The Australian Government is considering adding an option for its weatherization program to help those affected by the extreme weather.
Weatherization assistance will allow people to pay for heating and cooling and other basic necessities, such as fuel and toilet paper, through the COVID-19 response fund.
The plan has been in the works for months, but a new report released on Tuesday by the Climate Action Network and the Climate Institute says it is finally going to be introduced.
“This is really a step forward,” said climate expert and former prime minister Julia Gillard.
“This is about a lot of people getting a boost in money.”
While the program has been around for more than two decades, Australia’s COVID response fund was only created to deal with COVID outbreaks and deaths.
“We’re a big country, we’re a global economy, we have a huge amount of infrastructure to manage, and that’s the way it’s been,” said Climate Action president Matthew Hargreaves.
“If we have this money in our economy, if we have that money available to people, we can actually make a real difference.”
Australia is one of the few developed countries with a COVID outbreak response fund, with more than $400 million set aside.
But the funding is just a fraction of the funding Australia needs to provide for its own COVID pandemic response, and there is also the issue of COVID vaccine development.
“There are a lot more people to deal a bigger impact,” said Gillard, who said that with Australia’s budget surplus and the fact that many of the affected people live in remote areas, it would be a “massive challenge” to have all the COV-19 vaccines in place by the time the pandemic is over.
“And so we need a massive injection of resources,” Gillard said.
“There are some people who have already started to get vaccinated.
We need to do a lot faster, but it’s just as important as getting everyone vaccinated.”
The plan is also aimed at tackling the financial burden the COVS would take on.
It would be paid for through the new COVID vaccination tax, which is scheduled to go into effect in July.
“In order to be able to do this, we need to start doing a lot better on the money front,” said Hargresbeak.
“I think it’s very likely that we will be able, as a government, to be a bit more competitive with other countries, so we’ll need to be spending a lot less.”
The Government’s decision is a sign of how serious it is about dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, and Gillard was optimistic about how the program could play out.
“It’s a big win for the Commonwealth,” she said.
“People can start getting their COVID vaccines now.”
The Climate Institute, which was created by the National Australia Bank to help finance the COVE outbreak response, has said it would like to see the program rolled out in other countries around the world.