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Premier Needs to Stand Up to PM on Pandemic Income Supports

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Friday, 31 July 2020

Tags: COVID-19, Poverty, Cost of Living

Cassy O’Connor MP, Greens Leader:
”Premier Peter Gutwein needs to muscle up to the Prime Minister to prevent tens of thousands of Tasmanians from being driven to below the breadline in the months ahead.

“Scott Morrison’s plan to cut JobKeeper from September will inevitably lead to more small business closures and lost jobs.
“His plan to slash and then, on 31 December, terminate the JobSeeker Coronavirus Supplement will push tens of thousands of Tasmanians towards poverty and homelessness. TasCOSS has stated 35 000 Tasmanians will be impacted by the cut to JobSeeker.

“These payments are an essential support for people who – through no fault of their own – have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19.
“To avoid an even worse social and economic crisis, these Commonwealth supports must remain in place at their full rate until all COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
“UTAS researchers calculate Tasmania’s youth unemployment rate will be between 25 to 30% at the end of the year, and that’s exactly when Scott Morrison intends to remove the Coronavirus Supplement for job seekers.
“This looming threat is placing significant strain on people who have already sacrificed so much to protect our community in a pandemic crisis.
“In May, the Premier was happy to argue for an extension to JobKeeper, but since Scott Morrison announced these irresponsible cuts, Peter Gutwein’s only response has been to welcome them.

“Mr Gutwein has worked to ensure no Tasmanian is left behind during this time of crisis. He needs to follow through with the Prime Minister as well as his State and Territory counterparts by arguing strongly against planned cuts to both JobKeeper and the JobSeeker Coronavirus Supplement.”

Peter Whish-Wilson, Senator for Tasmania
“People who are just scraping by are being penalised for responsibly managing their budget and saving where they can in the hopes they don’t need to live hand to mouth.
“The reintroduction of assets tests effectively means people are forced to chew through what little savings they had in place until they’re in dire straits.
“Only then are they deemed eligible.
“We want to keep people on their feet.
“The whole point of stimulus is to keep people in the economy, and give them the ability to spend for the things they need.
“If there’s no money to spend, it doesn’t get injected back into the economy, it’s as simple as that.
“We know from the Government’s own set of figures released this week, and from the ABS and the Productivity Commission, that Tasmania and its young people in particular are at the forefront of this crisis.
“No cuts or changes should occur while restrictions are in place.”