Coker wants JobKeeper extended for the most in need
CORANGAMITE Labor federal member Libby Coker has urged the Coalition to modify and extend its JobKeeper and JobSeeker schemes past their intended six-month duration.
She says the subsidies will still be needed in the areas most badly affected by job losses because of the coroanvirus pandemic, such as her electorate.
The Coalition continues to insist the $130 billion package of wage subsidies and supplements is temporary and argues keeping the higher JobSeeker rate would be a “disincentive” for people to find work.
Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday last week, Ms Coker cited recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) that found the Otways were the fourth-worst affected area for job losses nationally, and Lorne-Anglesea was the 10th worst-affected.
“ABS data shows that in my seat of Corangamite job losses due to COVID have reached almost 10 per cent, ranging from 8.6 per cent in Torquay, 11.8 per cent in Lorne-Anglesea to 13.33 per cent in the Otways.”
She said she received an email on Tuesday last week from Southern Anchorage Retreat operators Andrew and Maria Devlin, who were “one of an alarming number of hospitality and tourism businesses that may simply go under”.
“The Devlins are a partnership but, because of that, only one of them qualifies for JobKeeper.
“As Andrew explains: ‘Our case is not unique. Our neighbour runs a partnership but only qualifies for one JobKeeper, and is also trying to pay loans and look after two children.’
“Andrew also sees inequity. His wife’s hairdresser has three employees who normally earn $400 a week and are now receiving $750 a week. She also claims a $10,000 Victorian grant, JobKeeper and is working full time.
“As Labor has repeatedly pointed out, the government’s JobKeeper subsidies, while necessary, are unnuanced and badly targeted. The government must fix JobKeeper for these businesses, keep JobKeeper for some until November and continue support for regional areas unlikely to recover quickly, like the Great Ocean Road and the Otways.”
Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the JobSeeker and JobKeeper payments were “temporary arrangements” and would stop being paid in September.
“It is also important that when you have what are effectively unemployment benefits through JobSeeker at the levels that they are, that when you do that, that can provide in normal circumstances a disincentive with payments at that level for people to go and seek work.”