ACOSS Calls on Reserve Bank to stand firm, keep putting jobs first

ACOSS CEO, Dr Cassandra Goldie, responded to today’s Press Club speech by the Reserve Bank of Australia Governor, Dr Philip Lowe, urging the RBA to continue to prioritise lower unemployment over premature interest rate rises to curb inflation.

“Full employment is not an abstract thing for people who are unemployed battling on income support payments of $45 a day. A decent job is a life-changing pathway out of poverty and financial insecurity.

“ACOSS welcomes and strongly supports the Governor’s commitment, repeated today, to put employment first and leave interest rates where they are until there is clear, consistent and convincing evidence that wages are rising strongly after a decade of stagnation.

“We mustn’t forget that there are still 1.1 million people languishing on unemployment payments, including 900,000 people unemployed long-term, 500,000 aged 45 or older, 400,000 with a disability, 100,000 caring for a child alone, and 100,000 from First Nations communities. They’re at the back of the job queue, not because they aren’t trying, but because many employers are still wary of giving them a chance. Only consistently low unemployment and a fresh investment in decent employment services, work experience and training programs will change that.

“We can have both low unemployment and low inflation. The RBA Board’s patient and considered approach means a lot for those worst affected by poverty and unemployment, including underemployment, and we urge the Bank to stick with it.