Hundreds of people queue outside an Australian government welfare centre, Centrelink, in Melbourne.New Zealanders in Australia are ineligible for unemployment benefit. (Photo: AFP)
31 March 2020
The Australian government has included New Zealanders living in Australia who are impacted by the Covid-19 crisis in its JobKeeper subsidy scheme. The $1,500 a fortnight is available to employers who undertake to keep somebody in their job..
It followed a plea last week from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for her Australian counterpart Scott Morrison to help an estimated 300,000 New Zealanders who were not eligible for any sort of benefit.
The Oz Kiwi group campaigns for fairer treatment of New Zealanders across the Tasman. Melbourne-based spokeswoman Liza Cox said there were a lot of desperate Kiwis out there wondering how they were going to make ends meet.
“A lot of terribly distressing situations where people are only going to be able to survive for a few weeks without any sort of assistance and they’re looking at eviction and not having any money to put food on the table, they can’t access any form of government support. These are really dire situations.”
Cox was sure Ardern’s plea last week had made a difference in New Zealanders being included in the JobKeeper scheme. “I would say definitely it has, just the fact that she has been reiterating that Kiwis make the best migrants, they easily assimilate, they give back to the community in multiple ways. Just quiet diplomacy to keep the pressure on.”
Cox said the one month wait for the payments to kick in would be tough for many but was glad that for now those renting were not allowed to be evicted for not keeping up with their rent, and could instead use that money for food.
[Read the full Radio NZ article].