PM waives liquid asset test for disaster payments ahead of Sydney's third week in lockdown

PM waives liquid asset test for disaster payments ahead of Sydney's third week in lockdown

The requirement for lockdown-affected workers to prove they have less than $10,000 in liquid assets to receive the Federal Government's COVID disaster payment will be waived for the third week of Sydney's stay-at-home orders, according to Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

The asset test will be removed, giving more Sydneysiders access to the $325 and $500 payments depending on their work status.

"It doesn't matter what funds you've got available to you, you can access those payments," the PM said.

"[We are] recognising that we're not just dealing with a one-week period or a two-week period, that this is now going into a third week with further decisions to be taken."

Previously, workers had to self-declare they had less than $10,000 in liquid assets to receive the payments, effectively locking out aspirational homeowners who are saving for their deposits or those who have invested in the share market from receiving the support.

The payment will still be made on a week-by-week basis, granting $500 to those who would ordinarily work more than 20 hours per week, or $325 for those who would work less than 20 hours in a seven-day period.

In addition, they must also self-declare that they would have worked during the relevant period of lockdown, that they have lost income during the period, and have insufficient leave entitlements to cover them. Applicants will not be required to take annual leave.

The change has been welcomed by Australian Retailers Association CEO Paul Zahra.

"Casual workers in particular are the forgotten faces of COVID lockdowns, with many forced out of work and left struggling to pay their bills and rent with no proper safety net in place," Zahra said.

"The existing Covid disaster payments prevent people with liquid assets of $10,000 from accessing payments of either $325 or $500. Pleasingly, that asset test will be removed for people out of work and about to enter their third week of a Covid lockdown in Greater Sydney.

"Lockdowns not only have a financial cost - they have a social one as well. They take an enormous toll on people's health and wellbeing and we need to ensure adequate support measures are in place to support people and businesses."

The PM also announced today that an additional 300,00 doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be delivered to NSW next week, half of which will be Pfizer and the other half AstraZeneca.

The announcement comes as NSW reported 38 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 today, including 11 who were infectious in the community for several days.

Of the new cases 21 are from southwestern Sydney where the outbreak continues to be of great concern for authorities, while transmissions within and between households continue to be the major sources of infection.

Updated at 3.03pm AEST on 8 July 2021.

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