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21 February 2021 Posted by 


Australians deserve a better solution
THE first week of February saw parliament sit for the first time this year, with questions being asked about the government’s plan for its two main COVID-19 support packages, JobKeeper and JobSeeker.
The Sunday before parliament resumed, the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg ruled out the possibility of a JobKeeper extension beyond the end of March, stating: “It was always a temporary program”. 
The latest ABS Payroll Jobs and Wages data shows that since the beginning of the crisis:
Payroll jobs have decreased by 4.3% and total wages have decreased by 5.2%.
Payroll jobs worked by males decreased by 6% and those worked by females decreased by 5.2%. 
In the electorate of Dobell, 4,902 local businesses employing 18,734 workers have been supported by JobKeeper, which the Government wants to cut next month with no jobs plan in its place. 
At the height of the pandemic there were 36 jobseekers for every job vacancy on the Central Coast. While this number has decreased and parts of the economy are recovering, there are some sectors still hurting – which will continue to hurt – due to international border closures and the patchy state of the economy. 
The Reserve Bank Govenor, Philip Lowe has expressed concern about “job shedding” after JobKeeper is cut at the end of March. 
We want the economy to recover strongly from the worst recession in almost a century and welcome any positive signs, but many working families, small businesses and communities are still hurting. 
They don’t understand
The government doesn’t seem to understand around two million Australians can’t find a job or the hours they need to support their loved ones and millions more can’t get ahead on wages which were stagnant before COVID-19. 
It’s not a real recovery if millions are stranded jobless, underemployed or on weak wages leaving them unable to provide for their families. 
And, what’s the government offering? An industrial relations reform package which threatens to leave many Australian’s worse off. Cleaners, supermarket workers, truck drivers, childcare workers, aged care staff and many other essential workers put themselves in harm's way to keep Australians safe.
When the government last cut penalty rates for retail, fast food, pharmacy and hospitality workers it failed to deliver a single extra job, even business groups now admit this. Yet we’re expected to believe cutting more penalty rates, cutting overtime, cutting shift loading and cutting allowances will create jobs. 
The government says the economy is doing well enough, businesses no longer need JobKeeper. But then they say the economy is doing so badly they need to cut the pay of workers. They can’t have it both ways. 
During the first week in parliament, I asked the Prime Minister about the proposed changes to industrial relations and the effect the changes will have on part-time disability workers. 
Sadly, I could not get a direct answer from the Prime Minister, or the Attorney-General who answered on his behalf. 
Australians need and deserve a proper plan from the Morrison Government to promote growth, they need a government which is on their side to protect jobs, support small businesses and generate secure work for the 2 million Australians searching for it. 
Emma McBride is Federal Member for Dobell and Shadow Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Shadow Assistant Minister for Carers


Michael Walls
P: 0407 783 413
E: Michael@accessnews.com.au

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Central Coast Business Access (CCBA) covers the business and community issues of the NSW Central Coast region. CCBA is a prime media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities.