Australia’s opposition on Tuesday proposed a cash incentive for citizens to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as the country’s most populous city of Sydney continued its battle against the latest outbreak triggered by the Delta variant.
Anthony Albanese, the leader of the Labor Party, revealed a plan to offer every Australian who is fully vaccinated by December 1 a A$300 cash bonus, reports Xinhua news agency.
The proposal would cost an estimated A$6 billion, but Albanese argued that constant lockdowns across the country were costing significantly more.
“That’s a small amount compared with the A$2 billion a week that these mass lockdowns are costing our national economy,” he told the Nine Network television.
“So this would be good for our health but also would provide a much-needed stimulus at a time when workers and small business is really struggling to get by as a result of these lockdowns.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on July 30 revealed details of a four-phase pathway out of the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the plan, Australians would be granted greater travel freedoms when 80 per cent of the adult population is fully vaccinated.
Till date, about 19.2 per cent of Australian adults have received two vaccine doses.
In a statement on Tuesday, Albanese said that cash incentives would help Australia reach 80 per cent coverage earlier.
“The faster this is achieved, the faster the recovery as we emerge from lockdowns that are bleeding hundreds of millions of dollars a day from the nation’s finances,” he said.
“Now that Australians are relying on Scott Morrison to do his job and rollout the vaccines, we are coming last in the developed world.”
Responding to the proposal, Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said it “won’t work”.
“Our approach has been to be guided by principles, principles that making sure spending is targeted, it is proportionate, it is focused on getting the exact outcomes that are necessary,” he told the media.