Opportunity Lost: Covid-19 and the Budget
“The many problems in our society exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic and the response to it have been largely ignored by the Federal Government’s budget”, said Dr Tim Woodruff, President, Doctors Reform Society. “Residential Aged Care has been ignored. Aging in the home has been trickle fed. 1.6 million unemployed have been left in poverty on Job Seeker, waiting for the job creation which will be slow and painful. Poverty kills. And the middle aged unemployed have been left on the scrapheap, despite being much more likely to have dependant families, and sadly perhaps because women make up a much larger percentage of this group”.
“Where is the response to the Aged Care Royal Commission’s interim but quite specific recommendations?”, asked Dr Woodruff. “Why condemn the unemployed to poverty in the hope that they will get a job more quickly despite having eight applicants for every job vacancy? Why not take this opportunity to direct the much needed funds to those who need the support the most and will spend every cent growing the economy? Where is the investment in social housing to use the construction industry to house the desperate, who, with the security of a safe roof over their heads, are much more likely to get back into the workforce and further grow the economy?
“Why unlock new gas basins, locking in further dangerous climate change, when we could instead stimulate new jobs in renewable energy, and mitigate future climate change health impacts?”
“A response directed at these issues will grow the economy, deliver much needed support for the more disadvantaged in our community, and make our country more resilient to further outbreaks. It would be good for the health of individuals and of the economy.”