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Too stupid, stubborn or lazy to get the jab? Albo wants to give you $300

Politics

The federal government should offer a $300 payment to fully vaccinated Australians to give the roll-out program a much-needed shot in the arm, Labor says.

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But coalition frontbencher Simon Birmingham says the proposal is “insulting” to the many Australians who have already turned out to get their jabs.

There are concerns the COVID-19 vaccination program, which so far has delivered 12.4 million doses, has been too slow and is putting Australia’s health and economic recovery at risk.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese wants the Morrison government to provide a one-off $300 payment to every person who has been fully vaccinated by December 1.

This would include those who have already been vaccinated.

“The government has failed on its two jobs this year, the rollout of the vaccine and fixing quarantine,” Albanese said on Tuesday.

“It needs to use every measure at its disposal to protect Australians and our economy.”

It is estimated the plan would cost up to $6 billion.

But the government has rejected ‘cash for jabs’ proposals as having little to no impact on vaccine rates.

Birmingham said the research prepared by the government’s Behavioural Economics Team concluded financial incentives aren’t the solution.

“The evidence says this is unnecessary and won’t work,” Senator Birmingham told Nine Network on Tuesday.

“We can’t just throw $6 billion around against the evidence when you have actually got now more than 40 per cent of Australians who have already turned out for their first shot, and you do see that very strong desire from Australians to get a spot as soon as possible.”

Leading epidemiologist Mary-Louise McLaws said cash incentives were unnecessary at this stage with Australians generally good at taking up vaccines.

“I actually don’t think Australians are that hesitant. There is just not enough vaccine available,” she told the Nine Network.

“I would prefer that money to go to people who are really hurting financially with the lockdown.”

The government has set a target of 70 per cent vaccine coverage for lockdowns to be minimised and 80 per cent for them to be a thing of the past.

“The faster this is achieved, the faster the recovery as we emerge from the lockdowns that are bleeding hundreds of millions of dollars a day from the nation’s finances,” Albanese said.

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