The Labor Party has repeated its call for the introduction of a wage subsidy to keep people in jobs across Australia during the COVID-19 crisis.
Labor Leader Rebecca White said the Federal Government could not afford to ignore the growing chorus of calls for wage support.
“It’s clear that the support offered to date to businesses is not working in terms of preventing widespread job losses. Every day we see another major employer lay off workers.
“The business sector and unions are crying out for more action to protect workers, jobs and businesses.
“This includes the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Australian Industry Group, the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Banking Association, the National Farmers Federation, the Council of Small Business Organisations and the ACTU.
“The cost of a wage subsidy would not be insignificant. But it needs to be weighed against the far greater cost of the permanent closure of many businesses and the associated financial impact on individuals and families when people lose their jobs.”
Ms White said there are models to look to internationally, where countries have acted to protect their economies, and better position themselves for rapid recovery once the COVID-19 crisis is over.
“Scott Morrison must rethink his rejection of the leadership shown by countries like the United Kingdom and New Zealand which have introduced wage subsidies that will likely save many jobs.
“I urge Peter Gutwein to advocate strongly with the Prime Minister to introduce a wage subsidy as a matter of urgency.
“Many Tasmanian businesses will never reopen without rapid intervention. Businesses are making decisions about their future right now, meaning there is a limited window in which to act.
“There is an alternative to the economic devastation we’re currently seeing. Not saving these businesses and their employees is the choice that is currently being made.
“When unemployment is well into double digits, people should be aware that it didn’t have to be that way.”