MyGov was overloaded on Monday with more than 100,000 people trying to login at the same time. The site struggled under the pressure again on Tuesday.
Forecasts suggest Australia is on track for an additional one million unemployed workers in coming months, including from shuttered pubs, restaurants, cinemas and shops.
Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said a rule change meant thousands would not need to visit a Centrelink office to verify their identity.
“Yesterday the changes came into place which require you only to provide proof of identity over the phone,” Senator Ruston said.
“We will not require you to provide any physical demonstration. We will only require you to actually advise us and we’ll take your word for it — understanding these are exceptional circumstances and we don’t want people attending Centrelink sites in person.”
A new welfare wage for workers who are stood down or lose their jobs is set to flow from next month, structured to help tide them over until the crisis passes.
Senator Ruston said recipients of existing youth allowance, student benefits and apprentices will also have access to the coronavirus supplement payments.
The Greens want to use state legislation to extend workers compensation coverage to employees who contract COVID-19 in the workplace.
Legislation to be introduced to the NSW Parliament would cover full time, part time, contract and casual workers who stay home, self-isolate or receive treatment after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Under the plan, payments would be made at the standard workers compensation rates, ranging from 85 per cent to 100 per cent of normal earnings. The cash would continue for 21 days after a worker is cleared or returns to work.
Greens leader Adam Bandt said the draft laws, to be introduced to other state parliaments within weeks, would not require additional taxpayer funding or adversely impact employer premiums.
“Hundreds of thousands of people will be off work in connection with the coronavirus because they’re sick, in self-isolation or their workplace has had an incident,” he said.
“If we change the law so that sick or coronavirus-affected workers are automatically entitled to existing workers’ compensation schemes, they will maintain an income without imposing costs on their employer.”
Labor leader Anthony Albanese accused the Coalition of chaos and misinformation.
“It’s just unacceptable for a minister to say that that was a result of a [denial of service attack] … when it was an incompetence attack from the government,” he said.