Up to 20 people lined up outside Goulburn's Centrelink office on Monday morning as new regulations surrounding coronavirus took hold.
Earlier, the Centrelink website crashed under the weight of demand for information on entitlements. People employed in pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants were just some of those affected after the government announced their closure from noon Monday. Eateries serving take-away only can remain open.
In Goulburn, 18 people were lined up at noon and police were onsite only to supervise the set-up. People stood 1.5 metres apart, in line with the government's social distancing laws.
A 19-year-old local man, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was feeling very "up in the air" about his future.
The university student works two casual jobs, one at a pool and the other in the restaurant industry. Both have been suspended.
"I wasn't really expecting it but I guess it was going to come eventually," he said of the shutdowns.
At that stage he wasn't sure what benefits he'd be entitled to but was hopeful of support.
"I'm feeling a bit uncertain about the future (but) there has to be some support," the teenager said.
"I live at home so I don't have any bills."
The federal government has announced a raft of measures including:
- A $750 stimulus payment to social security and veteran income support recipients and eligible concession card holders, except for those who are receiving an income support payment that is eligible to receive the Coronavirus supplement;
- Treasurer Josh Fydenberg said any worker whose income had fallen below $1075 a fortnight would be eligible for the coronavirus supplement payment of $550/fortnight;
- Individuals in financial stress as a result of the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21.
- allow individuals in financial stress as a result of the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21.
- Reducing social welfare deeming rates by 0.25 per cent.
More than 5000 extra Centrelink staff will be employed across the country to cope with the infux of inquiries and applications
Meantime, Sergeant Jeff Morgan said police had a presence at the Goulburn Centrelink office to help the set-up, with barriers for the line, and to answer questions.
Earlier, officers also attended Coles and Woolworths supermarkets and shopping centres. Security guards have also been employed to keep the peace.
"Everyone is quite well behaved, which is good to see," Sergeant Morgan said.
"The majority have accepted what's happened but everyone is quite anxious because it's changing by the hour."
Sergeant Morgan said there was a "tussle over toilet paper" at Goulburn's Coles supermarket between two people last week but it was quickly resolved.
In addition, there had been some verbal abuse at supermarkets generally by people chastising others for taking extra products.
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