The Victorian Greens have written to the Victorian Government and called on them to provide casual workers with an emergency payment, to ensure they aren’t financially impacted by the seven-day ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown.
The lockdown, while necessary, will be particularly difficult for casual workers in the hospitality and retail industries.
Casual workers have already been hit hard by the impacts of COVID-19 and the Greens are urging the government to make a special payment available for casuals who will be missing out on income over the next seven days.
This could be similar to the $450 payments the government previously offered to casual workers who lost work because they had to isolate or quarantine.
Without any income for a week, many casuals will struggle to pay their rent or be forced to choose between rent and food and other necessities.
And with the rent relief and COVID rental protections now abolished, the Greens are concerned many renters, particularly those in casual work, will face significant financial pressures with the current lock down.
Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam, said the Greens supported the lockdown on the basis of public health advice and the need to keep Victorians safe.
However, she added it was important that casual workers weren’t left behind as a result.
Quotes attributable to Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam MLC:
"Lockdowns on the basis of public health advice are important to curb the spread of COVID-19, but we know they disproportionately impact casual workers.
"We’re pleased to hear the government is considering support for businesses impacted by the lockdown, but this support must be extended to casual workers.
"The Greens are calling on the government to make a special payment available for casual workers who will miss out on significant income over the next week.
"Renters in particular shouldn’t be forced to choose between food and rent, now that the government’s renter protections have expired and casual workers are set to lose a week’s worth of income.
"Keeping everyone safe and healthy is important, but so too is protecting those hit hardest by these measures."