Australian Venue Co (AVC) CEO Paul Waterson has welcomed the announcement of the Federal Government’s Temporary COVID Disaster Pay. In the meantime, the group is giving its Melbourne casual staff a financial buffer until the scheme comes into affect.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the implementation of the Temporary COVID Disaster Pay, a financial support tool for Commonwealth-declared COVID hotspots which go into lockdown for more than seven days. The payments wills be $500 a week for people working 20 or more hours prior to the lockdown, and $325 for anyone working less than 20 hours. The disaster pay can only be claimed if a person is not being supported by other financial schemes such as JobSeeker.

Paul Waterson, CEO of AVC, has welcomed the commitment of financial support from the Federal Government, and has highlighted the eligibility of visa workers within the scheme.

“It’s really welcome news and a huge relief for our team. We’re very grateful for the ongoing support from the Federal Government, and we’re particularly pleased that our visa workers haven’t been left behind. It’s a huge feature of the program and one that our industry should be very grateful for.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that applications for the Temporary Covid Disaster Pay would open on Tuesday, and that payments would be made at some stage next week. This means that in this first instance of the application of the scheme, casual workers in Melbourne will go almost two weeks without pay before receiving the Government support.

Acknowledging that this is an untenable financial situation for many people, Waterson said the group has put in place some bandaid relief for its casual staff to hold them over. Casual staff that have been stood down due to the lockdown have been offered a current payment of $200, $400 or $600 per week (depending on the number of hours they usually work). Once they can return to work, they will pay back a corresponding $20, $40 or $60 per week for 10 weeks.

“That’s a way we think we can proactively give them some support and put some money in their hands now while they wait for that Government payment,” explained Waterson.

AVC operates more than 30 venues within Melbourne, and employs roughly 650 casual workers in the city.

Vanessa Cavasinni

Vanessa Cavasinni is the managing editor of Australian Hotelier and Club Management, trade publications for the pub and club sectors respectively. Vanessa has been at the helm of Australian Hotelier since...

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