Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg responded to the comments by saying voters were tired of the Victorian Premier’s whingeing.
“People are sick of his whingeing and his politicking of the crisis,” Mr Frydenberg told ABC 7.30. “Victoria was offered a 50-50 split and decided to reject it. Now we’ve put in place a system with NSW that can be extended and expanded to other states should they incur a lengthy lockdown.”
A federal government spokesperson said Victoria received the same support as NSW for its two-week “circuit breaker” lockdown and stressed that the conditions for payments and the levels of payments were exactly the same.
The Victorian government spokesperson pointed out that federal support only came after repeated requests from Melbourne.
“We had to shame the federal government into doing their job and providing income support for Victorian workers when we battled the Delta strain earlier this year,” they said.
“Their position at the time was a disgrace. If they had bothered to think about this and work with Victoria, they’d already have had a practical framework in place when NSW went into lockdown.”
‘We had to shame the federal government into doing their job and providing income support for Victorian workers.’
The federal spokesperson had a different spin on how governments should work together.
“The NSW government has worked constructively with the Commonwealth to support their households and businesses while the Victorian government’s politicised approach has unfortunately been to issue decrees by media instead of picking up the phone to find solutions as a partnership.”
Mr Frydenberg, who has strongly criticised the Victorian government for its series of lockdowns, said the situation in NSW was “chalk and cheese” because of the higher number of deaths in Victoria.
“I don’t think you can compare the situation in NSW to the situation in Victoria,” he told Sky News.
Mr Morrison said the new payment schemes would flow in other states and territories if needed.
“We have followed the same arrangements here in NSW that were put in place for Victoria,” he said. “Thankfully that lockdown was only in effect for two weeks but clearly here in NSW the situation has taken a very different turn.”
While it is aimed at NSW, the federal government says it wants to offer similar support in other states and territories if they have to impose extended lockdowns.
The higher disaster payments will apply from the fourth week of a lockdown in a “hotspot” defined by the federal government, an area that currently covers Greater Sydney. The NSW government will cover the cost of extending the payment to people who lose work outside designated hotspots.
Workers who have lost hours will be able to apply for the increased COVID-19 Disaster Payment from Friday and will not have to reapply during the lockdown, a change from the current system that requires people to fill out a new online form each week.
Companies with annual turnover between $75,000 and $50 million will be able to receive the cash-flow boost as long as they can show a 30 per cent fall in turnover. But they must also show they are not laying off staff, meeting the core government objective of protecting jobs.
Sole traders and others without employees will receive a set payment of $1000 a week.
During the last lockdown in Victoria, the federal Chief Medical Officer declared Greater Melbourne a hotspot for two weeks from May 27 to June 10. But state regulations kept some businesses closed for weeks after.
Hank Oudendyk, owner of Prahran nightclub onesixone, said the federal support payments should be extended to Victorian business retrospectively.
“[Scott Morrison] is going out of his way to help NSW, which is good, they deserve it. But it would be nice if it was offered to Victoria during our three-week lockdown,” he said.
“I don’t think that would have happened if there wasn’t an outbreak in NSW.”
Drew Westfield, managing director of South Yarra gym Gript Studio, said it was frustrating but not surprising that there was nothing retrospective for Victoria.
“Victorians have been hit hardest for the longest and are suffering again because our federal and state governments refuse to work together,” he said.
Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia interim chief executive Alexi Boyd said small businesses had been caught “in the crossfire” of the latest outbreak of coronavirus.
“We are growing in frustration about this. It’s a hell of a lot of uncertainty and this has been going on for 16 months,” she said. “It feels like we didn’t have to be here.”
Ms Boyd said small businesses now have dwindling balance sheets after using their rainy day funds during earlier lockdowns, no longer have access to wage subsidy scheme JobKeeper and have very little support.
“We have to wait for the vaccines to be delivered,” Ms Boyd said. “The federal government has come to the party and recognised we need this to happen faster but anyone who is sensible could’ve predicted [the Sydney] lockdown.
“We were at the front of the queue in terms of how we handled the start of the pandemic but we are at the back of the queue in terms of how we’re handling the vaccine rollout.”
Victoria recorded one new coronavirus case on Tuesday, a member of a family of four in the City of Hume, in Melbourne’s north, who has been in isolation.
That new case is not connected with two removalists from NSW who dropped off and collected furniture in Melbourne while infectious and who authorities say have not provided a complete picture of their movements.
COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar said he expected more information could emerge about the pair, who hadn’t been as “forthcoming” as he would have liked.
Health authorities added two more tier one sites to the coronavirus exposure list late on Tuesday night.
A Caltex and a Hungry Jack’s at Kalkallo on the Hume Highway about 30 kilometres north of Melbourne have been listed for July 8 between 9.07am and 10.06am. Anyone who was there at that time is asked to get tested immediately and isolate for 14 days.
Mr Weimar said the removalists, who had a permit, drove from NSW to Victoria on July 8, dropping off furniture at a home in Craigieburn before heading to the Ariele Apartments complex in Maribyrnong, where they collected furniture over a number of hours.
All 78 apartments in the complex are now in lockdown, with residents told on Monday night they had to quarantine for 14 days. “It is very confronting, of course,” said Mr Weimar, who stressed that nobody at the apartment complex had so far tested positive for coronavirus.
Queensland’s Sunshine Coast has several new hot spots after the state recorded two local COVID-19 cases on Tuesday.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed the two new cases were already in home quarantine and “we are not worried about any of them”.
In response to the burgeoning outbreak in Sydney, NSW has tightened up contact tracing and introduced new testing regimes for some essential workers.
Close contacts of close contacts in the city’s growing outbreak are now being directed to self-isolate to contain the highly transmissible Delta variant.
NSW Health confirmed the change in policy – which was used by Victorian authorities in last year’s outbreak – on Tuesday afternoon.
With Jennifer Duke, Mary Ward, Lucy Carroll and Cassandra Morgan