Tasmanian Government Covid-19 package inadequate for workers

17 March 2020

The support package announced by Premier Gutwein this afternoon in response to the Covid-19 pandemic fail workers in the same way that Prime Minister Morrisons federal stimulus plan also leaves workers behind.

It predictably splashes cash to the usual suspects in the business community but neglects to ensure that direct support goes into workers pockets.

The support package announced by the Tasmanian Liberals today fails workers and thats sadly unsurprising, said Unions Tasmania Secretary, Jessica Munday.

Premier Gutwein failed to consult with workers or unions in the design of the package. While representatives from industry and business were invited to stakeholder consultations, unions were not and it shows here.

A $250 emergency relief payment will go little way towards covering a casual workers expenses. It wont cover most peoples rent let alone food, bills, heating, their phone bill and essential medications. Its like the people who come up with these packages have never met a real worker before, said Ms Munday.

Amidst the various loans, tax breaks and other initiatives direct to business, there is also a total of $180,000 direct to the already well-resourced peak business, tourism and hospitality lobby groups for them to respectively give advice on workplace issues and provide training and not a dollar to workers unions who are currently inundated by members and workers wanting advice on their rights in the current climate.

Workers are scared and unsure about their entitlements and their jobs. Theyre leaning on their unions more than ever. The Government already provides significant financial support to peak business groups. This includes the contentious awarding of $6.8 million dollars to the Tasmanian Hotels Association in the last State election. It is disgraceful that at times like this, the Government continues to ignore workers and only talk to their mates, said Ms Munday.

Unions are also calling on Premier Gutwein to use the now regular meetings with the Prime Minister on the Covid-19 pandemic to lobby for 2 weeks paid special leave for all workers who are disrupted or have to self-isolate due to the virus.

For further information: Jessica Munday 0417 454 809

Media Release - Tas Government Covid-19 package fails workers 170320.pdf