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Federal relief for Victoria – timely help to deal with a grim situation

"Ai Group welcomes the announcement of federal government support for people impacted by prolonged and necessary lockdowns. It will allow many people to pay their bills and support their families while returning some of the lost spending back into the economy," Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group said today.

"For those affected by the latest Victorian lockdowns, the federal support will supplement State Government measures and help take some of the sting out of the grim situation facing many Victorian families and businesses. However, it remains the case that state governments should take primary responsibility for the economic support of businesses and employees who are impacted by their lockdowns.

"The design of the scheme should be open to refinement.

"Today’s COVID-19 numbers in Victoria show that the State is getting on top of the latest outbreak and is likely to be in a position to lift the lockdown sooner than planned, which would also limit some of the damage.

"There were three COVID-19 cases today out of a greater Melbourne population of around 5 million, all of which were linked to previous cases within the State. This is positive news and should trigger a quick-fire review of the harsh lockdown," Mr Willox said.

Tim Piper, Ai Group's Victorian Head, said: "We know where most cases come from. We have a contact tracing regime that has proven itself as being up to the task and congratulations to the Government on achieving that status. Businesses were not unsupportive of the first week of lockdown. The continuing positive news should see a more targeted approach adopted that doesn’t unnecessarily disrupt a quarter of the national economy and millions of lives.

"We should not be locked down for a day longer than necessary and it is unclear from the State Government's statements what success may look like," Mr Piper said.

Further comment: Tim Piper – 0411 430 301