Recovery spending welcome, but missed investing in most impacted
SACOSS today welcomed the bold spending initiatives in the state budget and congratulates the government on its willingness to invest in COVID-19 recovery. However, we believe there could have been greater targeting measures to assist the people most impacted by the pandemic. While there is investment in job creation, there is no overarching strategy underpinning employment initiatives. Crucially, there are too few programs that support the members of our community most impacted by COVID-19 job losses – including women, young people, migrants and refugees, and older workers.
SACOSS CEO Ross Womersley says, “SACOSS has argued it is important that the State government not go into its shell, and for it keep spending to drive economic recovery in the face of the COVID crisis."
"The government certainly spent big in this budget, including key measures in support of small businesses. They will see extensions to payroll tax waivers, land tax cuts and reduction in essential services costs. There’s also big spending on bushfire recovery, roads, health and education facilities, sports infrastructure, along with a local government partnership program. Those initiatives are very welcome.”
“However, despite a $76m Housing Construction Stimulus Package, the big opportunity the government didn’t take in this budget was to make serious reinvestments in our public housing system. Based on the government's own analysis there are at least 17,000 people urgently seeking affordable low cost and safe accommodation. This kind of investment delivers in spades. It's great for construction jobs, terrific for homeless people and it’s good for our community.”
‘Similarly, despite these useful infrastructure investments, there is no clear employment strategy that focuses on the groups most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The people who have lost their jobs in this pandemic are women, migrants and refugees, young people, and older workers. We are worried that the government has overlooked these people, including ways to reconnect them to the workforce during our economic recovery.”
We also note that despite new initiatives to promote digital access with the Digital Restart Fund, there has been no investment that will ensure the state has a carefully considered digital inclusion plan. Such a plan would enable all South Australians to share in the benefits of digital technologies.
For further information/comment, contact:
Ross Womersley SACOSS CEO 0418 805 426