JobKeeper hopes dashed for 200k workers
THE Federal Government has shut the door on 215,000 Queensland casuals hoping for an expansion of the biggest rescue package in Australian history.
Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter yesterday refused to bow to union and Labor demands to include casuals employed for less than 12 months in the $130 billion JobKeeper program.
Rushing to draft the landmark legislation before tomorrow's extraordinary sitting of parliament, Mr Porter said they had to draw a line somewhere, and a proposed union definition was too broad.
"I will confirm this for the seventh time in the course of two days but the definition is a systemic and regular definition (of being) with the same employer for 12 months," he said.
Workers missing out on the $1500-a-fortnight payment would still be eligible for the Jobseeker payment and coronavirus supplement worth about $1100 a fortnight before additional supplements such as family tax benefits and rent assistance.
Opposition industrial relations spokesman Tony Burke lashed Mr Porter for seeming to open the door on Sunday to broadening the definition, before slamming it shut yesterday.
"A million Australians who were given hope (on Sunday), have been told there'll be nothing for them in the wage subsidy this morning," he said.
"There is time for the Government to fix this, and they should."
Mr Burke said Labor would not block the legislation, but hoped to convince the Government to make changes.
"Of course we're not going to let the perfect be the enemy of the good," he said.
"But we're not going to also … stop advocating for a million people who the government wants to leave behind."
Labor senator for Queensland Murray Watt said analysis of employment date showed 215,800 of the state's casual workers had been with their employer for less than 12 months.
"My office and many others have been inundated by calls and letters from Queenslanders confused by the criteria, and desperate for assistance," he said.
"There are still many people slipping through the cracks of JobKeeper eligibility, and they are crying out for clarity and more help."
CASUALS EMPLOYED LESS THAN A YEAR:
Wide Bay - 8300
Townsville - 18,400
Toowoomba - 3400
Sunshine Coast - 17,600
Outback - 2,300
Mackay Isaac Whitsunday - 5,200
Gold Coast - 28,900
Central Queensland - 11,200
Darling Downs - Maranoa - 3,800
Cairns - 14,100
Moreton Bay - South - 6,100
Moreton Bay - North - 4,500
Logan Beaudesert - 14,600
Ipswich - 17,300
Brisbane inner city - 13,700
Brisbane west - 7,500
Brisbane south - 19,200
Brisbane north - 11,000
Brisbane east - 13,300
* ACTU analysis using ABS table builder
Originally published as JobKeeper hopes dashed for 200k workers