L-R Dean Long, Accommodation Association and Michael Johnson, TAA

Accommodation and hospitality associations have welcomed the new temporary support payment from the Federal Government but have called for a fairer view across the entire state as opposed to just those in Greater Melbourne.

Applications for the new COVID Disaster Payment will be open to those affected from next Tuesday 8 June, with those who normally worked more than 20 hours per week entitled to a weekly AUD$500 stipend, while those who worked less can receive a $325 allowance. Applicants must not have savings of more than AUD$10,000 to qualify.

Eligibility criteria calls for applicants to reside in a hotspot declared as such by the Federal Government, and for the state-imposed lockdown to last for more than one week.

Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison

Payments will be made for the second and all subsequent weeks of the lockdown. However those already on other government payments related to COVID, such as JobSeeker or the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment, will not be eligible. Applicants must also have exhausted all other forms of leave available to them from their employer, except for of Annual Leave.

The payment framework will also apply henceforth on a national scale and will be available for all Australians who live in areas that are locked down for more than one week as directed by State and Territory Premiers and Chief Ministers in relation to medical advice.

Tourism Accommodation Australia CEO, Michael Johnson, said while the Association was grateful for the assistance provided to employees in locked down areas, the ‘sledgehammer’ approach to curbing the spread of the virus was not sustainable long-term.

Greater Melbourne is currently in its second week of lockdown.

“Other businesses operate as normal, but industries such as hospitality, accommodation and tourism keep pay[ing] the price,” Johnson said.

The TAA Chief added that restrictions in regional Victoria should not be in place at all, with the 50-person cap pushing businesses and employees to the brink.

Accommodation Association CEO, Dean Long, said the support payment only covered Greater Melbourne, leaving regional parts of the state to fend for themselves.

The Accommodation Association is urging the Federal Government to expand its payment to regional Victoria.

“These are important payments to hospitality, accommodation and hotel workers who have borne the brunt of the health response but, while this is a support for Greater Melbourne, it does exclude workers in regional Victoria who will continue to be highly impacted by the travel restrictions,” he said.

“These workers are just as vulnerable and deserving of support and we ask the Federal Government to consider widening the net to help them as well.”