Now that Victoria is set for another week of lockdown, plenty of young workers – particularly in industries like hospo and retail – are once again left without an income as the bills continue to pile up, because JobKeeper ended back in March.
The state government has again called on the federal government to revive JobKeeper in the state, just so that people who aren’t able to work due to the lockdown aren’t financially screwed over.
“As we did last week, we have also renewed our request to the Commonwealth to activate a JobKeeper-style support for Victorians who have been impacted by these restrictions,” acting Premier James Merlino told reporters on Wednesday.
“And I will be speaking to the Prime Minister later today and I do hope that the Commonwealth will swiftly confirm that they will step up and provide that support.
“If they do not, I will be raising this directly at national cabinet on Friday. A lot of Victorians, a lot of Victorian businesses, are doing it tough right now and it is our clear expectation that the Federal Government will provide them the support that they deserve.”
Welfare is the remit of the federal government, hence why the state government is asking for some help. But these two haven’t always seen eye to eye on helping Victorians during these tough times.
extending Melbourne's lockdown, VIC acting premier Merlino says he's again asked Frydenberg & Morrison for a JobKeeper-style support for Victoria"
"it is our clear expectation that the Federal Government will provide them the support they deserve"
— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) June 2, 2021
Nothing’s been announced for JobKeeper… yet. Here’s what federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg had to say on the matter in Canberra today.
“I want to speak to the [Victorian state] Treasurer first, I want to understand what his plans are for support through the state, he has already announced his first package, our health officials wanted to understand the various reasons and that the thinking behind it,” said Frydenberg, who represents the posh Melbourne electorate of Kooyong.
“This has been a terrible time in Victoria over the course of this pandemic, much more so in terms of what Victorians have gone through that other states.
“So I will listen to Tim Pallas, the Prime Minister will speak to James Merlino, and our officials will talk, and we will consider what they say.”
The rest of the government, however, has been groveling to no end.
On Sunday, Trade Minister Dan Tehan whinged that Victoria already got more from JobKeeper than any other state in the past, as if that matters to people who can’t pay their rent in a pandemic. A day later he told Victorians to wander on down to Centrelink, but those kind of emergency payments only apply to people who’ve be ordered to isolate.
And then there’s Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, who said on Monday that “a week, in the scheme of things, is not a long time” to go without pay. That must be easy to say on his $430k salary.
So while Frydenberg did give the issue some lipservice after the lockdown was extended, the federal government as a whole has already shown its true colours.
Now the Greens and unions are now calling on the federal government to bring back JobKeeper in Victoria.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg just held a press conference to talk about how great the economy is going.
Read the room, mate.
Your home state is asking for a hand and you’re giving us the finger.
If things are going so well, you can deliver JobKeeper 2.0 & lift JobSeeker.
— Adam Bandt (@AdamBandt) June 2, 2021
In the meantime (technically during the past seven days of lockdown) the Victorian state government announced its own Circuit Breaker Business Support Package to support industries which have been hit hardest by the lockdown.
Hopefully the federal government will step up and compliment this with a nice JobKeeper 2.0 soon.