A senior federal cabinet minister hasn't ruled out the need for the Morrison government to take a second look at recently announced changes to the JobKeeper wage subsidy, as the situation in Victoria deteriorates.
While JobKeeper is being extended beyond its legislated cut-off date in September, it will be cut from $1500 to $1200 a fortnight and halved to $750 for those working less than 20 hours a week.
Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan, who is a Victorian, said the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic is having devastating economic and health consequences.
"JobKeeper obviously runs at the current levels through till the end of September and we'll continue to monitor the situation and we'll look at measures as necessary," Mr Tehan told Sky News' Sunday Agenda program.
He said the Victorian state government will continue to work with industry and the business sector to make sure that they get the support that they need.
"As we watch, monitor and understand the impact of this second Victorian wave we'll obviously provide the support as necessary," Mr Tehan said.
Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said the JobKeeper payment can't go on forever, but neither should it be withdrawn too quickly.
"We think that the developments since the announcements were made on JobKeeper a couple of weeks ago do warrant another look," Dr Chalmers told ABC television's Insiders program.
"The decisions they took on JobKeeper were based on some pretty rosy assumptions about restrictions in Victoria actually easing, rather than becoming more restrictive and tighter."
Labor is also arguing the case for a paid pandemic leave scheme for those people who have either run out of sick leave and are forced to stay away through infection or for the 3.7 million Australians who are not entitled to any leave.
Dr Chalmers said while some employers are providing some sort of support, the commonwealth should also step in to fill the gap.
"It's time for the government to stop sitting on their hands here and to bring into being a system of paid pandemic leave so that people aren't forced to make that choice between feeding their loved ones or doing the right thing by their co-workers," he said.
"Every day of delay here is deadly."
Australian Associated Press