ACOSS Budget submission outlines plans to create more than 10,000 ECEC jobs
The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has prepared a submission to the Federal Budget, outlining plans to create ‘hundreds of thousands of jobs’, as the country navigates the pandemic, by investing in the solutions to Australia’s most pressing challenges.
Informed by consultation across the community sector, a sector which ACOSS said has been crucial to the national response to the health and economic crisis of COVID-19 as well as the bushfire crises, the submission calls on the Federal Government to invest in the sector’s recovery in order to make the most of the good work it did in protecting the community and stimulating the economy in its initial response to the crisis last year.
“Our sector has been on the front line of supporting people through the COVID-19 health and economic crisis, as well as the bushfires that have devastated regional communities,” Dr Cassandra Goldie, ACOSS CEO said.
“We cannot stall now and risk the country slipping backwards. By embracing investment ideas that solve our most pressing challenges we can create a much healthier Australia, generating good jobs and emerging a more caring and confident country,” she added.
The submission aims to tackle what ACOSS calls the “big challenges” such as our public health response, record unemployment, the extreme weather of climate change, the social housing shortfall and under-resourcing in aged care, early childhood and other essential services.
It will be crucial moving forward, ACOSS said, for job creation plans to be coupled with a permanent and adequate increase to the JobSeeker payment.
“We cannot leave people behind to struggle in the poverty trap as we get through this crisis. We need to work together as a community, as we have demonstrated we can do in dealing with successive outbreaks,” Ms Goldie said.
“One of the most widely supported ideas we’re putting forward is the construction of 20,000 to 30,000 social housing homes that meet accessibility and energy efficiency standards. It would generate more than 15,000 jobs a year and deal with our dire national shortage of social housing,” she explained.
ACOSS is also called for a national program to improve energy efficiency in low-income homes, which would cut energy bills for those struggling to pay them, lower emissions and create tens of thousands of jobs.
ACOSS’ budget proposals include:
- More than 10,000 jobs in early education – an investment which ACOSS said would also increase female workforce participation.
- 24,000 jobs in aged care.
- 15,000 social housing construction.
- Tens of thousands of jobs through a national program to improve energy efficiency in low-income homes.
- More than 10,000 jobs in the community service sector.
- Thousands of jobs in health through a universal dental health scheme.
- Approx. 200,000 jobs a year through a jobs and training guarantee for people who have been unemployed for more than a year (6 months if under 25 years). These jobs would last for six months with the aim of them transitioning into ongoing paid employment.
- A saving of 145,000 full-time jobs over the next two years by not going back to the old rate of Newstart. Deloitte Access Economics has found going back to the old rate would cost the economy $31.3 billion and 145,000 jobs.
- Saving of hundreds of thousands of jobs during 2021 by continuing JobKeeper wage subsidies in industries and regions severely impacted by COVID-related restrictions (including border restrictions and any future lock-downs) until COVID vaccines are widely administered.
To read the ACOSS Budget Submission please see here.