SUNDAY, 18 JULY, 2021
SUBJECTS: Sydney Lockdown; Economic Support
JASON CLARE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS: The next few weeks are going to be really hard for a lot of people in our local community. A lot of people aren't going to be able to work, a lot of people are going to struggle to pay the bills, a lot of people are really confused about what these new rules are, and a lot of people are just downright angry.
We saw some of that yesterday here at Paul Keating Park, where there was a protest late yesterday afternoon. Let me be very, very clear. That sort of thing is not on. People have got to follow the health directions here and they've got to listen to the police. That's the only way out of this health nightmare, is to listen to the instructions from our health experts and from the police.
I can understand why people are angry. The people of Western Sydney are good, honest, hardworking people. By and large, if you give them a clear direction and instruction, they'll listen to it. That's why most people here are sitting at home in Western Sydney today rather than being out and about like you normally would on a beautiful sunny day here in Sydney. But they're angry and they're frustrated.
The people of Western Sydney didn't cause this mess, but they're coping the rough end of the pineapple now. They know why this is happening, it's happening because the State Government took too long to lock Sydney down. If they'd locked down sooner and stopped it in Bondi, people in Bankstown and Liverpool and Fairfield wouldn't be suffering now.
And they're suffering because Scott Morrison stuffed up the vaccine rollout. Because Scott Morrison's took too long to buy enough vaccines and still hasn't bought enough vaccines to stop this virus running wild in Western Sydney.
If Scott Morrison had done his job, then people here in Western Sydney would be visiting their family or going to the footy today rather than being stuck at home. If Scott Morrison had done his job people here in Western Sydney would be going to work tomorrow and sending the kids to school tomorrow, instead of being stuck at home. We're all paying the price now for Scott Morrison's incompetence.
Just a final point on the economic support for people who can't work here in Bankstown and Fairfield and Liverpool. These lockdown restrictions are tighter than the restrictions that were put in place last year, but the financial help is less. There's less support for people who can't work here in Bankstown and Liverpool and in Fairfield today than there was last year when the restrictions weren't as tight.
If you can't go to work tomorrow in Bankstown, or Fairfield or Liverpool because of these restrictions, the government's only offering you $600. Last year when JobKeeper was around, it was $750. Well, on behalf of the people of my local community, I'm calling on the Prime Minister today to lift that $600 to $750. For a lot of people here in Bankstown 600 bucks is the rent. That leaves nothing left to put food on the table for the family.
If it was good enough to give people $750 to get through the first lockdown, then it's good enough to give people who can't work here in Bankstown and Liverpool and Fairfield $750 to get them through this second lockdown.
And finally, just on this Katie Hopkins case. Why is Scott Morrison bringing in a right-wing nut job from overseas when he's got plenty in his own government? This person should never have been given a visa to come into Australia. She's obviously broken the law, so the visa should be revoked, she should be deported, and she should be put on the first plane home.
REPORTER: Can I just ask for your view on the shutdown of the construction industry? Because obviously it didn't happen the last time we were in lockdown. Is this something that was warranted? And also how worried are you about the effects it's going to have on the state economy?
CLARE: It’s going to obviously have a massive effect. The construction industry is a big part of our economy. And here in Bankstown a lot of people work in the construction industry or are tradies who work in the broader construction industry. So locally, it's going to mean a lot of people aren't going to be able to go to work tomorrow. State-wide, it's going to have a massive impact on the economy. But you’ve got to listen to the health advice. If the virus is spreading because people are going to work, then of course we've got to support these restrictions. The problem is the lockdown should have been put in place earlier. If we'd put the lockdown in place earlier, we wouldn't be dealing with this problem right now.
REPORTER: And just lastly, everyone that I've spoken to today, especially in the construction industry, seem very worried that even though we've been given this July 30, deadline that that actually won't be the case and that this will be extended. How damaging is that going to be to people's livelihoods if we have to see this through past the end of July?
CLARE: The lockdown is going to hit people really hard in my local community and right across Sydney. But we've got to squash this virus. If we don't kill the virus, then it will kill our economy. That's just a fact. The government should have acted earlier and locked down Sydney earlier and if they had done that, then we'd be out of lockdown now.
If they'd stopped it in Bondi people wouldn't be suffering in Bankstown right now. But we are where we are. We’ve got to stop this virus in its tracks before it spreads even further. A big part of that is getting Australia vaccinated.
If more people in Bankstown and Fairfield and Liverpool and right across Australia were vaccinated, this virus wouldn't be spreading like wildfire like it is right now. And that's on Scott Morrison. That was his job. He said his top job this year was to vaccinate the country. Well, he's failed miserably, and we are paying the price for that. If he had vaccinated as many Australians this year, as they have in America, or in the UK than we would be opening up today, not locking down. He has stuffed this up. And we're all paying the price for his incompetence.
MEDIA CONTACT: SCOTT DAVIES 02 9790 2466