As hundreds of businesses close around the country due to the rapidly evolving coronavirus pandemic, thousands of workers have found themselves without employment.
On Monday, long lines formed outside of Centrelink offices around the country as thousands of Australians attempted to register with the welfare agency for the first time.
The MyGov online portal crashed after it was overwhelmed by newly unemployed Australians scrambling to apply for benefits, as the economic impact of job losses hit home.
The scenes were replicated on Tuesday morning, as queues once again formed outside offices around the country.
This included dozens of people lining up outside the Albert Street building in Ballarat before the doors opened at 8.30am.
One of these people was Tristan New, 23, who was in line for the JobSeeker payment.
Yesterday he started in a new role as a sales representative. He worked the full day but unfortunately last night received a call telling him not to attend work on Tuesday, or until he is otherwise notified.
It had been a three week process before he even began the job - from two interviews in the first week followed by a training day and hours of revision - and was something he had been looking forward to.
While he believes he will have a job to return to, he said the whole situation was "pretty rough" and he was just looking for financial support until he can return to work.
Aaron Bonell-Huy, 24, was also in the queue before the doors opened.
A casual teacher at a Ballarat high school, yesterday he was faced with the fact that he would not have any work for at least the next few weeks due to the school holidays being brought forward.
Mr Bonell-Huy works two jobs to make ends meet. After teaching, of an evening he usually works at a pub in the Ballarat CBD.
"So now that both of my jobs have gone, I'm coming here to see if I can receive any support through this time. If not, I'll just have to go home and try to live my life without it," he said.
Asked if the situation worried him, he said it did as he, like everyone else, has bills to pay.
"It's pretty daunting but I do have some savings I can fall back on if I need to. But a bit of [government support] would really help to tide me over for the next couple of months."
Another person in line, who did not wish to be named so The Courier will call Gabby, was a casual worker at Sovereign Hill.
Read more: Sovereign Hill closes indefinitely
She had attempted to access MyGov online but has been unable to due to the services crashing. A mum with five children, she said she had been attempting to lodge her claim since she was notified that Sovereign Hill would no longer be employing casual workers early last week, but has been unable to upload any documents.
While casual workers were being paid two weeks wages and Sovereign Hill had negotiated with Woolworths Ballarat to guarantee employment for any of its casuals, Gabby does not believe it is possible for her to secure a position due to the early school closures meaning it is now necessary for her to care for her children.
Gabby is also an actress, but has also lost the income from two well paying jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
She is worried about how long she will be without work, as when it comes time for Sovereign Hill to reopen, she does not know if she, as a casual staff member, will again be offered shifts due to the amount the business has suffered in recent weeks.
Social Services Minister Anne Ruston told Nine's Today show that nobody could have predicted the spike in the level of demand, despite the government shutting down a number of industries in order to combat the spread of the virus.
"We clearly understand the distress that this coronavirus is causing," she said. "We are asking for patience and calm ... What we saw yesterday was heartbreaking."
The website can only handle 55,000 visitors at any one time, but yesterday numbers reportedly spiked to almost 100,000. On a normal day, visitor numbers are normally about 6,000.
The government is now urging people to hold off registering with Centrelink for a few days.
- With Australian Associated Press (AAP)
For more information visit dhhs.vic.gov.au/novelcoronavirus or phone the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 for advice if you are displaying symptoms.
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