South West Greens MLC Diane Evers has encouraged the McGowan Government to take further steps as part of its economic stimulus response to the COVID-19 health emergency.
Ms Evers, The Greens (WA) spokesperson for finance, said initial stimulus measures to freeze household charges and fees were the minimum required during a time of unprecedented economic and social disruption, and highlighted areas of opportunity to enact a positive response throughout Western Australia.
Areas of focus indicated by Ms Evers included protective measures for those with health, social or domestic vulnerabilities as well as those within struggling industries as a result of current circumstances such as arts, tourism, retail and hospitality.
Ms Evers said a response to the current emergency could involve job-making innovations in infrastructure and education, as well as ensuring rural and regional communities were not left behind.
- Too much focus on economic stimulus of an already flagging economy prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, WA needs to do more to protect people and workers
- Freezing of cost increases is maintenance of the status quo, not stimulus
- Infrastructure boost to increase low-cost public and crisis accommodation to protect the most vulnerable in Perth and in the regions
- Provide additional support to organisations in arts, tourism, hospitality and retail sectors
- Make online TAFE courses free to enable workers to upskill during self isolation
QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO DIANE EVERS MLC:
“The McGowan Government’s COVID-19 economic response constitutes the minimum measures expected from a government focussed on financial stability.
“This is a challenging moment in time and a freeze on economic increases can only be a first step, much more will be required to provide stimulus at a state level.
“We also need to do more for those most in need, including those in regional and rural Western Australia, to ensure no one is left behind.
“There are a range of health measures being enacted by the government to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 at this response stage, but a front-foot approach is required to provide safety and security to the most vulnerable in society.
“People experiencing existing hardships will have their situations compounded by this health emergency.
“Those without homes, with existing health issues or those in volatile domestic situations will need varied support.
“Without a targeted economic response for these people – which requires even more consideration when placed in rural and regional contexts – there will be a wider social impact.
“There is an urgent need to invest more in building low-cost social and crisis housing, this can be implemented locally and provide employment opportunities in regional communities.
“Consideration must be given to people in seasonal or casual work who will struggle to meet their basic needs, such as making online TAFE resources available at no cost for workers who wish to upskill whilst in isolation.
“Now is the time to ensure strategies are enacted to bolster our arts, tourism, retail and hospitality sectors as they each experience an anticipated, but uncharted, decline.
“I expect the McGowan Government to make use of their recent half year budget surplus to urgently do more in the coming days and weeks to ensure stimulus measures do not allow those at risk to fall through the gaps.
“I acknowledge that a great deal of responsibility falls at a federal level to respond to COVID-19, but our approach to this health emergency must be proactive and positive from an economic standpoint at a state level also.
“Finally, I encourage people, while practising social distancing, to remain connected to their communities, support your local community groups who provide for those most in need – this is always where the most important support comes from when responding to times of difficulty.”
GET IN TOUCH:
Hon. Diane Evers
MLC for South West
(08) 9486 8070