FIONA PHILLIPS, MEMBER FOR GILMORE: Hi everyone, my name is Fiona Phillips, the Federal Member for Gilmore. I of course come from the coast where it’s not quite this cold but look very severely bushfire impacted communities right along the coast. We’ve also gone through three disaster declared floods. People are doing it really really tough on the coast. Obviously I was glad to see JobKeeper extended, but I’m really really concerned that it’s going to lock out some businesses in my electorate because they’ve been through the bushfires. We cannot let that happen. I spoke in the Parliament on that yesterday. There’s some of the changes to JobKeeper I’m really concerned about, particularly also for many of our lowest paid workers. People are telling me in my area that going through the bushfires, they feel forgotten now with everything happening. The other thing I want to touch on is aged care. I have so many people in residential nursing homes in my electorate. They’ve also gone through the bushfires and they are worried, they are worried about COVID. You know Scott Morison, just like the bushfires, he had no plan, and just like aged care, he has no plan, and it is not good enough. I know what people are telling my from the nursing homes, they’re telling me they need more funding, people are telling me we need more staff. Only Anthony Albanese has a plan for aged care.
JOURNALIST: Can you explain a bit about what you mean about how people who’ve been affected by the bushfires might not be eligible for JobKeeper? How does that work?
PHILLIPS: So what the Government has got, there’s some regulations there that they have to compare their income levels to the previous period, which is like the December January period. What that means is that most of people’s income, because they’re in a tourist area, that income was wiped out, so that will make it very very difficult for them to access JobKeeper and that’s what we’re really concerned about.
JOURNALIST: Would you hope there might be some form of exemption or some sort of special set circumstances made available to people in that sort of very exceptional situation?
PHILLIPS: Absolutely and the Government hasn’t said that yet. So, look I’m certainly calling on the Government to make sure that our bushfire impacted businesses are not left out and that they can access JobKeeper. We know that people in my area have gone through extraordinary times, extraordinary times, and they have lost so much of their income time and time again. Drought to start with, then bushfires, three disaster declared floods and the pandemic. That is just it’s the worst thing possible for people. The Government cannot forget bushfire impacted communities.
JOURNALIST: Will Labor be sort of pushing for those exemptions on a more sort of formal level?
PHILLIPS: Absolutely and I have spoken many times in the Parliament about that and it’s something that we just have to do. And at the moment we haven’t heard anything from Scott Morrison about that at all.
JOURNALIST: Are people in your electorate still, I guess some of the ones who haven’t, are still looking for accommodations or struggling to actually get back into proper housing?
PHILLIPS: Absolutely and I know people that have gone through and it’s their fourth property that they’re in and they’ve still got asbestos in their roof and basically, you know that’s another thing, Scott Morrison promised a free clean-up for everyone. But why am I out there talking to people in my electorate, with a mother with children who is now in her fourth property. I went back to visit her. She’s go asbestos in the roof and it didn’t get cleaned up. You know Scott Morrison promised a free clean-up for people and there’s a mother that cannot even get her house cleaned up. You know she’s running up to the 12 month period where that temporary accommodation insurance runs out. Where will she go? What will she do? Scott Morrison had no plan for the bushfires, he had no plan for bushfire recovery, just like he’s got no plan for aged care. Thank you.