By Luke Voogt
Residents in the Corio and Corangamite electorates have received more than $121 million in economic support payments, according to the federal government.
The $750 payments were paid automatically to people who were eligible in March and April, and again in July.
Corangamite residents received 77,439 payments totalling $58 million and Corio residents received 85,003 payments totalling $63.8 million, according to Geelong-based federal senator Sarah Henderson.
Senator Henderson said the payments had made a big difference to many regional Victorians doing “it tough in the face of the coronavirus”.
“I know a lot of people are doing it tough out there and I have been fighting hard to make sure our community remains supported throughout the devastating impacts of the global pandemic.
“These economic support payments are part of the broader plan we are delivering to keep Australia moving forward.”
But Corio MP and deputy opposition leader Richard Marles described the liberal senator’s comments as “a bit rich”.
“It’s Scott Morrison and her party who are overseeing the pension freeze, which is happening at the worst possible time, putting the squeeze on household budgets of seniors and the most vulnerable.
“People across Geelong are contacting my office and telling me how they are struggling right now, and [of] the anxieties they have about the winding back of JobKeeper, and what they are meant to do with their budgets when the JobSeeker payment is cut by $300 a fortnight.”
The federal government has provided $314 billion in COVID-19 assistance, according to Treasurer Josh Frydernberg.
This includes JobKeeper payments, the boost to JobSeeker, the economic support payments and the coronavirus supplement.
But from September 28, JobKeeper will fall from $1500 a fortnight to $1200, with a further drop to $1000 next January.
People who worked less than 20 hours per week before JobKeeper was introduced will have their payments reduced to $750 later this month and $650 in January.
Since March, the $550-a-fortnight JobSeeker payment, previously known as Newstart, has effectively doubled to about $1100 a fortnight with the coronavirus supplement.
But from September 25 the supplement will fall to $250 a fortnight, meaning JobSeeper will drop to about $800 a fortnight.