The Informer: Help is on the way, but don't call it JobKeeper

It looks like a duck and quacks like a duck. Just don't call it JobKeeper.
It looks like a duck and quacks like a duck. Just don't call it JobKeeper.

It's a bit like a parallel universe. It looks like the Olympic Games, but it doesn't. It looks like JobKeeper, but it's not.

Today Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that COVID-19 disaster payments will increase to to $750 a week for people who have lost most of their work, and $450 for those who have lost some of it.

People already receiving welfare benefits will also be able to claim an additional $200 a week if they have lost work.

It's almost like it's JobKeeper. But it's not, the PM was at pains to say.

On the day it extended lockdown by four more weeks, the NSW government (in partnership with the feds) also announced a jointly funded increase to business support payments, providing up to $100,000 a week to affected businesses who have kept their staff

Larger businesses have also been included in the scheme, with an additional 1,900 businesses now able to make support claims, according to the NSW government.

Meanwhile Victorians have welcomed the $400m business hardship fund announced by the state and federal governments today. Twenty-four sectors are eligible including gyms, cafes, restaurants, catering services and hairdressers.

Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas described the package as a "restart" measure, aimed at providing businesses with the confidence they need to open up.

But the hardcore stance continues in Western Australia and South Australia - on the border front at least.

WA's borders remain closed to residents of NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.

Victoria and SA emerged overnight from lockdowns, while Queensland residents have been free since earlier this month.

But the Sandgropers have continued the tradition of wanting states to record a 14-day stretch without community cases before loosening its border restrictions.

At the moment crew from bulk carriers which have gone through virus-hit Indonesia are causing the WA government more concern than any amount of internal travel.

South Australia will continue to take a tough stance on people returning from Sydney despite emerging from its COVID-19 lockdown and reporting no new virus infections for the second straight day.

"We've got to take a pretty tough stance on this one. Some of the stories are heartbreaking and I acknowledge that," Premier Steven Marshall said.

Dr Kathryn Pentecost concedes she is part of that collateral damage.

She lives about 100km south of Adelaide but was visiting family in the NSW Blue Mountains when NSW was locked down. Since July 6 she has been trying to get back to SA.

"I am losing hope entirely. I came here originally for work and family reasons. My motive for visiting New South Wales was certainly not a frivolous one."

Frivolity seems in short supply these days and not doubt many file the Olympics in that category but we'd argue right now, a bit of sportsball inspiration is a damn fine distraction.

And nowhere will you find a better distraction that Ariarne Titmus. The Tasmanian claimed another gold medal on a day heavy with medals for the Aussies. Australia Post was first out of the blocks in celebration and you're now able to lick the back of Ariarne's head thanks to a new postage stamp. Now, after her second gold, there are calls for the Launceston Aquatic Centre to be renamed. Seems only fair.

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This story Help is on the way, but don't call it JobKeeper first appeared on The Canberra Times.