Too many workers in Tasmania are being left behind as COVID-19 forces widespread business closures.
Labor Leader Rebecca White said the Federal Government must broaden the criteria for eligibility for the wage subsidy announced last week.
“Labor welcomes the wage subsidy, known as the JobKeeper payment, as a sensible measure to keep workers connected with employers, and help ensure a rapid return to normal business operation once the COVID-19 crisis is over.
“Tasmania has a highly casualised workforce. More than 20,000 casual workers in the state are not eligible for the JobKeeper payment because they started in their roles less than 12 months ago.
“This is an arbitrary line in the sand that will disadvantage many people, with Unions Tasmania identifying 23,900 Tasmanians who could be adversely impacted.”
Ms White called on the Federal Government to also reconsider its failure to support local government employees and people on work visas.
“Local government operates services like swimming pools, child care centres and museums that have had to close as a result of coronavirus.
“If these services were run by the private sector they would attract Federal Government support. It is fundamentally inequitable that these workers do not qualify for JobKeeper payments.
“In the case of workers on temporary visas, the government’s inaction puts them in the precarious position where their work may have dried up, they have no financial support, and not working may put them in breach of their visa conditions.
“Common sense and compassion must be applied here to ensure that people put in vulnerable situations by the impact of COVID-19 are supported through this crisis.”