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Morrison’s regional snub leaves country workers out in the cold

July 21, 2021

Morrison’s regional snub leaves country workers out in the cold

The growing COVID-19 outbreak in South Australia is further highlighting the Morrison Government’s failure to look after Australian workers throughout the pandemic.

The South Australian Premier announced yesterday that the state will go into lockdown for seven days. On the same day, the Morrison Government confirmed that the COVID-19 disaster payment would only be available for workers in the greater Adelaide region who are in paid employment and cannot attend work due to the lockdown.

The state government are yet to announce any financial support measures for workers, either in Adelaide or regional areas. Thousands of workers in regional South Australia now find themselves with little support, no financial stability, and no certainty that their jobs will still be there when the lockdown ends.

Current emergency payments of $375 a week for those who have lost less than 20 hours and $600 for those who lost 20 hours or more are grossly inadequate and a third less than original JobKeeper payment.
Unlike JobKeeper, COVID-19 emergency payments do not link workers to employment, and as the lockdown threatens to drag out beyond next week, it is essential that workers have a job to return to.

The Morrison Government must provide workers and businesses certainty by bringing in JobKeeper 2.0 that is available for all workers in all regions – including casuals. Fortnightly payments should be a minimum of $1500 for all workers so that they can pay rent, power, bills and buy food to live on. This would also add economic stimulus to the struggling regional economy.

JobKeeper 2.0 should have safeguards in place to ensure that unscrupulous big businesses do not put these payments into profits, dividends, or executive bonuses.

Quotes attributable to SA Unions Secretary Dale Beasley:

“The current patchwork of COVID-19 support payments have left regional South Aussies out in the cold. It’s a far cry from the support workers experienced under Jobkeeper."

“It’s indefensible for the Morrison Government to deny support to regional South Aussies who are trying to make it through the lockdown caused by the failed vaccine rollout. The current emergency payments are utterly insufficient. And Rob Lucas’s vague pledge of more support to come doesn’t exactly pay the bills."

All Media Enquiries: Dale Beasley – 8279 2222