Victorians forced to take time off work to be tested for coronavirus will now receive an upgraded $450 payment.
Premier Daniel Andrews made the announcement on Thursday to increase the cash bonus for those who don’t have sick leave and must be absent from work while isolating between taking a coronavirus test and getting their result.
‘I can announce today that that $300 payment will increase to a $450 payment that is after consultation with unions and consultation with employers and, indeed, listening to many of those 17,000 people who have applied and have got that money,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘We think that $450 is a fair payment, for people particularly for whom their employment circumstances might lead them to make the choice to not get tested at all or to perhaps get tested at all or to perhaps get tested but then go to work while they are waiting for the results of those tests.’
Mr Andrews said the upgraded payments would stop people from risking the health of their community by being out in public while potentially infected.
‘We can’t have that happen,’ he said. ‘We are not making any judgments on those people. We are trying to deal with the problem. I think that is the most important approach to take.’
The payment will increase from Thursday, with Mr Andrews noting insecure work is creating challenging situations for many Victorians in the pandemic.
‘It is a real part of this fight against the virus. These payments, I think, are really important,’ he said.
‘Thank you to everybody who has been involved in developing that and making the case for us to increase those payments.’
The payment is additional to the Commonwealth $1,500 payment for workers without sick leave who test positive for COVID-19.
Victoria’s coronavirus death and infection numbers took a marked dip on Thursday, in a positive sign that lockdown measures are slowing the spread.
The government announced a further eight deaths and 278 new cases; the lowest number of new infections since July 20.
The deaths included a woman in her 50s, two men in their 70s, two women in their 80s, two men in their 80s and one man in his 90s – with four linked to aged care homes.
Premier Daniel Andrews was confident Victoria’s second-wave COVID-19 curve was flattening but said that was dependent upon ‘literally hundreds of millions of individual choices and decisions’.
The Stage 4 restrictions are in their second week, and should soon start to be reflected in even sharper falls in infection numbers.