Western Australians are now eligible for a $1500-per-fortnight government payment if they need to isolate or need to care for someone with COVID-19, despite having no community transmission in the state for more than five months.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Premier Mark McGowan announced the deal in a joint statement on Wednesday, noting the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment, issued by the Federal Government, would be available for anyone not on JobKeeper, receiving a salary or on any other form of income support.
The payment is already available in Victoria and Tasmania, and every state is eligible, should they request access to the funds.
Ms McGowan said he had signed WA up as a precaution, noting coronavirus “could creep into our state and wreak havoc any day”.
“If we’ve learned anything from our counterparts on the east coast, it is complacency is deadly, complacency can bring down the state and will undo all the hard work each and every member of the community has given,” he said.
“The message is clear. Should you become sick with COVID-19 or have to care for someone with COVID-19 then you should absolutely not be working or considering returning to work until you have the all clear.
“I hope that Western Australians don’t have to take-up this payment arrangement however knowing it is available should we need it ensures we are prepared for the worst.”
WA has fully closed its borders and is only granting exemptions to certain workers, including emergency personnel.
Anyone who has been in Victoria or NSW in the previous 14 days cannot enter unless they meet certain criteria.
Nearly all restrictions in the state have been relaxed, with only a two square metre per person rule for venues with a capacity of under 500 and a 50 per cent capacity rule for major sport and entertainment venues remaining.
Businesses must have a COVID safe plan to be open, and visits to aged care are permitted, providing you have not had close contact with a positive COVID case or returned from overseas in the past 14 days, and have an up-to-date influenza vaccination.
More than $13.3 million in Pandemic Leave Disaster Payments have been paid for some 9000 granted claims since August 6.