News Coronavirus Treasurer warns states on fiscal support

Treasurer warns states on fiscal support

vaccination australia
Josh Frydenberg has warned the states that federal COVID support won't be there as vaccination rates increase. Photo: Getty
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The federal government is warning states not to expect the same level of financial support once Australia’s virus vaccination rate passes 70 per cent.

More than half of Australia’s population aged 16 and above has received at least one dose of a coronavirus jab.

The milestone came on Thursday, which was a record day of immunisations. There were 309,010 doses administered nationwide as the behind-schedule rollout ratchets up.

But Australia also smashed its record for new local cases, with 681 of 754 new infections detected in NSW.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has conceded getting back to zero is an unrealistic aim and said the next two months would be difficult.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has insisted Sydney’s lockdown has to work.

But Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has warned states and territories will find themselves increasingly on their own with lockdowns once Australia reaches vaccination rates of between 70 and 80 per cent.

“The number of people getting serious illness reduces and, in the words of the Doherty Institute, stringent lockdowns become unlikely,” he told ABC News on Friday.

“We need to provide hope for the future and states can’t expect that the commonwealth’s emergency economic support will continue at the scale it is now.”

Australia’s vaccination program will open to everyone between the ages of 16 and 39 from August 30.

At national cabinet on Friday, state and federal leaders will discuss the widening of the vaccine rollout to younger Australians from the end of the month.

Some people in that cohort have elected to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine after speaking with a doctor about the very low risk of a rare blood clotting condition.

The federal government is also waiting for its expert immunisation panel to give the green light for Pfizer jabs for all children aged from 12-15.

Children and younger people are increasingly contracting the virus with NSW’s Delta variant sparking outbreaks in Melbourne, Canberra and even New Zealand.

Victoria had 57 new cases on Thursday, but 54 were linked to existing cases and 44 were in isolation throughout their infectious period.

There were 16 new cases in the ACT, taking its outbreak to 83 as Chief Minister Andrew Barr warned it was impossible for Canberra to completely seal itself off.

Australia has fully vaccinated 28.2 per cent of its population aged 16 and above.