Peter Khalil: Right now, Melburnians, people in my electorate of Wills, are doing the hard work—and it has been hard—to get the second wave of COVID-19 under control. We’ve done this hard work for our communities, for our loved ones, for our country and, frankly, the rest of Australia. So, to me, it beggars belief that the federal government, the Morrison government, went ahead with their time line to reduce and cut the rate of both JobSeeker and JobKeeper over the last two weeks. It makes absolutely no economic sense and it needlessly causes many Melburnians, and Australians generally, to suffer. JobSeeker cuts have affected 420,000 people in Melbourne, including over $11,000 from my electorate of Wills; and JobKeeper cuts have affected 7,000 businesses in my electorate and 23,000 individuals in my electorate.
I have heard from many of these people. I speak to them, and they’ve been impacted by this cut, whether it’s an international flight attendant who has no realistic time frame for when they will be able to work again and have had their JobSeeker payments cut, leading to a struggle to cover their basic costs; countless entertainment and hospitality workers who know that, even when cafes and bars open up again, there is not going to be enough work to go around; and so many small businesses who are struggling to keep their heads above water.
Melburnians need their federal government to stand up, step up, not step back. Melburnians need more support, not less