Wednesday, 13 May 2020
At the request of Senator Pratt, I move general business notice of motion No. 549:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) the Australian Council of Trade Unions, and Labor, recognising the importance of maintaining the link between workers and employers during the COVID-19 pandemic, argued for a wage subsidy program well before the Prime Minister accepted one was necessary,
(ii) the Government concedes it undershot its own JobKeeper enrolment targets by half a million workers, as employers trying to understand their eligibility struggle with the complexity of the program and how to access it,
(iii) data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows massive job losses and hits to workers' wages concentrated in industries dominated by the casual workers the Government has excluded from JobKeeper,
(iv) the Treasurer still has the power to include more workers in the scheme and protect more jobs, and
(v) the Government is openly canvassing an early windback of JobKeeper, rather than helping struggling Australians access it; and
(b) calls on the Treasurer to:
(i) urgently use his power to address gaps in the JobKeeper program to protect more jobs now; and
(ii) ensure longer-term support is provided to Australian workers, businesses and communities in the months and years ahead.
The government's $130 billion JobKeeper program provides unprecedented support to millions of Australians. Eligibility has focused on maximising the reach of the JobKeeper program while ensuring the program is able to be implemented as quickly and as efficiently as possible while remaining sustainable.