Greens to push bill to extend JobKeeper & JobSeeker, invest in recovery

With JobKeeper set for a $60b underspend, the Greens will introduce legislation to the Senate when Parliament resumes in June to extend JobSeeker and JobKeeper eligibility, as well as pushing for investment in jobs-rich recovery in arts and manufacturing.

Although Labor previously voted against Greens’ amendments to extend JobKeeper eligibility to all casuals and gig workers and to give the coronavirus supplement to Disability Support Pension recipients and carers, the Greens are optimistic that the measures will pass the Senate, given Labor’s recent supportive comments as well as public statements from crossbenchers. Only two government backbenchers would then need to cross the floor for any of the measures to secure a majority in the House. The bill passing the Senate will increase pressure on the government to provide further assistance to those it has left behind. A Royal Commission into the banks was established after a Greens-led push passed the Senate and was due for a vote in the House, with the government ultimately caving in to avoid losing a vote.

The No One Left Behind bill to be introduced in the sittings commencing 10 June will seek:

  • the extension of JobKeeper eligibility to casuals employed less than 12 months, workers with intermittent employment histories, gig workers, university staff and temporary visa holders including international students; and
  • the payment of the full $550/week coronavirus supplement to DSP and carers payment recipients.

The Senate push will also include a redirection of funds from the government’s unused coronavirus stimulus package towards jobs-rich recovery measures, including:

  • a $2.3b fund to rescue the arts and creative sectors;
  • prepare for Australia’s recovery from the crisis by investing $12b to establish the Manufacturing Australia Fund to modernise and expand Australia’s manufacturing, creating clean, green jobs of the future.

Greens Leader Adam Bandt said:

“The $60b in already-budgeted funds should be used to help the people the government has left behind and invest in a jobs-rich recovery package. The Greens will use Parliament to help make it happen.

“Further cuts will make it harder to recover. We must invest to recover.

“Over 2 million workers are needlessly hurting and this bill will help them.

“The government budgeted $130 billion to save jobs. This is their chance to extend the JobKeeper payment to all casuals, temporary visa workers and industries left behind like universities.

“The arts, creative and university sectors are being decimated and there are now clearly funds available to help them get back on their feet.

“This underspend could also set up a new body, Manufacturing Australia, to turbo-charge manufacturing in this country, just like the Clean Energy Finance Corporation has done for clean energy. We can grow industries like green steel and provide decent jobs for coal workers as we phase out coal to deal with the climate emergency.”

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