are required to self-isolate because of COVID, but don't have leave entitlements.
The news follows Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews' announcement that many industries, including retail, will have to close or scale back their operations for six weeks from Wednesday.
The payment will be available to workers who need to self-isolate for 14 days but do not have sick leave or payments through JobKeeper or JobSeeker.
Victorian workers will be able to apply for the payment over the phone from Wednesday and if required, workers will be able to apply for a fortnight's payment multiple times.
While initially available to those in Victoria, the PM said that it could be extended to other states if similar situations occur.
The payment works to stop people going to work while waiting for their COVID test results or when they are positive with the virus - a factor that has been blamed for many infections in Victoria.
Premier Daniel Andrews' announcements yesterday mean that approximately one million Victorians will not be moving around the state to go to work.
In addition to the 'disaster payment' for workers, businesses in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire can apply for up to $10,000 while those in regional Victoria can apply for a $5,000 grant in recognition of spending longer under restrictions.
In a statement, the Premier said that the decision to close many industries was difficult but it was what had to be done to prevent prolonged Stage 3 lockdowns.
"The decision of which column to put millions of Victorian jobs – millions of Victorian workers – could never be clear cut.
"And, as much as we'd like one, there is no playbook when it comes to a pandemic.
"But what is clear is that if we don’t do this now, if this doesn’t work, then we’ll need a much longer list of complete shutdowns.
"This will be hard. It’ll be frustrating. It’ll be confusing. For a lot of workers and their families, it’ll be heartbreaking.
"But the only way to get people back to work and businesses back open is by making these tough decisions – and by Victorians abiding by them.
"We have to make this work," he said.