Interview with Minister Bill Shorten on Sunrise


DAVID KOCH, HOST: The Pandemic Lead Disaster Payment will be available to people in all Australian states and territories from tomorrow. It follows a backflip from the Albanese Government during an emergency National Cabinet meeting over the weekend. Now the end date for the payments has now been pushed back until September 30. Let's get the nuts and bolts from Government Services Minister Bill Shorten on how this is all going to work.

Bill, first of all, who is eligible for the leave payments and who are they designed to support?

BILL SHORTEN, MINISTER FOR THE NDIS AND GOVERNMENT SERVICES: The payments will be available from 8am tomorrow. If you are 17 years or older, if you are an Australian working in Australia, or you hold a visa which means you can work in Australia, you're eligible.

What's going to happen is that if you have to isolate for seven days, if in that seven day period, you lose more than eight hours of work or a full day's work. You are able to claim.

The only checks and balance, or the sort of the other bits of detail which are relevant is if you have sick leave, you have to use your sick leave first, but I stress not your holiday leave. But if you've got some sick leave, you have to use that first.

Also, if you have more than $10,000 in the bank, so it's not a means test but if you've got liquid assets, then you're not eligible.

But you can make the claim by going go online through your myGov account or if you don't have that you can set one up pretty easily through Services Australia website.

KOCH: So that is the best way to apply it through your myGov account and online? Do people need to provide proof, what sort of proof?

SHORTEN: Yes, they need to have some positive proof over. Like a doctor's certificate or proof that you've had a positive COVID reading.

KOCH: Okay. The payments have been extended through till September. Is that a hard out? Is that enough time or is that going to be reviewed depending on how the pandemic rolls out?

SHORTEN: Well it’s based on the facts, which will be for the Ministers and the Prime Minister and the National Cabinet – that was the decision they arrived at. Obviously, we all want to see that the COVID surge diminished by that time. If the facts change by the end of that time, no doubt National Cabinet will have the same sort of deliberations that they had on the Saturday meeting, which was convened by the PM.

KOCH: Just quickly. Is there more help available for people to get through this third wave if they need to?

SHORTEN: Yeah, if you're on an income support payment, you're eligible also to make a claim (for the Crisis Payment for National Health Emergency payments). My best advice is go online to Services Australia. If the whole digital experience just frightens you, and that's not an illegitimate view, you can call 180 22 66. That’s 180 22 66. The system is there for people are doing it tough. This is how we'll look after each other

KOCH: Excellent. All right. Thanks for running us through that step by step. It's really important. Good to see you.

SHORTEN: Cheers mate.