Put People Ahead Of Big Business In The COVID Crisis

Federal & State Governments

UPDATE: Since launching this campaign, we have already won a number of our demands. We still have a long fight ahead of us to ensure the government is putting people first both through this crisis and beyond. Add your name and sign up to keep working towards a fairer future for all of us.

We are at the beginning of an unprecedented crisis. Along with the serious health risks of COVID-19, the economic impacts are already being felt by the most vulnerable people in our country.

Young people are especially likely to face economic hardship as our workplaces shut down, cancel our shifts and it becomes impossible to pay rent and maintain our physical and mental health.

Instead of bailing out big businesses who continue to lay-off staff, we need the government to focus on directly supporting people through this crisis, and ensuring our basic needs can be met.

Young people are already facing an uncertain and stressful future; a recession will hit them especially hard. We need long term fixes, not short term bailouts for big business.

We demand the government put people first by:

1. Raising the rate of Jobseeker (Newstart) Youth Allowance and related payments.

Raising the rate of Newstart, Youth Allowance and related payments would immediately lift thousands of people out of poverty and stimulate the economy. The rate must be enough to live on whether you lost your job recently due to COVID, or before this crisis began.

UPDATE: on 22 March the government introduced a temporary Coronavirus Supplement of $550 a fortnight for new and existing welfare, effectively doubling the previous rate of Newstart! Initially students on payments were not included but thanks to us, NUS, ACOSS and others in the #RaiseTheRate coalition, the government changed their mind and extended the supplement to students the next day.

2. Freeze rent obligations and ban all evictions.

Freezing all rent obligations and banning all eviction proceedings during this emergency will drastically reduce the number of people who are made homeless during this period. Everyone deserves a safe place to live.

UPDATE: On March 29 the government announced a six month Moratorium on evictions. They have so far not provided much more detail and left it to tenants, landlords and banks to negotiate. It is important that renters are not saddled with debt in six months time and that banks, governments and those with the resources carry the costs of this crisis not renters!

3. Increase public funding to essential public services and deliver a jobs guarantee.

The government should be directing resources to where they are needed most. Their job is to look after people, not bail out big businesses. This means urgently supporting our public healthcare systems and communities that are most at risk. There are thousands of people who are ready to get to work on the frontlines of this crisis. From professional cleaning staff to manning essential hotlines. The government should implement a jobs guarantee that ensures people can get to work on meaningfully supporting their communities through this crisis, with proper training and good conditions. Communities at highest risk including First Nations, people with disabilities, the elderly and incarcerated people should have agency over how those resources are prioritised.

We need to be laying the groundwork now for how we build a society that can prevent and weather future crises like this one. A Jobs Guarantee will allow us to get to work creating a healthy society with good jobs, stable housing and a safe climate for all.

We can only get through this crisis together. We want to work with other people and groups who are impacted by this crisis in different ways. If you are working on any of this and would like to collaborate please contact info [AT] youngcampaigns.org

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To: Federal & State Governments
From: [Your Name]

As young people we are calling on the government to respond compassionately and proactively to ensure no one is left behind in the COVID-19 crisis.

We ask that you immediately:

1. Permanently raise the rate of Jobseeker (Newstart) Youth Allowance and related payments.
2. Freeze rent obligations and ban all evictions.
3. Increase public funding to essential public services and deliver a jobs guarantee.