Pandemic isolation payments set to be restored
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is expected to sign off on restoring the $750 pandemic isolation payment.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports Albanese will reverse an earlier decision to let the payment lapse over winter.
A national cabinet meeting will be brought forward to Saturday morning for leaders to discuss the growing number of COVID-19 cases across Australia.
The newspaper says Albanese will push for a “time-limited reinstatement of the payment”.
The prime minister said he received a briefing on Friday afternoon from Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly on the latest wave driven by Omicron variants BA4 and BA5.
“He will report to National Cabinet tomorrow morning and we will discuss proposals to ensure the vulnerable are protected over coming weeks,” Albanese said.
It comes after NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet led calls for renewed support for people who lose income during COVID-19 isolation.
Earlier, Albanese said he stood by the federal timetable to bring an end to pandemic leave payments, though he conceded it would have an impact on workers.
The prime minister said it was a decision “inherited” from his predecessor but Perrottet issued a veiled rebuke of that stance on Friday.
“There is not one time in the pandemic that we have set and left policies in place,” the premier said.
He said the decision would need to be made with input from financial, health, and humanitarian viewpoints, and with governments in unity.
“I think it is unfair that when the state imposes public health orders on people that restrict their liberty and capacity to work, for the government not to provide financial support,” he said.
But he admitted the budget situation at a federal and state level were “clearly under pressure”.