WEDNESDAY, 10 JUNE 2020
SUBJECT: JobKeeper snap back; Eden-Monaro by-election.
JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW TREASURER: The Morrison Government yesterday made a stunning admission that the Government will receive the review of JobKeeper before the Eden-Monaro by-election, but they'll keep it secret until afterwards. What is the Government trying to hide from the people of Eden-Monaro and the people of Australia, that they won't release the JobKeeper review before the by-election? They'll get the review at the end of June but they won't release it until July, after the Eden-Monaro by-election is done and dusted.
People are anxious enough as it is without this Government putting politics before people, and speculating about the end of the JobKeeper payment. People are hanging out for information about what's going on with JobKeeper and what's going on in the economy more broadly. Instead for political reasons, we have a Government which is delaying both of those important updates until after the people of Eden-Monaro have voted.
JobKeeper is a very good idea, being very badly implemented. Too many people are being left out and left behind when it comes to JobKeeper. 120,000 childcare workers, aviation workers at the front of Parliament today, and casual workers have all been left out and left behind by this Government. Every person who is deliberately or accidentally left out of JobKeeper who joins the unemployment queues means that the jobless queues will be longer than they need to be, the downturn will be deeper, the recovery will be harder, and that will have implications for the budget in the long-term as well.
We call on the Government stop putting politics before people when it comes to the review of JobKeeper. Stop leaving people out and leaving them behind when it comes to these very important JobKeeper wage subsidies. It's very important that the Government release the review of JobKeeper as soon as it's completed, before the Eden-Monaro by-election and not after.
JOURNALIST: If the review recommends ending JobKeeper early would Labor support that?
CHALMERS: The Government is already ending JobKeeper early for 120,000 childcare workers. Scott Morrison promised on Friday that JobKeeper would last all the way to September, and that promise barely lasted the long weekend for childcare workers. JobKeeper is already being ended early for those workers. That's on top of all of the other workers who've been left out and left behind; the aviation workers at dnata, the casual workers, and in the arts and entertainment industry. So many workers have been left out and left behind by this Government. We need to see what they intend to do with JobKeeper. There is enough anxiety as it is in the community about how people will put food on the table and school shoes on their kids. We need to know what the Government plans to do. They can't be keeping this secret until after Eden-Monaro.
JOURNALIST: Doesn't JobKeeper, if it doesn't work for a certain organisation, don't employees go onto JobSeeker?
CHALMERS: Yes the people who are excluded from JobKeeper go and join the unemployment queues. The message from this Government to all of those who've been left out and left behind, deliberately or accidentally excluded from JobKeeper, is to head off to Centrelink. It wasn't that long ago that Scott Morrison was saying in this country that if you have a go, you get a go. Now he's saying to so many workers, you've had a go, now off you go to Centrelink. That's not good enough.
JOURNALIST: Does there need to be a transitional type package for when JobKeeper ends, which it inevitably will?
CHALMERS: We've made a constructive contribution to the future of JobKeeper. We've said look at options to taper it, look at options to better target it, but don't just snap it out of the economy on the last weekend in September, because that will be bad for people who are on JobKeeper in some of these industries which won't recover as quickly as we'd like. But it will also be bad for the economy, to pull the rug out from under the recovery before it even properly gathers pace. Our concern all along has been that JobKeeper was implemented too slowly and too narrowly and now that the Government risks withdrawing that important support too quickly and too bluntly.
Thanks very much.