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Broader shutdown needed in Tasmania

  • Support package urgently needed to underpin stronger public health responses
  • Schools and non-essential services must close
  • Australia should adopt wage subsidy scheme to protect workers

Greater urgency is needed in the rollout of support packages to people affected by the COVID-19 crisis, to underpin a stronger public health response in Tasmania.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said with so many people losing their jobs, we can’t afford to leave them waiting for assistance.

“Labor has been calling for a strong social security safety net to support people to stay at home,” Ms White said.

“With Tasmanian cases on the rise, we need to be doing everything we can to limit the spread. This must include closing schools and non-essential services.

“To do that, we must give people the support they need to stay and home and comply with self-isolation requirements.

“Scott Morrison should rethink his rejection of the leadership shown by countries like the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada which have introduced wage subsidies that will likely save many jobs.”

Ms White said protections put in place today by the Tasmanian parliament ensure no-one can be evicted during this crisis from either their home or their commercial tenancy.

“We’ve also moved to ease the pressure on household bills like water and power so that people don’t have to worry about they are going to cover these expenses.

“But we need much more to ensure people are staying home and complying with public health advice.

“Financial support from the Federal Government is welcome, but the ongoing problems in rolling out assistance through Centrelink must be urgently addressed.

“People can’t register online and are instead queueing with hundreds of other people, despite being told to stay home.

“The $550 fortnightly coronavirus supplement is also welcome but it doesn’t kick in until 27 April.

“How are people facing unemployment right now supposed to survive for another month without help?

“The government must urgently address the gaps in the financial response to the crisis to minimise the impact for those who have lost work, and those who must stay home to protect the health of all of us.”

Rebecca White
Labor Leader