Anthony Albanese speeds up national emergency cabinet meeting over the latest Covid wave after being briefed by top doctor to lift seven-day self-isolation rule
- NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet wants a debate on the Covid isolation period
- Move would need support from health experts but could reduce isolation
- He said if the isolation continues, the government should reintroduce the $750 payments
- Anthony Albanese cut the $750 weekly payment for workers who must isolate
Australians crushed with Covid could face time being forced to isolate over a new push through the cut NSW Premier.
Dominic Perrottet said on Friday he would call for the seven-day mandatory isolation period to be discussed at the national emergency cabinet meeting, which has now been brought forward from Monday to Saturday.
The move would be subject to the advice of medical experts but could see those testing positive self-quarantine for five days or less instead of a week.
“Ultimately we need to get to a point where you stay at home if you’re sick and if you’re not sick you can go to work,” Mr Perrottet said News.com.au.
“I think we need to look at the periods of time when we coerce people into not being able to work and provide for their families.”
There is expected to be debate over the mandatory week-long isolation period for Australians infected with Covid
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet (above) said he would call for the seven-day Covid isolation period to be discussed at Monday’s national cabinet meeting
The national cabinet was due to meet on Monday but as Covid cases soar in Australia, Anthony Albanese decided to bring it forward two days.
Mr Perrottet added that if mandatory isolation periods continued, the federal government would be responsible for compensating casual workers.
“My view is this: if the state takes away people’s freedom and they cannot work well, the state must compensate,” said the prime minister.
The prime minister stood by to cut the $750 weekly payment for isolated workers from June 30, despite criticism from casual workers that removing it will cost them vital income.
Perrottet said if the Albanian government doesn’t lift mandatory isolation, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (above) should reinstate the $750 isolation payment for low-income earners
“The idea that nobody is on sick leave right now is not the case,” Albanese said.
“Good employers recognize that people are continuing to work from home while they have Covid and are getting paid as a result.”
Albanese said the $1 trillion national debt he “inherited” from the previous government and the ease of most Covid restrictions meant paying it was no longer beneficial.
He added it was also the Morrison government’s plan to cut the payment and he was simply fulfilling that plan.
Casual workers, particularly in hospitality and retail, were demanding the reinstatement of the $750 Covid isolation payment to help offset key income losses
Tasmanian Prime Minister Jeremy Rockliff, Labor MP Mike Freelander and other Labor backbenchers joined Mr Perrottet in calling for the payments to be reinstated on Thursday as Covid cases surge.
However, Health Secretary Mark Butler said the government is closely monitoring the situation but sees no need to continue payments to ease restrictions.
“The list of valuable, important things that we could spend the money on in the healthcare portfolio is endless, but the money has an end,” he said.
“The Australian community understands and indeed wants the country to move into a new phase in the fight against this pandemic.”
Australia recorded more than 43,000 cases and 66 deaths as of Friday, and 4,602 people are currently hospitalized with the virus.