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Cuts to JobKeeper and JobSeeker will Hurt Tasmania

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Monday, 28 September 2020

Tags: Jobs, Employment, Unemployment, COVID-19

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader

The Morrison Government’s heartless cut to JobKeeper today will hurt thousands of Tasmanian families still struggling in the middle of a global pandemic. It follows the slashing of JobSeeker last Friday.

These cuts will push tens of thousands of Tasmanians towards the poverty line, despite the fact we’re still in the middle of a pandemic emergency. 

It is to Scott Morrison’s great shame these payments are being wound back when forecasts show unemployment will continue to rise, and it’ll be young people, women and the long term unemployed who pay the highest price. 

It’s in Tasmania’s best interests for JobKeeper and JobSeeker to stay in place at the full rate. Premier Gutwein has handled the coronavirus response well, but it is disappointing to see his endorsement of Scott Morrison and his cruel, unstrategic cuts. 

These Federal Liberal cuts will rip tens of millions of dollars out of the Tasmanian economy every fortnight, and push struggling people to the breadline. Distressingly, all the Premier has done is defend Scott Morrison’s approach. 

In part, Tasmania’s economy has held up because of the extra money going in to JobKeeper and JobSeeker.  It makes zero economic sense to rip that money out of the local economy now.

Thousands of Tasmanians have sacrificed their jobs to protect our community, and now the rug is being pulled out from under them. This is a shortsighted policy from a morally bankrupt government.

Peter Gutwein must prioritise the investigation into a Job Guarantee for Tasmania – the Greens’ Motion, passed by the Parliament last week. Full employment is the way Tasmania can make its way through the pandemic and climate emergency. 

We hope the Premier has already begun exploring how a Job Guarantee program would work in Tasmania. The thousands of homes deciding what expenses, like food, power or rent, have to be cut deserve that hope.