WITH lockdowns and restrictions raging on across much of the country, the construction industry in calling for the re-introduction of the federal government’s JobKeeper scheme.
The NSW treasurer, Dominic Perrottet, along with Urban Taskforce, the ACTU and Unions NSW are calling for an urgent return for the employment support measure for areas affected by current COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions.
The current emergency payment being offered to those impacted by lockdowns provides those struggling with up to $300 less than the previous JobKeeper scheme, at up to $1200 a fortnight vs $1500 a fortnight.
“The Commonwealth Treasury got a massive bonus last year when less than half of their provisions for JobKeeper were used. Now is the time to allocate those funds,” said Tom Forrest, CEO of Urban Taskforce.
Forrest expressed concern that once the employment relationship between employers and employees in broken it becomes difficult to re-establish.
The calls come after the construction sector saw restrictions introduced in Sydney, which will see works come to a complete halt, which will see a $2.5 billion decrease in activity for the third quarter.
With support measures inadequate, Forrest fears the economy will not bounce back in the same way as it did when JobKeeper was in place.
“JobKeeper was well designed and well executed. JobKeeper supported permanent staff, casual staff, sole traders, small businesses and large businesses. JobKeeper was the reason why the economy kicked back into growth so fast in the final quarter of last year and into 2021. The re-introduction of JobKeeper is needed now, more than ever,” he said.
This comes after the NSW treasurer outlined the need for additional financial support from the federal government, especially for already on income support who don’t qualify for disaster relief payments.
“An alliance between the Liberal Party Treasurer, the business sector and the union movement is rare – but that is what we have here. A genuinely tri-partite call for Commonwealth action,” said Forrest.