Media Releases

Disaster payment cuts will hit frontline workers hardest

July 04, 2022

The decision by the Albanese Government to axe the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment will mean a return to the earliest and most costly mistakes of the pandemic, with frontline healthcare workers and thousands of others forced to make impossible choices between obeying isolation rules and paying their bills.

People are still required to isolate for seven days when COVID positive and many people are without paid sick leave so this will leave them with no financial support.

Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler said on Friday morning that we are “still in a very serious phase of the pandemic” with almost 200,000 cases and more than 300 deaths recorded last week alone.

The government is putting sick workers in an impossible position. As transport and everyday costs continue to rise, workers who have no leave entitlements will be forced to avoid getting tested and/or work when sick.

The Government’s decision is likely to increase the spread in the community impacting our already exhausted health care workforce as well as leaving many working people with no support should they isolate.

This decision by government will without a doubt contribute to the spread the virus rapidly, and further exacerbate the workplace shortage crisis.

"Thousands of South Australians are still contracting COVID every week, the Pandemic isn't over. So why are they removing this vital support?"

"The greatest risk to public health is insecure work, that forces the impossible decision between doing the right thing and not being able to afford to live. Or work when sick and infect their workmates."

"The Government has scrapped the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment without consulting workers or businesses. They're punishing workers that do the right thing and isolate. It's just passing all the risk & responsibility onto workers."

"This decision isn't just bad from a public health perspective, but it also disproportionally affects those on low and irregular incomes."

"The Albanese Government should reverse their decision and continue to support working people in the midst of an ongoing crisis.”