- The Federal Government has overhauled the requirements for JobKeeper as Victoria's second round of COVID-19 lockdowns cripple the economy
- Among the changes announced last night are a softening of eligibility requirements for businesses and their employees
- The changes to JobKeeper, which was first implemented in March, are expected to cost the budget more than $15 billion
- The Government's U-turn on JobKeeper follows Melbourne entering a strict curfew and stage-four lockdowns, as COVID-19 cases continue to mount
- Today, the state recorded 450 news cases of the coronavirus and an additional 11 deaths
The Federal Government has overhauled the country's JobKeeper payment after Victoria closed all non-essential businesses — leaving another 250,000 people without work.
The new changes to JobKeeper will cost the government 15.6 billion dollars and will soften eligibility requirements for the payment for both companies and their employees.
Businesses will now only have to show they suffered a fall in turnover in the September quarter, rather than having to show declines in the June and September quarters in order to receive support from October.
Meanwhile, workers only have to prove they've been employed as of July 1, instead of March 1, in order to access the payment going forward
The overhaul announcement by the Morrison Government late last night came as the cost of Victoria's stage four lockdowns blew out to almost $12 billion.
Treasury now expects the stringent lockdowns to wipe between $7 billion and $9 billion from GDP in the September quarter. The cost of both lockdowns now sits at an estimated $12 billion in lost GDP.
The unemployment rate is also expected to rise to 10 per cent as between 250,000 and 400,000 workers are affected by the Victorian Government's latest restrictions.
In a bid to lower the number of cases being recorded in Melbourne, all non-essential businesses have closed and moved to online trading.
Meanwhile, cafes and restaurants are only allowed to serve takeaway to local customers before the 8:00 pm to 5:00 am curfew.
Grocery stores and pharmacies are the only businesses deemed essential under the new rules, but even shopping for necessities has restrictions.
Melbournians are only allowed to head to the shops by themselves, and only once a day. Most shops will also close before 8:00 pm when the curfew begins and restricts Melbourne residents from leaving their homes unless its for work or care.
Exercise is also limited, with residents only able to leave their home one hour a day and they must stick to their local area. Again, exercise isn't allowed once curfew begins.
All of these restrictions, which are considered among the toughest in the world, were introduced in a bid to bring down Victoria's rising COVID-19 case numbers.
The state recorded 450 new cases of the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, a slight decrease on yesterday's 471 cases and Wednesday's record high of 725.
But, an additional 11 people have died after contracting the virus, including a woman aged in her 50s.
Speaking on today's case numbers, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said it was encouraging to see case numbers decrease slightly.
"That number is lower than it has been in recent days. We’re obviously pleased about that but it is still far too many of those mystery community transmission cases that we can’t find the source or the circumstance behind that infection," he said.
However, Premier Andrews also revealed many nurses and doctors on the frontline of the fight against COVID-19 are themselves contracting the virus.
"To date, there are 1527 confirmed cases in healthcare workers. That’s 139 more than yesterday. And there are, currently, 911 healthcare workers who are active cases," he said.