Unions representing Illawarra workers have welcomed the increase in COVID disaster payments.
However, South Coast Labour Council secretary Arthur Rorris doubted whether the extra $150 for workers was anywhere near enough to pay the sorts of bills that people in the Greater Sydney region had to pay every month just to have a roof over their head.
Workers who lose hours because of lockdowns will now receive up to $750, up from $600 a week, under a boosted federal support scheme which mirrors the original JobKeeper wage subsidy.
Workers who lose between eight and 20 hours will be eligible for $450, up from $375, while welfare recipients will no longer be excluded.
People on Centrelink payments will be eligible for $200 a week if they lose more than eight hours of work.
Mr Rorris said given that the region was looking down the barrel of another four weeks of extreme hardship for many families, the disaster payments would struggle to cover the mortgage.
"Let's be clear the average mortgage in the Greater Sydney area is over $700,000. How on earth are people going to be able to afford those repayments with another four weeks lockdown?" he asked.
"The only solution here is that there has to be regulation or legislation now to force the banks to press the pause button on all home and business loans.
"It is not as easy as simply deferring it and kicking the can down the road another four weeks.
"We need the loans restructured so that the term is lengthened by the term of the lockdown.
"We need the banks to be required to act, we can't expect that to be a voluntary process."
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The union boss also wanted the federal government to make employers rehire sacked or stood-down workers after the lockdown.
"After the lockdown people will be in a position where they won't know whether or when they've got a job to go to. Giving people some clarity was the whole point of the JobKeeper arrangement," Mr Rorris said.
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