One in three lose work in Sydney lockdown

·2-min read

A third of people in Sydney have lost work or lost their job completely since a COVID-19 outbreak forced the city into a hard lockdown in June, new research suggests.

A survey of over 1000 people living in the Greater Sydney area in August, conducted by Australian finance brokers Savvy, found 12 per cent have lost employment and another 22 per cent had their hours cut.

Some 600,000 people are jobless and over a million working less, the survey results indicate when extrapolated to the region's 5.3 million population.

More than a third of survey respondents - 35 per cent - said they were living paycheck to paycheck during lockdown, with about 28 per cent "worried" or "extremely worried" about losing their income if the lockdown continues beyond October.

NSW Council of Social Services chief executive Joanna Quilty told AAP the absence of the JobSeeker coronavirus supplement - worth $150 a fortnight - and the generous JobKeeper program has left many families struggling unlike they have in previous lockdowns.

It has been particularly tough on people in western and south-western Sydney deemed hotspots, areas that were already facing high levels of disadvantage, she said.

"To survive this lockdown you need stable housing that's affordable, you need access to the internet, you need to be able to put food on the table, you need to have enough room in your house to make it bearable to be at home," Ms Quilty said.

"For a lot of people in the suburbs that have been hardest hit, they don't have those conditions in place.

"There are people clearly in significant need and households who are really in desperate circumstances... and there's a lot of uncertainty this time around the pathway out."

Frontline services have stepped up to provide assistance, but are under extreme pressure, she said.

The reintroduction of the coronavirus supplement to JobSeeker from the federal government is sorely needed.

"Why was it okay to put that measure in place last year, but we're not doing it this time around? It doesn't make sense," Ms Quilty said.

Those who have lost work should access disaster payments, available to them through Services Australia, she said.

Weekly coronavirus disaster payments of up to $750 a week are available for people in nationally recognised hotspot areas who have lost more than 20 hours of work.

People who have lost between eight and 19 hours of work are eligible for $450 a week.

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