The Prime Minister has hit back after Victoria blasted him for unveiling a multi-billion dollar support package for businesses and residents hit by Sydney’s COVID-19 outbreak.
Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Tuesday announced payments that go above and beyond the arrangements during Victoria’s most recent lockdown.
Watch Morrison’s full interview on Sunrise above
He said the support is in the national interest and will be offered to any other state or territory that experiences an extended lockdown.
In a statement on Tuesday, a Victorian Government spokesperson said that while all Australians believe residents in NSW “deserve every possible support” at this time, it was the same “double standard”.
“Victorians are rightly sick and tired of having to beg for every scrap of support from the Federal Government,” the statement read.
“It shouldn’t take a crisis in Sydney for the Prime Minister to take action but we are seeing the same double standard time and time again. His job is not to be the Prime Minister for NSW.”
The Victorian Government claims it had to “shame” Canberra into “doing their job” and providing income support for Victorians when the state faced its own battle with the Delta strain last month.
“Their position at the time was a disgrace,” the statement continued.
“If they had bothered to think about this at the time and work with Victoria, they’d already have had a practical framework in place when NSW went into lockdown and more people would have got the support they need earlier.”
Scott Morrison hits back
Speaking to Sunrise on Wednesday, Morrison said the accusation he was favouring NSW, which is his home state and has a Liberal premier, was “nonsense” and “just not true.”
He told David Koch that Victoria was provided “exactly the same support” by the commonwealth during their last two-week lockdown and that further assistance is being provided to NSW as their shutdown is going for longer.
“What has happened in NSW is exactly what happened in Victoria, it’s the same support provided by the commonwealth during that two-week period,” he said.
Morrison then pointed out that the federal government poured more than $13 billion into Victoria as it endured the world’s longest lockdown last year.
“When Victoria needed the rest of the country last year when they were in that very long lockdown during the second wave, the commonwealth was putting in three quarters of a billion dollars into Victoria every week,” he said.
“In Victoria there was more JobKeeper provided to Victoria than to any other state.”
For more details on the federal and NSW government’s assistance package for locked down NSW residents and businesses, click here.
– With AAP