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Federal government underspend blunder should open Jobkeeper to more casuals

The federal government’s $60 billion underspend on JobKeeper funding now means it has no excuse to continue excluding casual workers, university staff, employees in the arts and entertainment, and temporary visa workers.

Queensland Council of Unions General Secretary Michael Clifford said the accounting error exposed the government’s claim that it could not afford to open JobKeeper to more casuals and other workers.

“They should also now be able to access JobKeeper,” he said.

“In Australia more than one million casual workers – about 216,000 in Queensland alone – were cruelly shut out of the original JobKeeper scheme,” said Mr Clifford.

“An analysis of ABS data shows that thousands of casual workers were shut out in regional areas of Queenslanders, and now the scheme must be expanded to include them.

“There is no excuse, there is $60 billion budgeted for JobKeeper. It must be expanded so that no worker is left behind,” he said.

ACTU Analysis of ABS TableBuilder data, Characteristics of Employment, Aug 2019.