ACOSS welcomes vital JobKeeper Payment; more work to do to ensure all are supported

30 March 2020

ACOSS strongly welcomes today’s announcement of a wage subsidy to employers to help keep as many workers employed as possible through the present emergency.

“We are particularly pleased to see the decision to extend the subsidy widely to all employers, including community sector and not for profit organisations that experience a sharp drop in revenue, noting details are yet to be revealed,” Australian Council of Social Service CEO Cassandra Goldie said.

“This is vital support to workers from community organisations, who employ 1.3 million workers and provide services that are now more in demand than ever.

“The proposed scheme must ensure that workers whose pay is subsidised are kept on, while keeping it quick and simple for all concerned so that both employers and workers have certainty.

“We must move quickly now to provide income security for people who currently still have none, and face destitution. Those affected include temporary migrants, asylum seekers and New Zealand citizens who do not qualify for JobKeeper (eg., casual workers with less than 12 months in their current role). We are concerned to ensure income adequacy for carers, people with disability, First Nations communities and others with particular needs during this health and economic crisis.

“In addition to the Coronavirus Supplement, the existing income support system should be strengthened so that it meets the needs of tenants in private rental and families with children, many of whom will struggle to raise their children and pay the rent.

“The extension of the couple income test is welcome and will help, but we need to ensure people on low-incomes get the support they need to get through this tough time,” Dr Goldie said.