BIG HIT TO JOBS EXPOSES HOLES IN JOBKEEPER PROGRAM

JIM CHALMERS MP.
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3 weeks ago
BIG HIT TO JOBS EXPOSES HOLES IN JOBKEEPER PROGRAM
JIM CHALMERS MP
New data today confirms a massive hit to jobs before the rollout of JobKeeper payments, with the biggest job losses in industries that employ a significant number of workers excluded from the program.

With one in three hospitality jobs already lost, it is extraordinary that the Treasurer still refuses to use his powers to protect more workers through the JobKeeper program.

While Labor has been supportive of the JobKeeper program, today’s extremely alarming data highlights our concern that this support arrived too late, and too many workers continue to be deliberately excluded by the Morrison Government.

Today’s Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages in Australia by theABS found that in the five weeks to 18 April, before any JobKeeper payments were made available:

  • Total jobs decreased by 7.5 per cent and total wages paid decreased by 8.2 per cent;
  • The biggest job losses by industry were in accommodation and food services (down 33 per cent) and arts and recreation services (down 27 per cent); and
  • Young people have been most heavily impacted, with nearly 1 in 5 jobs lost for workers aged under 20.
It is particularly concerning that industries that have seen the biggest job losses have a relatively high proportion of workers who have been deliberately excluded from the Morrison Government’s JobKeeper program, such as accommodation and food services, and arts and recreation. 

With job losses mounting and worse results still expected to come, it is difficult to imagine how these workers will “snap back” to work when the worst of this economic crisis passes, with the RBA, IMF, the Commonwealth Treasury and many others expecting unemployment to rise and persist for some time. 

Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg have refused to listen to too many hard-hit Australian workers and businesses, who are either ineligible for JobKeeper, or still face uncertainty about their eligibility.

When unemployment spikes in the next few months remember hundreds of thousands of job losses could have been prevented if the Treasurer had used his powers to include more workers in the JobKeeper program that he has excluded, which he could do with the stroke of his pen.

Labor wants to see more workers maintain a connection with their employer – that has been our goal since day one of this crisis. 

Our priority is to protect jobs, help workers, families, businesses and communities get through this difficult time and ensure vulnerable Australians are supported.