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Coronavirus support in national spotlight

Key business and welfare lobby groups will put coronavirus support under the microscope as Victoria fends off criticism of extended economic shutdowns.

The state government is resisting pressure to bring forward reopening dates, as cases continue to trend downwards.

Victoria had eight more deaths on Tuesday, but 55 new cases meant five-straight days under 100.

Australian Retailers Association chief executive Paul Zahra and Australian Council of Social Service CEO Cassandra Goldie will address the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday.

Deloitte Access Economics partner Chris Richardson will join the pair, less than a month ahead of the October 6 federal budget.

Mr Zahra has warned Melbourne’s extended lockdown will be a death sentence for many retailers unless more support is pumped into the suspended sector.

He’s urged the Andrews government to consider a payment for workers ineligible for JobKeeper, which is due to be slimmed down from the end of the month.

Dr Goldie is pushing for a permanent increase in the JobSeeker unemployment benefit ahead of the budget.

While the government is weighing up company tax cuts to stimulate business growth, ACOSS argues doing so without raising the dole would have devastating impacts.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has made any further coronavirus support for Victoria contingent on the state government outlining a fresh recovery package.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is declining to lobby Canberra through the media, but fired back at Mr Morrison’s criticism of the state roadmap.

“I’d say to the prime minister, the worst-case scenario is being open for three or four weeks and then closed down again,” Mr Andrews told reporters.

Victoria has set ambitious triggers to move between stages of reopening the economy, with November’s major step reliant on having no new cases for two weeks.

Mr Andrews insisted he maintained a good relationship with the prime minister despite increasingly tense federal-state relations.

“I’m not in any doubt that he, just as I, understands there’s no place for politics in this,” he said.

“This virus will not be defeated by playing politics. It’ll be defeated and put back into a manageable place by all of us being focused on working as hard as we can in as unified way as possible.”

NSW recorded nine new cases on Tuesday, while Queensland and South Australia had one each.

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