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Australia PM announces new lockdown disaster payments – who’s eligible?

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Scott Morrison

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a new “temporary COVID-19 disaster payment”

The disaster payment will be made for people who live in declared COVID-19 hotspots and are unable to work because of a lockdown.

It comes as the nation’s second-biggest state of Victoria remains in an extended lockdown due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

The payment will be made available to those unable to work due to imposed lockdowns.

The Federal Government however revealed there are terms and conditions of the payment which include that the area in lockdown must be recognised as a hotspot from the Federal Government.

The PM also stated that payments will not be made available unless an area is locked down for more than two weeks, meaning a one-week lockdown would see no payments to stood down workers.

The Commonwealth Government also stated they reserve the right to cease payments if they no longer designate an area as a hotspot.

Image / Ticker NEWS

The breakdown

Only workers stood down from employment during a lockdown will be eligible for payments.

$500 PAYMENT PER WEEKFOR WORKERS WHO NORMALLY WORK 20+ HRS
$325 PAYMENT PER WEEKFOR WORKERS WHO NORMALLY WORK UNDER 20 HRS PER WEEK

The new payment is set to cost the Australian Government $50 million a week for every 100,000 applicants it pays.

Melbourne testing clinic /Image AFP

Australia’s Victoria remains in lockdown

Victorian Acting Premier James Merlino says vaccination was the only way out of the pandemic and that the locked down state was waiting on Federal support in relation to the federal vaccine rollout.

Anthony Lucas is reporter, presenter and social media producer with ticker News. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Professional Communication, with a major in Journalism from RMIT University as well as a Diploma of Arts and Entertainment journalism from Collarts. He’s previously worked for 9 News, ONE FM Radio and Southern Cross Austerio’s Hit Radio Network. 

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Money

Brad Banducci quits as Woolworths Australia CEO after TV blow-up

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Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci has revealed his decision to step down from his position, with Amanda Bardwell, head of loyalty and e-commerce, slated to succeed him as chief executive in September.

Bardwell’s appointment marks a historic moment as she becomes the first woman to lead the company in its nearly 100-year history.

Banducci’s departure comes at a critical juncture for Woolworths and its competitor, Coles, as they brace for an upcoming Senate inquiry led by the Greens.

The inquiry, scheduled for next month, is expected to scrutinise higher grocery costs, which Canberra has blamed for inflating supermarket profit margins at the expense of consumers.

Supermarket investigation

In addition to the Senate inquiry, Labor has urged the competition regulator to investigate the supermarkets, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese suggesting potential abuse of market power by the retailers.

Woolworths chairman Scott Perkins clarified that Banducci’s succession timeline was not accelerated in response to the scrutiny faced by the supermarket industry.

Perkins stated that interviews with potential candidates for the CEO position had been ongoing since the latter half of the previous year.

“There has been an ongoing dialogue with Brad,” Perkins told media. “There was no change to the timetable, no expedition at all.”

Importance of authenticity

Banducci acknowledged that he had considered delaying his departure but ultimately decided against it, citing the importance of authenticity. Despite the challenges facing the industry, he expressed confidence in Bardwell’s ability to lead Woolworths into the future.

Analysts reacted to the news with a mix of surprise and caution.

In financial terms, Woolworths’ food retail division reported a 5.2 percent increase in sales, or 6.6 percent excluding tobacco.

However, the company noted a moderation in prices, with average increases of 1.3 percent in the last three months of 2023.

Despite this, margins continued to improve, and earnings for the division rose by 8.2 percent.

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Money

Walmart reports holiday sales as shoppers seek better value

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Walmart disclosed its fourth-quarter earnings showcasing a surge in sales during the holiday season, offering early insights into consumer spending trends amid a crucial period.

Despite a challenging economic climate, Walmart reported a 4 percent increase in comparable store sales for the three months ending in late January compared to the previous year.

The number of transactions also saw a notable uptick, rising by 4.3 percent. However, there was a slight decline of 0.3 percent in the average ticket price, indicating a tendency among shoppers to spend marginally less during their shopping trips.

The retail behemoth witnessed a significant boost in its online sales, with a 17 percent increase in the U.S. market and a remarkable 23 percent surge globally, surpassing the $100 billion mark. Walmart’s Chief Financial Officer, John David Rainey, attributed this growth partly to cost-saving measures in their e-commerce operations and the rising adoption of Walmart’s delivery services.

Discretionary purchases

While the e-commerce sector saw substantial gains, there was a noted decrease in discretionary purchases such as electronics, as consumers prioritized essential items amidst economic uncertainties.

Walmart’s emphasis on value and affordability played a pivotal role in driving sales, particularly in its grocery segment.

The company’s CEO, Doug McMillon, highlighted Walmart’s commitment to offering competitive prices, leveraging its substantial grocery business.

In a strategic move to enhance its offerings, Walmart announced the acquisition of television manufacturer Vizio in a deal worth $2.3 billion, further expanding its Walmart Connect advertising and media business.

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Money

Millions of Australians are struggling with credit card repayments

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Recent research has revealed a concerning trend: a significant number of Australians are falling behind on their credit card repayments, highlighting the financial strain faced by many households.

According to Finder’s Credit Card Report 2024, approximately 13% of Australian credit card holders, equivalent to nearly 1.8 million individuals, have missed at least one repayment in the past three months.

Of this group, 8% have fallen behind by 30 days, while 4% have missed payments by 60 days.

Read more – Is Paypal bringing back old school credit cards?

Alarmingly, 2% of cardholders have delayed repayments by more than 60 days.

Prevalent misuse

Amy Bradney-George, a credit card expert at Finder, expressed concern over the prevalent misuse of credit cards, attributing it partly to the escalating cost of living.

Bradney-George warned that missing a credit card payment often incurs late fees and interest charges, exacerbating financial burdens for individuals.

Bradney-George emphasised the detrimental impact of late payments on credit scores.

She highlighted that a missed payment can be recorded on a credit file within just 14 days, potentially affecting an individual’s ability to secure loans or new credit cards in the future.

With details of late payments lingering on credit reports for up to two years, the consequences could be long-lasting.

Currently, there are over 13 million credit cards in circulation across Australia, accumulating a national debt of $18.1 billion subject to interest charges.

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