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Second Berejiklian/Barilaro virus economic response: little help for 1,000s unemployed

centrelink-job-losses-queues-apr2020

THE NSW OPPOSITION has labelled the NSW Coalition government’s long awaited second economic survival package “deeply disappointing and seriously inadequate”.

package less than half spent on Powerhouse relocation

Labor Shadow Treasurer Walt Secord said the total package is half of what the Berejiklian government is wasting on the $1.5 billion relocation of the Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta.

National figures include many in NSW

Mr Secord said, “We have seen almost 300,000 people lose their jobs nationally. This includes 9,000 from Premier Retail; 9,000 at Virgin; 20,000 at Qantas; and 3,800 at Flight Centre.”

Labor federally and in NSW have urged the Federal Government to create a national wage replacement program, modelled on the one created under Boris Johnson’s Conservative government in the UK. There workers stood down have been promised 80% of their previous wage, capped at $5,000 per month, provided by the government.

Daniel Mookhey, Labor Shadow Minister for Finance and Small Business, has said: “A wage replacement program would ensure people will have food on the table; a roof over their head and the money to pay for basic utilities.”

The federal government’s latest announcement was moving in this direction, proposing an increased wage subsidy of some sort, with public monies disbursed by employers rather than Centrelink, but there were no details as of 30 March.

NEWS UPDATE: 
Federal Government offers $130b in coronavirus wage subsidies for businesses to pay workers
Businesses will receive a fortnightly wage subsidy up to $1,500 per employee as part of a Federal Government bid to prevent millions of people from losing their jobs to the coronavirus pandemic.
By Brett Worthington, ABC News

Scary figures, no wage support for a month still

Up to two million Australians may find themselves suddenly unemployed, according to estimates. As of this writing, suddenly stood down or sacked workers lack adequate financial support. Newstart-level additional support already promised by the federal government will not apply for another month (April 27th).

What the state government should be offering, according to the Opposition

NSW Labor has detailed assistance measures they believe the second economic survival package should have included. These include:

  • Establishing a comprehensive one-off fund to hire the suddenly unemployed and casuals to assist with safe delivery of essential services and help to the vulnerable;
  • Grants and loans for businesses to adjust or re-direct manufacturing for medical, emergency and related supplies required for COVID-19 crisis;
  • Additional significant funding for community organisations to ensure the most vulnerable can continue to access food, shelter and support.

IMAGERY: Creator District Bulletin

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