Modern Australian

Melbourne non-essential retailers closed, as Morrison unveils pandemic leave

  • Written by Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Non-essential retailers across Melbourne will be shut except for “click and collect” and delivery sales, and industries including meatworks and construction will be drastically scaled back, under Victoria’s unprecedented lockdown.

The business shutdown details came as Scott Morrison announced a “pandemic disaster payment” worth $1,500 for Victorian workers who have to isolate for two weeks and do not have sick leave.

The leave can be taken multiple times if needed but it will only be available to those hit by the Victorian disaster.

Premier Daniel Andrews estimated 250,000 more workers would be stood down as a result of his government’s measures, which run for six weeks. “We know there is about 250,000 people stood down in one form or another and this will add a further 250,000 in rough numbers.”

Read more: State of disaster called as Melbourne moves to nightly curfew and stage 4 restrictions

Melbourne supermarkets, grocery stores, bottle shops, pharmacies, petrol stations, banks, newsagents and post offices will remain open, giving people access to necessities.

Businesses have been put into three categories:

  • those able to stay open

  • full “onsite” closures - including retail stores and services, some manufacturing and administration - which must shut by 11.59pm Wednesday

  • those that will have to drastically reduce their operations.

While most of the restrictions relate to Melbourne, the provision for meatworks – on which many COVID cases have been centred – apply across the state.

Andrews said workers in these enterprises would be dressed like health nurses – with shields, masks, gowns, gloves – and have to undergo temperature tests. The on-site workforces at meat works will have to be reduced by one third.

Bunnings, which has been particularly popular during the pandemic, will be only allowed to offer “drive through” sales to the public, although tradespeople will be able into the store for purchases.

Services from tradespeople to the public will be confined to emergencies. Cleaners will not be able to go to houses.

Different rules will apply to various parts of the construction industry, which will move to what Andrews called “pilot light” levels.

Workforces constructing large commercial buildings above three stories will need to be reduced at any one time to no more than 25% of normal numbers.

No more than five people will be able to be working on a house-building site at one time.

The state government has already reduced its large-scale projects and will look at further reduction.

Warehousing and distribution centres in Melbourne will be limited to no more than two thirds of their normal workforce on site at one time.

Workplaces that are continuing to operate will have extra requirements including more personal protective equipment, staggered shifts and breaks, health declarations and more support for sick workers to ensure they stay home.

Daniels announced the latest Victorian number of new cases was 429; there had been 13 deaths, of whom eight were linked to aged care.

Morrison said many Victorians “would have reached breaking point trying to come to terms with what has happened in their state”.

Andrews warned if the changes didn’t work “we’ll need a much longer list of complete shutdowns”.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg flagged changes to eligibility for JobKeeper to take account of the impact of the Victorian hard lockdown.

Last month the government announced eligibility would be tightened under the revised scheme to operate after September - businesses would have to demonstrate they had met the relevant 30% decline in turnover test in both the June and September quarters.

But on Monday Frydenberg foreshadowed tweaking to ensure businesses badly hit in the September quarter were not disadvantaged because they had not had low turnover in the June quarter.

The change would apply nationally, not just in Victoria.

The Business Council of Australia and the ACTU on Monday wrote jointly to the federal government strongly urging it “to move quickly to introduce a paid pandemic leave scheme”.

After the announcement, the ACTU said the pandemic leave disaster payment was a step forward but didn’t go far enough. 

“The $1500 a fortnight is the minimum wage when the average wage is double this amount. This means that nearly every fulltime worker will still suffer a financial penalty for isolating. Only full wage replacement, like sick leave, can fix this,” the ACTU said.

The Australian Industry Group said the economic impact of the draconian Victoria lockdown would “devastate the livelihoods of millions in the state”.

CEO Innes Willox said: “Closing or restricting large swathes of manufacturing and construction as well as their supply chains brings the hammer down on sectors that have been responsible for relatively little transmission, which have followed strict COVID-safe plans and are vital to the community and the country’s economic well-being.”

Authors: Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Read more https://theconversation.com/melbourne-non-essential-retailers-closed-as-morrison-unveils-pandemic-leave-143835

NEWS

the long history of preventing minorities from voting in the US

TANNEN MAURY/EPA“We really are the only advanced democracy on Earth that systematically and purposely makes it really hard for people to vote,” President Barack Obama lamented in 2016. He was...

Does Australia really have the deadliest snakes? We debunk 6 common myths

A red-bellied black snake Damian Michael, Author providedAs we settle into spring and temperatures rise, snakes are emerging from their winter hideouts to bask in the sun. But don’t be...

Rocky icebergs and deep anchors – new research on how planetary forces shape the Earth's surface

Shutterstock/HarvepinoHave you ever wondered why the Earth’s surface is separated into two distinct worlds – the oceans and large tracts of land? Why aren’t land and water more mixed up...

There's no single gene for left-handedness. At least 41 regions of DNA are involved

ShutterstockMost people consistently use the same hand to do tasks that require skill and control such as writing or threading a needle. We know genetics plays a big part in...

Specialist referral rules haven’t changed much since the 70s, but Australia’s health needs sure have

ShutterstockYou have a chronic health condition and visit your specialist for an annual check-up, but the referral’s expired. You’re told to get a new referral from the GP to claim...

It's about to become easier to lend irresponsibly, to help the recovery

Kittisak Jirasittichai/ShutterstockWhat used to be known as a requirement to lend responsibly is now regarded as red tape.The National Consumer Credit Protection Act introduced by the Rudd government after the...

'Virtue signalling', a slur meant to imply moral grandstanding that might not be all bad

ShutterstockLast month, on the centennial of the 19th amendment granting American women the vote, US President Donald Trump announced he would issue a posthumous pardon for Susan B. Anthony...

report shows COVID transmission is rare

ShutterstockAt the weekend, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews announced all the state’s primary school kids would return to school for Term 4. This is an update from the previously planned staggered...

As universities face losing 1 in 10 staff, COVID-driven cuts create 4 key risks

ShutterstockThe COVID-19 pandemic caused a sudden and very big decline in Australian universities’ revenue as a result of the loss of international student enrolments. Being excluded from the federal government’s...

how to support kids with a parent away fighting fires

ShutterstockAmong the sacrifices made by firefighters, and those who support fire-affected communities, is precious time spent with family. In California, thousands of firefighters and community support workers or volunteers have...

With polls showing Labour could govern alone, is New Zealand returning to the days of 'elected dictatorship'?

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern and National leader Judith Collins meet in the first TV debate on September 22.GettyImagesIn the mid-1990s New Zealanders adopted electoral rules they hoped would end the...

We're facing an insolvency tsunami. With luck, these changes will avert the worst of it

Supamotion/ShutterstockAhead of the budget, the government has announced new rules that will allow small businesses at risk of collapse to continue to work out their problems instead of appointing an...



News Company Media Core

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion













Popular articles from Modern Australian

6 Stunning Ways to Spruce Up Your HouseHome renovations in hot climatesThree of the best detective games for mystery loversAuto Wrecker in NewcastleExperience the Excitement of a Day at the Races How Do You Know If You Need A Hearing Aid?Fitness Tips: 3 Ways to Stay in Shape At HomeWear a Mask and protect yourself in StyleWellness expert:  Cutting up your fruit cuts the goodness out of themRegain Your Natural Smile Getting Porcelain Crowns in MelbourneIs Photography Still Important In 2020?Thinking of Hiring a Boat? Check these Facts FirstDo You Know that Certain Serious Athletic Injuries Can Turn into Medical Malpractice?Most In-Demand Suburbs for Property Buyers in Australia Post Covid-19What Is Selective High School?