SPEECH – JOBS FOR TERRITORIANS AND THE NT WORKING WOMEN’S CENTRE, TUESDAY, 2 FEBRUARY 2021
JOBS FOR TERRITORIANS AND THE NT WORKING WOMEN’S CENTRE
TUESDAY, 2 FEBRUARY 2021
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We’ve all been tested in ways we never imagined a year ago.
The pandemic has exposed the huge economic difficulties we now face as we look towards recovery.
Across the country more than two million people are either out of work or want more hours.
For the 1.6 million Australians who are still relying on JobKeeper as a lifeline, they’re looking with dread to next month when the Government cuts off that support.
What do their futures hold?
And yet the Morrison Government still can’t tell us what will happen to them.
This has been the worst recession in 100 years.
That’s why getting more people back to work is essential to regenerate our economy and help us build a better future.
Success lies in constructing a visionary policy – yet we’ve seen no action from this Government.
What’s their plan for Australia, what’s their vision?
When they should be investing in jobs, instead they’re sacking workers and defunding organisations that support people at work in our community.
Just look at what’s happening with the NT Working Women’s Centre in Darwin.
They help vulnerable women manage issues like pay, working conditions, superannuation, discrimination, harassment, unfair dismissal, bullying, and workplace health and safety.
They’ve been doing terrific work supporting Territory women for almost 30 years, especially for: Indigenous women; women living with a disability; women living in regional or remote areas; women experiencing violence; women with mental illness; and young and mature-age women.
The Centre says that in April last year, the top concerns for their clients were COVID-related issues, employment and pay.
Workplace bullying and harassment were also major problems.
It’s clear that women, especially vulnerable women, need the support of the Centre, which is locally-based with local staff who have a deep understanding of the nuances and complications of working in a place like the NT.
But instead of supporting the Centre, in December the Government advised the Centre it had failed to secure new funding, and that current funding would run out on New Year’s Eve.
Telling a group of dedicated Territory workers – with very short notice – that they would be entering 2021 unemployed, at a time when unemployment rates are already so high, is irresponsible.
It’s a rotten Christmas present, Mr Speaker.
And giving the funding for their jobs to an interstate body with no NT presence is unfair.
Territory women will suffer as a result of the loss of their local advocates.
Labor knows women are vitally important to the health and growth of our society and our economy.
When women are taken care of and do well, the flow-on effects are felt at every level.
COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate, but its economic impacts certainly do.
The NT Government has managed to find some emergency funding for the NT Working Women’s Centre but that will run out next month.
I’m calling on the Government to reinstate the Centre’s funding so that they can keep doing their incredibly valuable work supporting women, and so we can reduce the gender gaps that stubbornly persist in our community.
Let’s ensure our community is one that we can be proud of. That begins with equality and equity at home and at work.
I’ll do anything I can to support workers and businesses who have been doing it tough.
Mr Speaker, at the next election, Australians will have a clear choice: a tired Government who have proven time and again that they put their own jobs first and foremost, or a Government who will fight for every last Australian job.
That is the first thing a Labor Government will do, and we look forward to doing it.