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Indigenous funeral is granted exemption from COVID-19 restrictions

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indigenous funeral is granted exemption from covid 19 restrictions

Hundreds of mourners have farewelled an Indigenous teenager at a traditional ceremony after an exemption was granted from strict COVID-19 rules.

The tragic death of the 17-year-old at Bli Bli, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, in May meant his loved ones had to wait almost a month before approval was granted for the ceremony.

While most funerals across Queensland can only have 50 people in attendance, the Sunshine Coast Council granted his family permission to have the funeral in a park.

A large service was held in an outdoor park, while a smaller farewell took place in a nearby chapel.

Hundreds of mourners have gathered to farewell an Indigenous teenager at a traditional ceremony in Queensland, amid calls for limits on funeral attendances to be increased

Hundreds of mourners have gathered to farewell an Indigenous teenager at a traditional ceremony in Queensland, amid calls for limits on funeral attendances to be increased

Hundreds of mourners have gathered to farewell an Indigenous teenager at a traditional ceremony in Queensland, amid calls for limits on funeral attendances to be increased

A large service was held in an outdoor park, while a smaller one took place in a nearby chapel

A large service was held in an outdoor park, while a smaller one took place in a nearby chapel

A large service was held in an outdoor park, while a smaller one took place in a nearby chapel

The exemption allowing more than 50 mourners at the boy's farewell comes amid calls for more funeral restrictions to be lifted as local COVID-19 transmissions slow

The exemption allowing more than 50 mourners at the boy's farewell comes amid calls for more funeral restrictions to be lifted as local COVID-19 transmissions slow

The exemption allowing more than 50 mourners at the boy’s farewell comes amid calls for more funeral restrictions to be lifted as local COVID-19 transmissions slow

The exemption is one of more than 100 granted across Queensland with the majority of those to Indigenous people.

But as the COVID-19 crisis eases – and the number of locally transmitted cases continuing to reduce – there are growing calls for all funerals to be opened up. 

Funerals are considered a vitally important part of Indigenous culture, providing an opportunity for other families within their communities to attend and pay tribute.

At the service on Thursday morning, mourners performed traditional cultural dances and smoking ceremonies.

The commemoration ceremony was held at Muller Park, a traditional Indigenous site.

Police were in attendance at the funeral and hand sanitiser stations were available, something that is likely to be commonplace when all funerals return to normal.

Sunshine Coast Council provided shade shelters for those gathered, the majority of who appeared to be social distancing. 

In a statement, the Sunshine Coast Council said: ‘A commemoration ceremony was held today in Bli Bli for a Traditional Kabi Kabi Custodian who recently passed away.

‘This followed a traditional service in a nearby chapel, where the coffin remained while the commemoration ceremony took place.

‘Muller Park is a cultural site and registered under the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003. The council permit related to holding this ceremony in a public park.

‘Requests to hold a funeral service in a public park are rare and this is the only one council has received during COVID-19.

‘A Queensland Police Service Liaison Officer and a Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships representative also attended.’ 

Two women - including one wearing a t-shirt in tribute to the youngster - stand together at the service on Thursday morning

Two women - including one wearing a t-shirt in tribute to the youngster - stand together at the service on Thursday morning

Two women – including one wearing a t-shirt in tribute to the youngster – stand together at the service on Thursday morning

The exemption is one of more than 100 granted across Queensland with the majority of those to Indigenous people as a result of the importance of funerals to their traditional culture

The exemption is one of more than 100 granted across Queensland with the majority of those to Indigenous people as a result of the importance of funerals to their traditional culture

The exemption is one of more than 100 granted across Queensland with the majority of those to Indigenous people as a result of the importance of funerals to their traditional culture

Police were in attendance at the funeral and hand sanitiser stations were available, something that is likely to be commonplace when all funerals return to normal

Police were in attendance at the funeral and hand sanitiser stations were available, something that is likely to be commonplace when all funerals return to normal

Police were in attendance at the funeral and hand sanitiser stations were available, something that is likely to be commonplace when all funerals return to normal

Queensland Health – which is the state’s leading body on COVID-19 – said that where exemptions are not granted, but more than 50 people attend, fines can be issued. 

Just hours before the service began, radio broadcaster Ray Hadley – who is pushing for funeral restrictions to be lifted – said he supported people being able to attend Thursday’s service, but pointed out it was unfair for those who are not granted an exemption.

‘This is causing divisions within the community. I think all these people should be allowed to attend this funeral today,’ Hadley said.

‘But while they are allowed to go with the help of the Sunshine Coast Council, there will be other funerals across this part of Australia with only 50 mourners.

‘And I’m told from time to time police even do a run through, to make sure at the various chapels and cemeteries in New South Wales that no more than 50 can attend. 

‘It really isn’t good enough, and while our condolences go to the gentleman who has passed, and I think people should be allowed to go to his funeral, we can’t have different rules for different people. 

Ray Hadley (pictured) - who is pushing for funeral restrictions to be lifted - said he supported people being able to attend Thursday's service, but pointed out it was one rule for some and another for others

Ray Hadley (pictured) - who is pushing for funeral restrictions to be lifted - said he supported people being able to attend Thursday's service, but pointed out it was one rule for some and another for others

Ray Hadley (pictured) – who is pushing for funeral restrictions to be lifted – said he supported people being able to attend Thursday’s service, but pointed out it was one rule for some and another for others

Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured) said he hopes the restrictions of funerals will soon be lifted, but blamed last weekend's Black Lives Matter protests for slowing the ability to do so

Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured) said he hopes the restrictions of funerals will soon be lifted, but blamed last weekend's Black Lives Matter protests for slowing the ability to do so

Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured) said he hopes the restrictions of funerals will soon be lifted, but blamed last weekend’s Black Lives Matter protests for slowing the ability to do so

‘I think the rule should change and it should have changed by now.’

Prime Minister Scott Morrison had moments earlier told Sydney radio station 2GB he hopes the restrictions of funerals will soon be lifted.

But he said last weekend’s Black Lives Matter protests are slowing the government’s ability to lift such restrictions. 

‘The rally last weekend is the only legitimate blocker to this at the moment,’ Mr Morrison said.

‘We actually don’t know right now whether those rallies on the weekend may have caused outbreaks. And we won’t know, my health advice is, for at least another week.

‘It just puts a massive spanner in the works. By all means, raise your issue but by doing this they’ve put the whole track back to recovery at risks and, certainly, any further action on this front would be absolutely unacceptable.’

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Writer reveals how she holidays for FREE at Australia’s hidden gems despite coronavirus restrictions

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writer reveals how she holidays for free at australias hidden gems despite coronavirus restrictions

A woman who cat-sat her way around the world says the ticket to a free holiday during coronavirus restrictions is to house-sit within your state. 

Madolline Gourley, 29, from Brisbane, has holidayed in 12 different states around the US for free over the last eight years by offering cat-sitting services.

The writer gets free accommodation, food and transport in exchange for looking after a house and pet while the owner is away.

Madolline Gourley, 29, from Brisbane, pictured with Jaspurr who she minded for a couple in West End, Brisbane, last Christmas. Ms Gourley sat for them again just a few weeks ago

Madolline Gourley, 29, from Brisbane, pictured with Jaspurr who she minded for a couple in West End, Brisbane, last Christmas. Ms Gourley sat for them again just a few weeks ago

Madolline Gourley, 29, from Brisbane, pictured with Jaspurr who she minded for a couple in West End, Brisbane, last Christmas. Ms Gourley sat for them again just a few weeks ago

With coronavirus restrictions opening up, Madolline scored a free house sit in Darwin for Christmas. One thing she will definitely do is the Adelaide River jumping crocodile cruises

With coronavirus restrictions opening up, Madolline scored a free house sit in Darwin for Christmas. One thing she will definitely do is the Adelaide River jumping crocodile cruises

With coronavirus restrictions opening up, Madolline scored a free house sit in Darwin for Christmas. One thing she will definitely do is the Adelaide River jumping crocodile cruises

Travelling your own state is no drama even if state borders close again - but Ms Gourley is going from Brisbane to Darwin so she can see the beautiful waterfalls such as this one in Kakadu (pictured) which will be raging giant torrents in the wet season

Travelling your own state is no drama even if state borders close again - but Ms Gourley is going from Brisbane to Darwin so she can see the beautiful waterfalls such as this one in Kakadu (pictured) which will be raging giant torrents in the wet season

Travelling your own state is no drama even if state borders close again – but Ms Gourley is going from Brisbane to Darwin so she can see the beautiful waterfalls such as this one in Kakadu (pictured) which will be raging giant torrents in the wet season

Madolline pictured in November 2019 when she cat-sat in Launceston, Tasmania, for 10 days with two cats. She took a day trip to Cradle Mountain National Park (pictured) and loved it

Madolline pictured in November 2019 when she cat-sat in Launceston, Tasmania, for 10 days with two cats. She took a day trip to Cradle Mountain National Park (pictured) and loved it

Madolline pictured in November 2019 when she cat-sat in Launceston, Tasmania, for 10 days with two cats. She took a day trip to Cradle Mountain National Park (pictured) and loved it 

With coronavirus restrictions ending overseas travel and restricting inter-state travel, you may think that there are no homes to house-sit in Australia and opportunities have dried up.

Not so, says Ms Gourley, who just landed a house-sit in Darwin over Christmas.

Tropical Darwin is in its wet season in December, a time of cracking thunderstorms, possible cyclones and steamy hot weather. 

Madolline won't be swimming at Christmas. Every Northern Territory river is infested with saltwater crocodiles, such as this monster snapped in the act of catching a barramundi at Cahill's Crossing in Kakadu National Park. Great for nature shots though

Madolline won't be swimming at Christmas. Every Northern Territory river is infested with saltwater crocodiles, such as this monster snapped in the act of catching a barramundi at Cahill's Crossing in Kakadu National Park. Great for nature shots though

Madolline won’t be swimming at Christmas. Every Northern Territory river is infested with saltwater crocodiles, such as this monster snapped in the act of catching a barramundi at Cahill’s Crossing in Kakadu National Park. Great for nature shots though

It’s the low season for tourists, which makes it a paradise for off-season adventure travel – if you can stand the heat. 

The jumping crocodile cruises are on and normally-sedate waterfalls in Kakadu swell to a violent size, hurling boulders and tree trunks over the escarpment. 

‘The house-sitting market right now is definitely quieter than usual, but I have seen plenty of ads placed on Aussie House Sitters in the last few weeks,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.

‘This is where I landed the Darwin sit for Christmas.’

Ms Gourley had to check that the NT had lifted its coronavirus requirement for 14 days of self-funded hotel quarantine before she responded to the ad.

She is now keeping her eye on the border updates in case there are any changes.

‘Let’s hope COVID transmission rates stays low in Brisbane and the NT doesn’t re-enact the “No people from Brisbane allowed” rule,’ she said. 

The way to guarantee no dramas, however, is to holiday within your own state. 

The gradual lifting of coronavirus restrictions means people are now exploring the hidden gems in their own state that they may never before have considered visiting – and are putting up ads for house-sitters.  

Ms Gourley said she had definitely seen an increase in house sitting listings in the past few weeks.  

‘A few months ago, there were maybe 20 ads across all of Australia,’ she said. 

Madolline pictured cat-sitting Jasper in Charleston, South Carolina, USA in February this year - more free accommodation just before the coronavirus pandemic took off

Madolline pictured cat-sitting Jasper in Charleston, South Carolina, USA in February this year - more free accommodation just before the coronavirus pandemic took off

Madolline pictured cat-sitting Jasper in Charleston, South Carolina, USA in February this year – more free accommodation just before the coronavirus pandemic took off

An Aboriginal artist at work in Kakadu National Park, painting a salt-water crocodile. Madolline has scored free accommodation in Darwin's wet season when no tourists are around

An Aboriginal artist at work in Kakadu National Park, painting a salt-water crocodile. Madolline has scored free accommodation in Darwin's wet season when no tourists are around

An Aboriginal artist at work in Kakadu National Park, painting a salt-water crocodile. Madolline has scored free accommodation in Darwin’s wet season when no tourists are around

‘Now there’s probably 20-plus ads per state and territory, with more being added each day.

‘As restrictions ease, and we approach the end of the year when most people take leave from work, I think there’ll be even more house and pet sitting ads.’

The coronavirus ended Ms Gourley’s international cat-sitting for the moment but now she is ticking Australian destinations off her bucket list.

‘Perth, Darwin and Adelaide are on my list, and I’m ticking Darwin off in December. I’d like to return to Tasmania as well – but Tasmania is still off limits to non-residents.

‘I’m also cat sitting for a local (Brisbane) couple again, in October … they were planning an overseas trip but coronavirus put an end to that. So they’ve chosen to go away on weekends instead, visiting places like Warwick and down near Girraween National Park.’ 

Ms Gourley had one very important word of advice for would-be pet-sitters: you have to like pets. 

‘My advice for anyone considering this is to think twice about whether or not you really do like animals,’ she said. 

TOP TEN TIPS FOR LANDING A FREE HOUSE-SITTING GIG 

1. You need to like animals. Upload photos of yourself with pets when you create a profile 

2. Be flexible. You want a holiday, but you can’t be set on the dates you want to take this holiday if you’re house and pet sitting. Work with the dates available.

 3. Be contactable. Keep your phone on you at all times and check your emails. Some people give the sit to the first person to reply to their ad.

4. Talk up any skills you can bring. If you like gardening and they’ve got a big garden, this skill might get you over the line. 

5. Highlight attributes like being organised, reliable, responsible, calm under pressure as sometimes things can go wrong when you’re on a house sit 

6. Tell the owner why you want to sit for them and personalise the application just like you would when applying for a job.

7. If you’re travelling from outside the owner’s city/town, let them know where you’re based and you’ll be travelling from there (at your own expense).

8. If you’re worried about coronavirus, maybe now isn’t the right time for you to house-sit 

9. Ask questions. Some listings are very comprehensive. Others aren’t. If there’s something you’re not sure about, flag it in your application.

10. Let the person know who’s coming on the sit: is it just you, is it you and your partner, is it your entire family? Many listings say no children

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Gold Coast lawyer reveals what happened during Eddie McGuire’s night out with his teenage son

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gold coast lawyer reveals what happened during eddie mcguires night out with his teenage son

A high profile lawyer pictured partying with Collingwood club boss and media personality Eddie McGuire at a Gold Coast nightclub has leapt to his defence.

McGuire, 55, has come under heavy fire after he was spotted enjoying a night out with son Joe, 19, at popular nightspot Pink Flamingo on Saturday night while his AFL team and their families remain under strict quarantine.

McGuire himself has been a harsh critic of the ‘idiot’ players who recently breached the code’s strict quarantine protocols and called for anyone who broke the rules to be slapped with $100,000 fines. 

Gold Coast criminal defence lawyer Ashkan Tai was pictured partying with McGuire on Saturday night alongside nightclub identity Joey Lamattina and was photographed giving a big thumbs up for the camera.

Eddie McGuire (centre) was slammed after he was pictured partying at the Pink Flamingo on Saturday night with nightclub identity Joey Lamattina (left) and lawyer Ashkan Tai (right)

Eddie McGuire (centre) was slammed after he was pictured partying at the Pink Flamingo on Saturday night with nightclub identity Joey Lamattina (left) and lawyer Ashkan Tai (right)

Eddie McGuire (centre) was slammed after he was pictured partying at the Pink Flamingo on Saturday night with nightclub identity Joey Lamattina (left) and lawyer Ashkan Tai (right)

Mr Tai has jumped to McGuire’s defence and called on critics to stop ‘whingeing about sports players in quarantine’ and focus on more important matters.

‘I think it’s (the photograph) been blown out of proportion, hundreds of people were out that night, following government rules and of course those implemented by the venue,’ Mr Tai told the Gold Coast Bulletin.

‘Every Aussie bloke, whether they are famous or not should be able to take their son out for a drink and not have to get their photo plastered in the media the next morning then be forced to offer an explanation.

‘The rich and famous don’t have to explain how they’re complying simply because someone who has got an issue with them makes a big deal.’

The new revelations come after McGuire, who is not staying at the AFL hub, defended his actions on Monday.

While his AFL team is forced in strict quarantine, the 55-year-old and his son, 19, were spotted enjoying a night out at the Pink Flamingo, on the Gold Coast, on Saturday night (pictured, Eddie McGuire with son Joe at the 2019 Footy Show Grand Final at Rod Laver Arena)

While his AFL team is forced in strict quarantine, the 55-year-old and his son, 19, were spotted enjoying a night out at the Pink Flamingo, on the Gold Coast, on Saturday night (pictured, Eddie McGuire with son Joe at the 2019 Footy Show Grand Final at Rod Laver Arena)

While his AFL team is forced in strict quarantine, the 55-year-old and his son, 19, were spotted enjoying a night out at the Pink Flamingo, on the Gold Coast, on Saturday night (pictured, Eddie McGuire with son Joe at the 2019 Footy Show Grand Final at Rod Laver Arena)

He decided to take his son and crew from his show Millionaire Hot Seat out for dinner and night out at the burlesque and cabaret venue in Surfers Paradise, having just completed his mandatory two weeks of quarantine in Queensland after leaving virus-riddled Victoria.

‘As you are well aware, I do a few different things in my life, including being on the board of Visit Victoria, and … speak extensively to people in the restaurant and hospitality industry about how we get Victoria going again,’ McGuire explained on on Triple M on Monday morning.

‘(That’s) part of what I was looking at the other night and how that all works.

‘What I did was I booked a dinner on Saturday night – the last night that I’ve got, because the next four weeks I’m flat out doing Hot Seat and hosting and all sorts of different things. I went through the procedure on how you go about doing things if you are outside the hub. ‘

Ashkan Tai (pictured right) called on critics to stop 'whingeing about sports players in quarantine' in the wake of backlash facing Eddie McGuire

Ashkan Tai (pictured right) called on critics to stop 'whingeing about sports players in quarantine' in the wake of backlash facing Eddie McGuire

Ashkan Tai (pictured right) called on critics to stop ‘whingeing about sports players in quarantine’ in the wake of backlash facing Eddie McGuire

He added his son Joe hadn’t been out much in 2020 due to lockdown. 

‘(The people I was with) said, look, well, the best place we can show you is this place called the Pink Flamingo,’ McGuire said.

‘The people over at the restaurant said ‘come over and have a drink.

‘My boy is 19, he hasn’t been out for the best part of six months so I took him across and bought him a beer.’ 

Fellow footy heavyweight and former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett called McGuire's behaviour a 'hell of a contradiction', despite the fact the Channel Nine personality in no way breached the government or the AFL's rules

Fellow footy heavyweight and former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett called McGuire's behaviour a 'hell of a contradiction', despite the fact the Channel Nine personality in no way breached the government or the AFL's rules

Fellow footy heavyweight and former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett called McGuire’s behaviour a ‘hell of a contradiction’, despite the fact the Channel Nine personality in no way breached the government or the AFL’s rules 

Fellow footy heavyweight and former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett called McGuire’s behaviour a ‘hell of a contradiction’, despite the fact the Channel Nine personality in no way breached the government or the AFL’s rules. 

‘You can’t have one rule for one group of people and another rule for others,’ Kennett told the Herald Sun.

‘It looks silly. He probably hasn’t broken any Queensland laws, but he has put himself again at the centre of attention where this issue of conflict of interest continues to raise its head. 

‘While he is out there jiving at the Pink Flamingo, his players and coaches are in a hub breathing stale air.’ 

Eddie (second right) was enjoying a night out with son Joe (left). They're pictured with Eddie's wife Carla and other son Alexander at the 2016 Melbourne Cup

Eddie (second right) was enjoying a night out with son Joe (left). They're pictured with Eddie's wife Carla and other son Alexander at the 2016 Melbourne Cup

Eddie (second right) was enjoying a night out with son Joe (left). They’re pictured with Eddie’s wife Carla and other son Alexander at the 2016 Melbourne Cup

McGuire has since hit back at Kennett’s comments. 

‘Is that the bloke who said that people act like ‘bogongs’?,’ he said.

‘That’s how in touch Jeff is on things at times, as opposed to ‘bogans’.’

On top of his duties as president of Collingwood, McGuire is also a Fox Footy host and the longtime face of Channel Nine game show Millionaire Hot Seat.  

AFL players, including from McGuire’s team the Collingwood Magpies and their families are holed up at the league’s hotel hub under increasingly strict conditions. 

McGuire has openly condemned AFL players who have been caught breaching restrictions.

Eddie McGuire has defended his decision to enjoy a night out at the Pink Flamingo

Eddie McGuire has defended his decision to enjoy a night out at the Pink Flamingo

Eddie McGuire has defended his decision to enjoy a night out at the Pink Flamingo

Richmond Tigers players Sydney Stack and Callum-Coleman are currently serving a 10-game suspension after they were involved in a fight outside a Gold Coast strip club. 

‘The idiot soup kicked in on them and they decided it was a good idea to break every rule they’ve been told for the last three months and as a result they got a full whack,’ McGuire said at the time.

Sydney Swans youngster Elijah Taylor was also sent home from the AFL’s hub after sneaking his girlfriend into the facility. 

He has since been charged with domestic violence after an alleged altercation in the days after he departed from the league’s compound. 

Meanwhile AFL players, including from McGuire's team, and their families were holed up at the league's hotel hub under increasingly strict conditions (pictured, AFL stars and WAGs relaxing by the pool at the Mercure Resort on the Gold Coast)

Meanwhile AFL players, including from McGuire's team, and their families were holed up at the league's hotel hub under increasingly strict conditions (pictured, AFL stars and WAGs relaxing by the pool at the Mercure Resort on the Gold Coast)

Meanwhile AFL players, including from McGuire’s team, and their families were holed up at the league’s hotel hub under increasingly strict conditions (pictured, AFL stars and WAGs relaxing by the pool at the Mercure Resort on the Gold Coast)

The AFL reportedly paid up to $3million a week to house 458 players and families in high-class locations including the 4.5 star Mercure Gold Coast Resort in Carrara. 

AFL players and their families have access to games and training rooms, but can not play golf or other activities.

They must maintain a 1.5 metre distance and no more than three people can be in a room at any one time.

Players are allowed to visit each other in their rooms, but only for a maximum of two hours at a time.        

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Australians nervous about having JobKeeper payment slashed next week are told to turn to JobSeeker

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australians nervous about having jobkeeper payment slashed next week are told to turn to jobseeker

Anyone anxious about having their JobKeeper payment slashed is being told to apply for the dole.

The wage subsidy scheme is being extended at reduced rates for six months from September 28.

Payments for full-time staff are being cut from $1500 to $1200 per fortnight, while people who usually worked less than 20 hours a week before the coronavirus pandemic will receive just $750.

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston is encouraging people to top up their payments with unemployment benefits.

Australians who are worried about their JobKeeper payment being slashed on September 28 have been encouraged to 'top up' their benefits with the JobSeeker payment (hospitality worker pictured)

Australians who are worried about their JobKeeper payment being slashed on September 28 have been encouraged to 'top up' their benefits with the JobSeeker payment (hospitality worker pictured)

Australians who are worried about their JobKeeper payment being slashed on September 28 have been encouraged to ‘top up’ their benefits with the JobSeeker payment (hospitality worker pictured)

‘We have temporarily put arrangements in place so that our social security safety net is not just for people who have lost their jobs,’ Senator Ruston said on Monday.

‘It is able to provide a cushion for people who have had or fear their hours or income will be reduced.’

JobKeeper recipients on $1200 per fortnight may be eligible for a partial dole payment, lifting their total income to $1476.

People receiving JobKeeper at the part-time rate of $750 per fortnight could receive another $546 in unemployment benefits, boosting their incomes to $1295.

More than one million workers are expected to come off JobKeeper over the next three months as businesses recover.

Almost 3.6 million people have received the fortnightly payments throughout the pandemic.

That number is expected to drop to 2.24 million in the December quarter as businesses whose turnovers have improved ‘graduate’ from the scheme.

33431734 8755283 image a 53 1600684113997

33431734 8755283 image a 53 1600684113997

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston (pictured) is encouraging people to top up their payments with the JobSeeker unemployment benefit

JobKeeper recipients on $1200 per fortnight may be eligible for a partial dole payment, lifting their total income to $1476 (Pako Bakery-cafe in Geelong pictured)

JobKeeper recipients on $1200 per fortnight may be eligible for a partial dole payment, lifting their total income to $1476 (Pako Bakery-cafe in Geelong pictured)

JobKeeper recipients on $1200 per fortnight may be eligible for a partial dole payment, lifting their total income to $1476 (Pako Bakery-cafe in Geelong pictured)

It is tipped to tumble to 1.75 million in the first three months of next year.

The Morrison government is also preparing to slash JobSeeker booster payments from the end of this week.

People on the unemployment benefit have since March received an extra $550 per fortnight through a coronavirus supplement.

That is being reduced to $250 a fortnight from this Friday and is scheduled to be scrapped altogether at the end of December.

Senator Ruston said the increased dole payment would be extended into next year if required.

‘I want to assure all Australians, if elevated supports are continued to be needed, they will be made available,’ she told reporters.

Almost 3.6 million people have received the fortnightly payments throughout the pandemic (people pictured outside a Centrelink in Adelaide)

Almost 3.6 million people have received the fortnightly payments throughout the pandemic (people pictured outside a Centrelink in Adelaide)

Almost 3.6 million people have received the fortnightly payments throughout the pandemic (people pictured outside a Centrelink in Adelaide)

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