Unemployment crisis

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A million people lost their job in the last month.1

It's the biggest spike in unemployment in living memory – the result of an unprecedented epidemic, as well as decades of neoliberalism eroding the security and dignity of work.

But while the IMF predicts that unemployment will remain at record levels throughout 20212 – the government has slowly begun spinning a narrative to wash their hands of this political disaster.

Yesterday Josh Frydenberg took to the National Press Club to tell us there's nothing more that he can do.3 He's wrong – and he needs to be called out.

Around the country state and local governments are putting the treasurer to shame – directly funding jobs programs to re-employ tens of thousands in essential services.4,5

If we can back their efforts with a massive public outcry – together we can secure the federal funding necessary to rapidly scale these projects – ensuring thousands more get paid decent incomes to (safely) reinvigorate our community services during this crisis.

SIGN: We need federal funding to reinvigorate local jobs during this crisis!

Frydenberg wants us to believe that the coronavirus bears sole responsibility for the unemployment we're seeing. It's a half truth.

While parts of our economy had to shut down to prevent the spread of the virus – giving people no option beyond joining a Centrelink queue is a policy choice.

Right now there's incredibly important work being left unstaffed. From essential charities facing volunteer shortages, to strained support hotlines, to helping with the clean up effort in communities devastated by bushfires.

Councils are already crying out for federal support – we need to back them up with a public outcry that shows Frydenberg's spin isn't cutting through.6 But with every day thousands more lose their jobs – so we need to act fast to change the government's political calculus.

Support local jobs with federal funding – let's give people meaningful, safe work!

The government has come under enormous pressure from the Murdoch media and conservative think tanks to retreat – at a time when they must step up.

Only the federal government has the funding firepower to confront the dual challenge of a pandemic and a recession – but they need to be hearing from their constituents. Will you call on them to use it to re-employ people who are desperate for safe, meaningful work?

We can beat this fight against COVID-19, and we can build a society in which people aren't forced into poverty – during this crisis, and beyond.

Yours in solidarity,

Ed, Rafi, Tessa, Charlie and Oliver – for the GetUp Team

PS. We know this is possible because it's already happening. States and territories are picking up the slack left behind by the Federal government with direct public sector employment programs that match people who want to work with work that needs doing. Will you call on the Federal government to provide the funding to scale these programs and stop people becoming needlessly unemployed? 
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GetUp! Australia :
PO Box A105, Sydney South, NSW, 1235, Australia Wide
GetUp! Australia
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