Federal government must extend JobKeeper and expand eligibility for JobSeeker
The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) is calling on the federal government to extend the JobKeeper wage subsidy given the second wave outbreaks of COVID-19 occurring around Australia.
Furthermore, our union has also called on the federal government to expand eligibility criteria for the JobSeeker allowance, to support vulnerable individuals such as international students, visa holders and migrant workers.
IEUA-QNT Growth Organiser Cherie Wills says the JobKeeper and JobSeeker programs have both been necessary lifelines to support our members whose jobs continue to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and JobKeeper must be extended beyond the current September deadline.
“The ELICOS sector, in particular, has a highly casualised workforce and relies heavily on international students,” Cherie said.
She said our union had seen instances of members working in ELICOS, who are ineligible for either JobKeeper or JobSeeker, left without enough work or any government support.
“We have seen members stood down, their hours cut drastically, redundancies and colleges closing due to the impact of COVID-19,” Cherie said.
“Our members have mortgages to pay and families to feed, they pay tax and work hard yet are at risk of being left in the lurch if JobKeeper ends prematurely.
“With international borders remaining closed and so many VET and ELICOS sector workers being stood down during this pandemic, extending JobKeeper is vital for these industries to survive,” she said.
So far, the federal government has refused to expand eligibility requirements for the JobKeeper and JobSeeker wage subsidies, despite revelations it would cost $60 billion less than initially estimated.
“Given Victoria and parts of New South Wales are experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 outbreaks, it is imperative the federal government acts immediately to protect working Australians and their jobs by extending and expanding wage subsidies,” Cherie said.
A petition by the ACTU calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to extend JobKeeper and JobSeeker for an additional six months has been shared with our members and promoted by unions, but still needs more signatures.
Sign the petition to show your solidarity with those who have lost work and tell Scott Morrison no worker should be left behind during a crisis.
Our union will continue to advocate for our members and call on the federal government to provide adequate social support to vulnerable Australians to ensure our economy recovers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.