Failing to address the unemployment and underemployment challenges facing Australia will have significant impacts on the social and economic wellbeing of hundreds of thousands of people for many years, writes Joe Zabar. Source: Pro Bono News.
While the health crisis from this COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, governments are now very much focused on getting the economy moving.
We are a country of consumers and it is this consumption of goods and services that drives a good portion of our economic activity.
Our service sector is large, but it has been severely disrupted by the pandemic. To keep the economy moving we need consumers to spend, but as the number of people losing their jobs continues to climb, economic activity will continue to remain weak.
Our path to recovery will centre around jobs and economic growth. But the private sector, especially small businesses in our services sector, are in deep trouble. The result is that they are firing rather than hiring, with the worst yet to come if the federal Government ends JobKeeper in September.
The second wave of COVID-19 cases affecting Victoria, our second-largest state economy, makes our national economy more vulnerable and will likely see our economic recovery be much slower and longer.
There will not be much good news in the Treasurer’s July economic update. However, dwelling on it won’t get us moving forward. Instead, Mr Frydenberg might use the opportunity to reassure the public that jobs and growth are the key economic priorities of this government. But it can’t be the “jobs and growth” of electoral sloganeering.
Joe Zabar is the deputy CEO of Catholic Social Services Australia.
The ‘second wave’ and the Australian economy (Pro Bono News)