ANTHONY ALBANESE MP
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY
MEMBER FOR GRAYNDLER
Labor is supportive of the Government’s stimulus measures announced this morning.
We will be as responsible and as constructive as possible and will work with the Government to expedite legislation through the Parliament where required.
Labor’s priority is to protect jobs, help Australian workers, businesses, families and communities through this difficult time, and ensure vulnerable Australians are supported.
There are some welcome measures in this stimulus package that are worthy of our support and we will not stand in the way of them being implemented as soon as possible.
It remains to be seen whether these measures will be big enough or deployed quickly enough to prevent job losses, business failures or a more serious downturn.
This is a Government which is good at announcing things but has trouble actually getting support out the door as we have seen with its poor record on infrastructure investment as well as bushfire and drought relief.
Labor has some concerns with the current measures which we are prepared to work through with the Government, including:
- The lack of more substantial support for casual workers who are required to self-isolate;
- The risk that the Sickness Allowance may not be accessible, sufficient or timely enough to support casual workers, particularly given no additional resources have been provided to Centrelink to process these claims;
- The risk that greater reliance on the Sickness Allowance may create an additional burden on the health system where a medical certificate is required to claim this payment;
- The lack of direct support for sole traders and the self-employed;
- Concern that cash flow assistance to business is not sufficiently targeted to ensure workers are kept on;
- Concerns that measures may have come too late for some businesses already struggling; and
- The lack of detail and delayed rollout of the $1 billion regional and community support fund, particularly given the Government’s poor track record when it comes to integrity and implementation.
The Government must move to implement this package quickly and properly, and be prepared to take additional steps if it becomes clear that this response has been insufficient.