- Wang Yi urges Australia to treat China as partner not opponent
- Australians over 70 granted access to Covid antiviral treatments
- Get our free news app, morning email briefing and daily news podcast
On pandemic leave payments – which are coming to an end – Speers asks Butler about the decision by the government not to extend them. Butler responds that ending these payments was necessary because of the budget.
This emergency payment was designed by the former government and the state governments. It’s a co-owned scheme that came to end an on 30 June. We are one trillion in debt and at some point emergency payments of this type have to be wound up as we move to a new phase. That’s the decision that former governments took and it’s a decision we have decided to follow as well.
There’s state rules to isolate. These emergency payments have to be wound up at some point.
I accept whenever you end an emergency payment of this type it’s going to impact people. I deeply regret that. But at some point these emergency payments simply have to be wound up. We don’t have the financial capacity to keep making them forever. They were intended to wind up on 30 June, that was the decision taken by the former government, and all state governments who are co-signatories to that scheme and it’s a decision we had to continue.
Butler: In this phase of the pandemic mask mandates and things like that are best done in a targeted way. There’s mask mandates in aged care, in health facilities, on public transport, in airplanes. And if you’re in a crowded indoor space with no ability to socially distance you should give strong consideration to wearing a mask.
Speers: Again… You only need to go to the movies or a shopping centre or the footy to see how ineffectual a recommendation is. So many people not wearing masks. Wasn’t one of the lessons of this pandemic, mask mandates for a fixed period, work?
Read the original article at The Guardian