MP calls for JobKeeper changes

Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell has called for changes to the Federal Government's coronavirus support measures.

By Jackson Russell

Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell has called for ‘important changes’ to be made to the Federal Government’s JobKeeper and coronavirus supplement payments after both were extended.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the changes last week with JobKeeper extended to March 28 and the COVID-19 supplement for JobSeeker extended to December 31.

While the two payments have been extended, both will be significantly reduced.

From September 28 to January 3, JobKeeper payments will reduce from $1500 to $1200 per fortnight for most employees and $750 per fortnight for employees working less than 20 hours before reducing again to $1000 and $650 until March 28.

The coronavirus supplement for people on income support was scheduled to end on September 25 but will instead be reduced from $550 per fortnight to $250 per fortnight.

A total of 9833 in the McEwen electorate are accessing JobSeeker while businesses in the electorate made more than 4000 applications for JobKeeper payments in April.

Mr Morrison said the extra assistance would continue to support hundreds of thousands of Australians who were without work and offered businesses and their workers a lifeline.

“We will have Australian’s backs as we face the ongoing impacts of COVID-19,” Mr Morrison said.

“There is no silver bullet and this is about delivering the support Australians need and the policies our economy requires to reopen, recover and create jobs.”

Mr Mitchell said a ‘badly designed and badly implemented’ program had meant people were being overpaid.

“Labor wants to see sole traders and casuals included because they’ve been totally wiped under the government’s first version of JobKeeper,” he said.

“We need to see early childhood educators, aviation industry workers and others who have now clocked over 12 months of working in casual or part time positions to be included for JobKeeper support.”

Mr Mitchell said a two-tiered system meant some in the community would not be sufficiently supported.

“A proper wage subsidy would deliver a better, financially responsible position for the government and more help to our community members who need it,” he said.

The Labor member also advocated for a permanent increase in JobSeeker, saying it was needed to help keep people out of poverty and move into secure work.

“Sadly, more than 1.6 million Australians now need the JobSeeker payment, and this number is set to increase over the coming months,” he said.

“For too long, the government has tried to argue that $40 a day is enough to live off and prepare to get back into the workforce. It’s not.

“Putting an arbitrary end date on support will only continue to damage community and business confidence, shrink the economy and put more fear into Australians who are already under mental and financial pressure.

“Our communities need to know what is happening with their jobs, they are worried about how they will put food on the table, school shoes on their kids, pay the rent, and pay the mortgage.”