Tasmanians will soon be eligible for a federally funded one-off pandemic leave payment of $1500 per person which was previously only available to Victorians.
The scheme was designed to encourage people who were required to isolate after testing positive for COVID-19 or being a close contact of a confirmed case to stay home and reduce the spread of the virus.
Premier Peter Gutwein said on Friday he would be writing to Prime Minister Scott Morrison to accept the Commonwealth’s offer for the scheme to be extended to Tasmania.
“The Tasmanian government will also extend this to our temporary visa holders, ensuring everyone in Tasmania can be supported to do the right thing,” he said.
The state government will also be extending its one-off Pandemic Assistance Grants of $250 per person and up to $1000 per family to casual workers or low-income Tasmanians who do not have sick pay.
Mr Gutwein said it was important anyone who was unwell did not go to work but they get tested for COVID-19.
“If you are in a position where you do not have paid sick leave, then we will extend that grant to you so that you don’t have to suffer financially when taking the test and taking some time off work,” he said.
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“There is no point turning up for a test if you feel unwell then turning up for a shift.
“We want you to get tested, go home and wait for the result.”
Mr Gutwein said he wanted to ensure Tasmania learned from Victoria’s situation.
“Victorians were turning up to work when they were unwell, and that has been challenging and has assisted to embed the community transmission they have,” he said.
Labor economic development spokeswoman Michelle O’Byrne said paid pandemic leave was vital not just to provide financial support to individuals but to help protect public health.
“It will be important that payments reach recipients quickly, or they will be of little value,” Ms O’Byrne said.
“If people can’t afford not to go to work, they risk the health of those around them. This is a sensible move to help reduce the risk of new cases in Tasmania.”
Ms O’Byrne said the state government’s extension of a one-off payment to Tasmanians who may not have access to sick leave was also welcome.