Weekly Wrap Up
- Australian Bureau of Statistics data has this week revealed the unemployment rate has risen to 7.4 per cent for June, up from 7.1 per cent in May.
- The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) will reduce 60 jobs across Canberra and overseas postings.
- The Palace Letters were released this week, revealing information about the 1975 constitutional crisis which saw PM Gough Whitlam removed from office.
- The Federal Government announced $3 million for family violence support following the release of figures revealing that one in 10 Australian women in a relationship have experienced domestic violence during the coronavirus pandemic.
- The Federal Government’s second stimulus payment of $750 was made this week to five million Australians, following the first economic support payment in March and April this year.
Australia’s coronavirus strategy in the spotlight
As confirmed cases of coronavirus continued to climb in both Victoria and NSW this week, consideration of Australia’s suppression strategy was in the spotlight. This followed comments from Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton, who said that pursuing elimination was “worthy of consideration”. However, PM Scott Morrison warned that a move to pursue elimination would effectively double unemployment and said Australia’s current aggressive suppression approach is “the right strategy”. The PM was backed up by other state and territory leaders, including Gladys Berejiklian and Annastacia Palaszczuk, who this week reinforced their commitment to the suppression approach, as agreed by the National Cabinet.
In Victoria, Premier Daniel Andrews thanked residents of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire who have been in Stage Three lockdown for over a week, however did not rule out further restrictions and a potential move to Stage Four if cases continue to climb over coming days. Meanwhile, a growing cluster of cases connected to a south-Sydney pub fuelled speculation that NSW could be placed into a second lockdown. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has placed tougher restrictions on indoor hospitality venues, while warning that Australians will have to learn to live with the virus as ongoing shutdowns are not an option.
$2 billion ‘JobTrainer’ package
The Federal Government has announced a $2 billion ‘JobTrainer’ package to encourage job seekers and school leavers to learn new skills amid economic uncertainty in the aftermath of coronavirus. On Thursday, the PM announced $500 million to run courses for skills that will be in demand during the recovery phase – identified by the National Skills Commissioner – to be matched by the states and territories with an aim to provide an additional 340,700 VET places. Elsewhere, $1.5 billion will be spent on extending wage subsidies for apprentices until March 2021. The PM’s announcement comes after the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed the unemployment rate has increased by 0.3 per cent since May to reach 7.4 per cent for June.
Next week, Parliament will return in South Australia and the ACT. National Cabinet will next meet Friday 24 July.
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