Greens to amend jobmaker wage subsidy to block wage thieves & companies putting shareholders first

The Australian Greens MPs

Leader of the Australian Greens Adam Bandt MP has today outlined his party’s amendments to the JobMaker wage subsidy package, calling upon Labor and the crossbench to support them. The Greens will move amendments that deny the scheme to corporations that have underpaid workers or that have recently paid dividends. The Greens will also move amendments to stop employers sacking people currently employed to take advantage of the scheme. The Greens have not resolved a final position on the Bill and are demanding to see the full details of the scheme first.

“This government is setting up a slush fund for wage thieves. In the biggest recession we’ve seen in generations, we shouldn’t be subsidising profitable corporations or giving public money to corporations that underpay workers,” Mr Bandt said.

“The Greens will amend the enabling legislation for the government’s JobMaker wage subsidy to stop public money going to big corporations that are paying dividends to shareholders or that have a history of ripping employees off.

“If a big corporation is doing well enough to pay dividends during a pandemic, it doesn’t need the public to pay part of its wages bill.

“Under our amendments, any corporation that has been busted for short-changing employees will be ineligible for the wage subsidy. This includes any corporation that has underpaid workers or has been required by the Fair Work Commission or Ombudsman to repay workers.

“We have broader concerns about the impacts of this subsidy, and want to see a full copy of the regulation before landing on a final position. It is outrageous that the Treasurer is expecting opposition parties to consider a key recovery measure with nothing more than a glorified fact sheet available for review.”

“We need to see the details to make sure this wage subsidy won’t make the employment crisis worse, throw current employees into unemployment, and further drive casualisation and insecure work.

“The government already seems confused about whether the scheme would allow employers to fire a decently paid full-time employee in order to recruit two young people on a subsidised minimum wage.

“Instead of outsourcing the recovery to big corporations, the government must create jobs by unwinding privatisation and directly investing in nation-building projects like public housing, renewable energy and free childcare.”

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