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Your views: on JobSeeker, Adel Uni VC and Aboriginal gallery

Reader contributions

Today, readers comment on the economics of a permanent boost to unemployment payments, Adelaide University’s new Vice Chancellor, and an Indigenous cultural centre for Adelaide.

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Commenting on the story: ‘More data’ needed for permanent JobSeeker rate decision: PM

So Mr Morrison would like “more data” on whether to raise the rate of JobSeeker? Perhaps some in-depth economic modelling of the impact on the economy and jobs, undertaken by respected (non-left wing) economic think-tanks?

 Look no further! Deloitte Access Economics has updated its economic modelling of JobSeeker rises in light of the Covid supplement and has put the impact of removing the Covid supplement as removing $31.3 billion from the economy  and the loss of 145,000 full time jobs. 

Do we really want that sort of kick to the Australian economy in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and economic downturn?

The JobSeeker Covid supplement injected of cash into our least-advantaged communities – those who are doing it tough and are therefore most likely to spend it on food, medicines, shoes for the children, servicing the car – usually at local shops and services.  This increased local demand leads to massive job creation, with a particular emphasis on regional and lower socio-economic areas. More jobs in local shops, local businesses, local services.

 At Vinnies we have seen over the last year how the increased JobSeeker has meant less demand for emergency assistance from families in crisis even as we knew people were losing their jobs. Fewer families and individuals in crisis, fewer children going hungry, fewer people choosing between electricity or medicine or food even during the crisis – what a great outcome! 

Every time the JobSeeker Covid supplement is reduced, our crisis call numbers go up within a day or two. People are living that close to the edge of crisis.

Until the Covid supplement, the JobSeeker rate had not been increased in decades. Since the 2018 Deloitte Access Economics report was released, the calls for JobSeeker to be increased have come from both sides of the political spectrum, including the Committee for Economic Development,  Australian Industry Group, the Business Council of Australia, former Prime Minister John Howard, and ASX Board Director Ken Henry.

KPMG released its own report and now the Senate’s Select Committee on Covid 19 has called for a permanent increase in its interim report in December 2020. Even Tony Abbott has come out (cautiously) in favour of the maintaining the increase albeit in different terms.

 I’m not sure how much more data we need – we just need an evidence-based decision.

 If what we really want is a strong economy where we can all prosper and be secure, then demand side economics tells us this can be done very simply through a permanent rate rise for JobSeeker. – Louise Miller Frost, CEO, St Vincent de Paul Society (SA)

Commenting on the story: Merger advocate appointed new Adelaide University VC

Interesting article. Pity though that in the range of questions directed at the VC there was no room to gauge his attitudes towards the freedom of expression and pursuit of truth as an integral part of university’s ethos. – Paul Sokolowski

Commenting on the story: What we know, Tuesday February 2, Designs released for Aboriginal art centre

So Steven Marshall is going to set up a permanent display of Aboriginal artefacts as a tourism venture.

Steven Marshall is happy to use up Aboriginal culture when he uses it to attract tourists, but at the same time he is allowing the destruction of vitally important places in Lake Torrens.

As the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs he has granted a minerals exploration company permission to “damage, disturb or interfere” with a sacred Aboriginal sites in Lake Torrens.

These sites are sacred to the Adnyamathanha, Kokatha, Barngarla and Kuyani peoples.

He is happy to use up Aboriginal culture to make money from tourists while at the same time he has given very specific permission to mining company Kelaray to “damage, disturb or interfere with any Aboriginal sites, objects or remains“. 

He claims the mining company will act responsibly but Rio Tinto has shown the world how “responsible” mining companies can be. It should be noted that there is no redress or penalty to be applied to the mining company if they are not “responsible” as they have a legal right to  “damage, disturb or interfere with any Aboriginal sites, objects or remains” granted under Section 23 of the Aboriginal Heritage Act.

Marshall said: “I acknowledge the authorisation gives Kelaray authority to undertake works that will likely result in interference with the Lake Torrens Aboriginal Site. However, I expect Kelaray to honour its undertaking to ensure that its staff and contractors do not access areas of high cultural sensitivity.”

Marshall also encouraged Kelaray to consider Aboriginal employment “wherever possible” and to “consider engaging Aboriginal heritage monitors”.

He is leaving all this to the goodwill of the mining company. There is no compulsion whatsoever, so if the miners ignore his suggestions they have nothing to lose. – John Mather

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